By Larry Ray Hafley
The words of the Bible are the words of the Holy Spirit, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). Paul affirmed this same truth concerning the New Testament (1 Cor. 2). He called it “the testimony of God” (v. 2), and “the wisdom of God” (v. 7). Those things ” revealed” and “received” were spoken and written, “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but (in words – LRH) which the Holy Spirit teacheth” (vv. 10-14; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Cor. 14:37). Thus, when we read the Bible, we are reading the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Why is this important? Many religious people have no respect or reverence for the authority of the Bible as the word of God. Instead, they turn to their own priests, pastors, preachers and prophets as a source of divine revelation. What the Pope or some council or human decree declares is defended and given deference and preference over the Bible. They claim that the Holy Spirit provides inspiration and illumination through their church’s chosen leaders. They accept the words of these men as the words of the Spirit while they denigrate the Bible.
If you doubt this, why are the churches today holding their ecclesiastical conventions to decide such matters as women pastors, acceptance of homosexuality, and the qualifications of elders, bishops and priests? In part, it is because they do not view the Bible as the authoritative word of God, as a communication of the Spirit. It is necessary, therefore, that we “know assuredly” that the Bible is the word of the Spirit of God. As such, it is final, complete and absolute in power and authority (2 Tim. 3:16,17; Jude 3; 2 Jn. 9).
(1) In Jeremiah 36, the very words of God were written. “This word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord saying, take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken. . . . Then Jeremiah called Baruch . . . and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch . . . go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the Lord in the cars of the people. . . . And Baruch . . . did according to all that Jeremiah . . . commanded him, reading in the book the words of Jeremiah . . . . When Michaiah . . . had heard out of the book all the words of the Lord. . . ” (Jer. 36: 1-11).
The facts are too plain to miss. The words of the Lord were given to Jeremiah who spoke them to Baruch. Baruch wrote them in a book. When the words of Jeremiah were read, the people were hearing the word of God. The same thing is true today when we read the words of the Bible.
(2) In Hebrews 3:4, the writer cites Psalm 95:7-11. He says the text was that which “the Holy Spirit saith.” In Hebrews 4:7, the Hebrew writer again quotes Psalm 95, but this time he says that God spoke “in David,” or through David. As David said, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by (through – LRH) me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:2; cf. Mic. 3:8). So, when we read the Bible, we are reading what “the Holy Spirit saith.”
(3) In Hebrews 8:8, the author refers to Jeremiah 31:31-34. The text in Jeremiah, the Hebrew writer says, is what “saith the Lord” (vv. 8, 9, 10). Again, in Hebrews 10:15, reference is made to Jeremiah 31. This time the author says, “the Holy Spirit also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before. . . . ” Then he quotes the passage in Jeremiah 31. Hence, “the Holy Spirit said” what was written in the passage. When we read the Bible, we are reading what “the Holy Spirit saith.”
(4) “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith” (1 Tim. 4:1). These are the express, explicit words of the Spirit, “the words of the faith” (1 Tim. 4:6 – NASB). When we read what Paul wrote, we are reading the word of the Spirit, “the commandments of the Lord,” “the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Cor. 11:23; 14:37). Paul’s words were Scripture, God breathed, received “by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:3).
(5) “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him . . . and he sent and signified it . . . unto John: who bare record of the word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ. . . . Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written” (Rev. 1:1-3). Jesus told John, “What thou seest, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia and unto Laodicea” (Rev. 1:11).
Observe that to each of those seven churches, it was said, “Unto the angel of the church . . . write” (Rev. 2:1,8,12, IS; 3:1,7,14). After each church was addressed, each was told, “He that hath an car (churches have “ears” – Acts 11:22) let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22). What was written was what “the Spirit saith.” When we read what “the holy apostles and prophets” wrote in the Bible, we are reading the “revelation of Jesus Christ,” and “what the Spirit saith.”
(6) In Revelation 14:13, John said, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord . . . saith the Spirit.” What John wrote came from a voice which came from heaven, and it was what the Holy spirit said. Can language be plainer?
At one time, and in various ways, God spoke unto the fathers by the prophets. Now, though, he speaks unto us through his Son, Jesus the Christ (Heb. 1:1,2; Jn. 7:16; 8:28; 12:49). The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into “all (not part, not some, but all) truth,” giving them “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Jn. 14:26; 15:26,27; 16:13; Gal. 1:12; 1 Cor. 11:23; 14:37). When we read “their word,” we are reading what “the Spirit saith,” for Jesus gave unto the apostles the words which God gave unto him (Jn. 17:6,14,20).
Acts 2 demonstrates the texts above. Peter’s speech is recorded – “Peter . . . lifted up his voice, and said . . . hearken to my words . . . hear these words . . . let me freely speak” (vv. 14,22,29). But these words were spoken “as the Holy Spirit gave (him) utterance” (v. 4). What Peter said and what Luke recorded was what “the Spirit saith.”
What, then, is God’s will? What does the Holy Spirit say concerning baptism, women preachers, homosexuality, or any thing that pertains “unto life and godliness”? What saith the answer of God? We do not need a Catholic Pope nor a Protestant prophet to tell us. If we would know the truth of God on any question, if we desire to hear what the Holy Spirit saith on any topic or subject, we have but to read what the Bible says. Oh, how desperately do men need this lesson today as they vainly seek truth on numerous issues in the councils and conventions of men!
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 17, pp. 515-516
September 5, 1991