When a man-made grid of doctrine is placed over the Word of God it causes what should be health and life to become infirmity and death. These grids come from unregenerate men who approach the Word of God with intellectual pride and worldly wisdom. Being devoid of the Holy Spirit, they cannot rightly divide the Word of truth and they bring forth teaching that is unfit for consumption. Many can accept what I am declaring here as true, but many will not realize that their favorite preacher/teacher uses one of many common man-made grids placed over the Bible as they study it and then disperse their twisted exegesis for consumption. Many are being led astray through this almost universal practice the legions of preachers, pastors, teachers, expositors employ.
Here are some important and precious truths to keep in mind as we study the Scriptures for ourselves. First and foremost, the Word of God is a spiritual book and only those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them can understand the truth from the Scripture.
1And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 6However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
From verses 1-5 of this passage I love how Paul demolishes those who come before a congregation with elegance and man-driven erudition, speaking in fine and lofty verbiage but never simply and lovingly sharing the heart of the Bible, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Or if they do share the gospel, it is so corrupted by the grid that it falls to the ground impotent and worthless, only confining those who hear to God’s just judgment.
Like the legs of the lame that hang limp, Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Proverbs 26:7
These men bereft of the Holy Spirit cannot possibly know the truth of the Scriptures, because the Scriptures are spiritually discerned only by those who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, and are filled with His Holy Spirit.
The injunction against proffering the Scriptures without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the result of those who do so is given in 2 Peter.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21
Because the Word of God is directly from the Spirit of God, we must have the Holy Spirit to correctly interpret His Word. We don’t get to come up with our own private interpretation. The Word of God is rightly understood as the Holy Spirit leads us to understand it in its context, and then to understand the context from the whole of the Bible. Much of the Scripture is discerned in that manner. People get into trouble when they take the Scripture out of context, or they don’t compare the context that they are studying to the rest of Scripture, and the predicted result is multiplied numerous times.
1But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:1-2
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless 15and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-16as also our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:14-18
False teaching and twisting Scripture has become so common that finding those who just teach the Scriptures is almost impossible. Those who follow false teachers are bound for destruction and are led away by the error of the wicked. Our only hope is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by studying the Scriptures for ourselves and relying upon Jesus and His glorious grace.
Referring back to the passage from 1 Corinthians chapter 2, Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit Who indwells all believers as the one Who reveals God’s Word to us.
12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
We are not natural men and women, but those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling because we have believed the gospel of our salvation, that Jesus Christ died upon the cross for our sins and was resurrected from the dead and is coming again for us and to set up His kingdom upon this earth. John confirms for us that we are taught by the Holy Spirit in both the Gospel of John and First John.
16“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
26“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” John 14:26
13“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-14
John contrasts the truth of the genuine believer in Jesus Christ that he possess because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to the lie of the false professor who has left the truth and has embraced his own vain imaginings as true in First John chapter two.
18Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie if of the truth. 22Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son as the Father also. 24Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is the promise that He has promised us-eternal life. 26These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. 1 John 2:18-27
The Holy Spirit teaches us all things concerning Jesus Christ from the Word of God, the Bible. We are taught by the Holy Spirit, and He only reveals the truth to us, He never lies, He is called the Spirit of truth! Those who rely on men to teach them the Bible, men devoid of the Spirit, are led astray to destruction. The Holy Spirit anchors us in the truth of the Scriptures, and as we cling to Christ and His grace we are protected from those who would lead us astray by their man-made doctrines. This is the first in a series looking at the man-made doctrines which are placed over the Bible and distort the precious Word of God into a lie. There are many such man-made doctrines; I will try to highlight those that are the most popular and insidious at this time. May God bless us through His Son Jesus Christ as we strive to believe and obey Him by His power and for His glory.