June 18, 2011
The Miracle of Memory
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God breathed the Bible through men to reveal Himself and His Message. God worked miraculously because He imparted special, perfect revelations and prevented all errors from seeping into the written record of His revelation. The Holy Spirit of God also worked miraculously in bringing all the teaching and words of Jesus to the minds of His disciples (John 14:26). Such perfect memory, divinely guaranteed as complete and accurate, constituted a wonderful miracle. Through the Bible God revealed His love, emotions, plans, and everything else we need to know about God and our spiritual lives. Apart from His revelation, we would not have known His ways or His thoughts, which stand far above our ways and our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-11; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10). He pronounced His Word complete so that the man of God may be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16). Although God completed His written revelation with the New Testament, God also described His Word as “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). His Word lives.
The Miracle of Memory
Jesus made a special point of prophesying about various ministries of the Holy Spirit in the lives of His disciples. Just before sinful men arrested Jesus, He spoke to His disciples about their future. Jesus let them know that loving Him would continue after He left. He also promised that He and the Father would spiritually abide with each one of them (Judas Iscariot had left), and with everyone who loves Jesus and keeps His word. Jesus directed their attention to the connection between His word and God’s love.
In John 14:23, Jesus answered a question about disclosing Himself to the disciples and not to the world. Jesus said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will make our abode with him.” Jesus revealed that He would disclose Himself to the disciples as they keep His word. They will keep His word because they love Him. The disclosure here means that both the Son and the Father would abide with them and that disclosure would be ongoing in the future. Spiritually, both Father and Son would have an eternal relationship of loving disclosure to each disciple, and by implication, to all believers in all generations. Jesus and the Father do not sit mutely within the believer; they live in active disclosure with the believer. Through the words of Jesus, given by the Father, they speak to us and make their loving presence felt in our lives every day. But not everyone would receive the word of Jesus, and not everyone would love Him.
In John 14:24, Jesus tied loving Him to keeping His word: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” Jesus repeatedly emphasized to His disciples that He spoke the Father’s word, not His own. This basic revelation from the Father through the Son to humanity set the pattern for the ministry of the Gospel to the world. Jesus did not commingle His own words with the Father’s words, but rather obediently proclaimed those words as given by the Father.
In John 14:25, Jesus declared that He spoke the Father’s words while abiding with the disciples: “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.” This verse implies the Lord Jesus Christ obeyed the Father in speaking the words of God the Father while living with the disciples. Apparently, the Lord Jesus Christ did not expect that the disciples had written down all those words, or that they had memorized all of them. They may have made notes, or memorized some of His words, but the Lord Jesus emphasized that He was speaking the words from God the Father while with the disciples. The Lord Jesus Christ recognized the role of the Holy Spirit in continuing the revelatory work of the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ, after the Lord Jesus Christ had ascended.
In John 14:26, Jesus prophesied about a particular miracle for the disciples. That miracle would take place after Jesus had been crucified and raised from the dead. Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit would provide two specific types of divine, supernatural help: (1) helping them learn new things and (2) helping them remember past things. As part of the ongoing disclosure, Jesus explained the process of further revelation for believers and how He would build His church. Through the disciples, He would spread the revelation and then record it for future generations. Jesus focused particular attention upon the Holy Spirit bringing to their minds the words of Jesus: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Jesus proclaimed that the Holy Spirit would bring to the remembrance of the disciples all the words of Jesus. Pay special attention to the word “all” in the preceding sentence. “All” the words of Jesus. He did not leave any out, or just convey the “gist.” The Bible claims word for word accuracy. In essence, the Holy Spirit will communicate with verbal, plenary inspiration. “All” means plenary in the sense of complete or total in every respect. “All” also means the words themselves. Since the Holy Spirit reminded the disciples of “all” the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, why would anyone say the Holy Spirit only reminded them of the “gist” of the message of Jesus Christ? Consider 2 Peter 1:21: “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Was the Holy Spirit just communicating the “gist” of God’s message in the Bible? Of course not, and the Bible contains many passages showing that God communicated precise words with precise meanings. The disclosure to the disciples would be special and miraculous, because, for them, it would expand beyond the loving presence of the Father and Son abiding with them. The Holy Spirit would perform the miracle of bringing all the words of Jesus to the disciples as they proclaimed the Gospel to the world and recalled the facts of the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus promised a miracle of revelation. He fulfilled it in: (1) the preaching of the disciples under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:19-20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:4; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31); and (2) with the Holy Spirit moving men to write the New Testament (2 Peter 1:20-21). The disciples not only provided eyewitness testimony, and preached Christ crucified and risen to the world, but they also had supernatural recollection of the facts. Every trial lawyer would love a witness that could never be impeached, even after two thousand years of cross examination. Despite the attacks upon the veracity of Scripture, God’s miracle of revelation continues to live and pierce the lives of His children with His truth and love.
So we learn about the inspiration of the Word of God today.
● The Word of God means that God breathed the Bible through the pens of the original authors of Scripture. Every word in the Bible accurately reflects the intention of God in writing it.
● The Word of God means that each word of the Bible accurately reflects the intention of God in writing it down. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He moved human authors to write down the revelation of God to human beings.
● The Word of God means that the Holy Spirit worked a miracle of memory with the disciples of Jesus and the authors of the Bible to record accurately the very words of Jesus Christ. Jesus received the words He spoke from the Father, and the Holy Spirit brought the very words of Jesus back to the minds of the disciples as they wrote Scripture.
Application for Today
Each of us should have complete faith and confidence in the Bible, because it contains the truth of God. The Word of God tells us about the mind of God, and His will for our lives. Jesus intended for us to read His words, and to have faith in hearing His words. As we read our Bibles today, we can truly hear and understand the revelation of God to us. Will you be sanctified in the truth of God’s word today?