Torrey - Holy Spirit -8.2- Results of the Spirit in the Prophets and Apostles

II. RESULTS OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN PROPHETS AND APOSTLES. Ephesians 3:5 RV — "Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit."

First Proposition: Truth hidden from men for ages or which they had not discovered and could not discover by the unaided process of human reasoning has been revealed to apostles and to prophets in the Spirit.

The Bible contains truth that men never discovered, and never would have discovered if left to themselves, but which the Father in great grace has revealed to his children through His servants the prophets and the apostles. 1 Peter 1:10-12 — "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Second Proposition: The revelation made to the prophets was independent of their own thinking; it was made to them by the Spirit of Christ which was in them — and was a subject of inquiry to their own mind as to its meaning; it was not their thought, but His. 2 Peter 1:21 RV — "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost."

Third Proposition: No prophetic utterance was of the prophets' own will, but they spake from God, and the prophets were carried along in it by the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 3:7 — "Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye will hear his voice." Hebrews 10:15-16 — "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them." Acts 28:25 — "And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word. Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers." 2 Samuel 23:2 RV — "The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue."

Fourth Proposition: It was the Holy Spirit who spoke in the prophetic utterance; it was His word that was upon the prophet's tongue.

The prophet was simply the mouth by which the Holy Spirit spoke. As a man, except as the Spirit taught him and used him, the prophet was fallible as other men, but when the Spirit was upon him and he was borne along by the Holy Spirit, he was infallible in his teachings. The teaching, indeed, was not his, but the Holy Spirit's. God was speaking, not the prophet. For example, Paul doubtless had many mistaken notions, but when he taught as an apostle, under the Spirit's power, he was infallible — or rather the Spirit who taught through him, and the consequent teaching, were as infallible as God.

We do well to carefully distinguish what Paul may have thought as a man, and what he actually taught as an apostle. In the Bible we have the record of what he taught as an apostle, with the possible exception of Corinthians 7:6, 25 — "But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment .... Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful." Here Paul does not seem to have been sure that he had the word of the Lord and is careful to note the fact, thus giving additional certainty to all other passages.

It is sometimes said that Paul taught in his early epistles that the Lord would return during his lifetime, and in this was mistaken. Paul never taught that the Lord would return during his lifetime. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 ("Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be ever with the Lord"), as he was still alive, he naturally did not include himself with those who were fallen asleep. Quite probably he did believe that he might be alive, and the attitude of expectancy is the true attitude in all ages for every believer. Paul probably believed he would live to the coming of the Lord, but he did not so teach. The Holy Spirit kept him from this as all other errors in his teachings. 1 Corinthians 2:13 — "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

Fifth Proposition: The Holy Spirit in the apostle taught not only the concept" but the words in which the concept was to be expressed.

This is not only a necessary inference from the fact that thought is conveyed from mind to mind by words, and if the words were impertect the thought expressed in those words would necessarily be imperfect, but it is explicitly stated. Nothing could be plainer than Paul's statement "In words, which the Spirit teacheth." The Holy Spirit has anticipated all these modern ingenious but unbiblical false theories regarding His own work in the apostles.

The more carefully and minutely one studies the wording of the statements of the Bible, the more one becomes convinced of the marvelous accuracy of the words used to express the thought. To a superficial student the doctrine of verbal inspiration may appear questionable or even absurd, but any regenerated and Spirit-taught man who ponders the words of the Scripture,' day after day and year after year will become convinced that the wisdom of God is in the very words, as well as in the thought which is expressed in the words. Our difficulties with the Bible rapidly disappear as we note the precise language used. The change of a word or letter, of a tense, case, or number would land us in contradiction or untruth, but taking the words just as written, difficulties disappear and truth shines forth. The divine origin of nature shines forth clearly under a microscope as we see the perfection of form and adaptation of the minutest particles of matter. So likewise the divine origin of the Bible shines forth clearly under the microscope as we note the perfection with which the turn of a word reveals the absolute thought of God.

QUESTION: If the Holy Spirit is the author of the words of Scripture, how do we account for variations in style and diction from the human writers?

ANSWER: The Holy Spirit is quite wise enough and has quite enough linguistic facility in revealing truth, to use words, phrases, and forms of expression in an individual's vocabulary, and to use that person's peculiar individuality. It is a mark of the divine wisdom of this book that the same divine truth is expressed with absolute accuracy in such widely varied forms of expression. Mark 7:13 — "Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." 2 Samuel 23:2 — "The Spirit of the Lop, i) spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." 1 Thessalonians 2:13 — "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

Sixth Proposition: The utterances of the apostles and the prophets were the Word of God. When we read these words we are not listening to the voice of man but to the voice of God.