From the Comments: How Do We Know the Holy Spirit Personally Indwells? Part 1

HolySpirit7I’ve posted a few extensive comments answering readers questions that I probably should have written as posts. That is, I was really long winded in the little bitty comment boxes.

Thomas Dohling asked,

I am inclined to agree with @Sonny Childs when he says, “there should be little debate that ‘spirit’ refers to God’s nature,” The Bible says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). How is the mind renewed? By studying God’s Word (the Bible) or by “another entity” dwelling in our bodies, taking control of our minds and renewing it? Wouldn’t the second premise be similar to a maker reprogramming a robot?

I responded,

Thomas D,

We struggle with the Spirit often because we ignore the OT background. Paul in Rom 8 makes far better sense if you’ve read the Law and Prophets. Let me offer a very abbreviated introduction. You can easily dig out the rest with a concordance and cross-referencing Bible.

We start with —

(Deut. 10:16-20 ESV) 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.

which takes us to

(Deut. 30:6 ESV) 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

God commands Israel to change their hearts from stubborn to loving God with all their heart and soul. Later, he prophesies that there will come a time when God himself changes (circumcises) their hearts. This is not a prophecy of God’s word coming to them, as the Israelites had the Law of Moses and were told to get their hearts right (circumcised). The difference is that GOD HIMSELF would change their hearts.

(Jer. 31:31-34 ESV) 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

This passage is where we get the term “new testament.” “Testament” is an archaic term for covenant. God says under the new covenant, God himself will write his laws on the hearts and minds of his people. The change will be God doing the writing — to change hearts.

This passage is quoted in full in Heb 8 and is applied to the new covenant instituted by Jesus.

To similar effect is —

(Jer. 24:7 ESV) 7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

Again, the emphasis is on the heart. God himself will change hearts.

(Ezek. 36:26-27 ESV) 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Ezekiel then promises “a new heart” and God’s “Spirit within you,” the result being obedience.

Now, to imagine that Moses, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are speaking of the Bible alone is absurd. The point is that God’s written word is not enough – not until God himself enters our hearts and changes us. This is NOT Calvinism. It’s Moses and the Prophets, and the passages don’t say that God will overcome our free will. Rather, they say our hearts will be softened so we can love God as we should and so “live” (Deu 30:6 – echoed throughout these passages).

This leads to —

(Rom. 2:25-29 ESV) 25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Paul is echoing the prophets — and declaring that the Gentiles who love God and obey his will obviously have had their hearts circumcised by the Spirit, as Moses had prophesied for the true Israel. And if you, even if a Jew, don’t obey God, you don’t have circumcision of the Spirit — and so your physical circumcision is of no value.

Which brings us to —

(2 Cor. 3:5-8 ESV) 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?

Paul doubtlessly had Deu 10 and 30 in mind. The “ministry of death, carved in letter on stone” is the Law of Moses — which commanded the Jews to circumcise their own hearts. It failed.

But the “ministry of the Spirit” in which God softens our hearts and writes his laws on our hearts so that we obey is of far greater glory.

“The Spirit gives life” refers to the promise in Deu 30:6 that if God circumcises our hearts for us, we will live

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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100 Responses to From the Comments: How Do We Know the Holy Spirit Personally Indwells? Part 1

  1. Christopher says:

    I observed several notable changes in me after I was baptized. First, I suddenly became very cognizant of sinful thoughts going through my mind, as if a light had been turned on in a dark room. Second, I had a new found affection for those in the church and people in general. Third, when I came out of the baptismal waters, a profound and indescribable feeling of peace like I had never even remotely felt before or since. And fourth, I found when I read scriptures, they stuck indelibly in my mind – something that never happened studying English literature for six years.

  2. Ray Downen says:

    One comment is appropriate. In each of the quoted passages, “spirit” is capitalized as if this was something GOD WAS DOING TO US. But in fact those capital letters are misleading. Think of Acts 2 and realize that the APOSTOLIC ANSWER as to what was needed. FIRST is a change of the human spirit, then the believer in Jesus is baptized as Jesus commands is to be done. And THEN God’s Spirit is given to the new Christian. The human “heart” is changed by a change of masters, as was prophesied. That’s the HUMAN heart and spirit. And then God gifts His Spirit to the now cleansed and made whole new Christian, saved by grace through faith in JESUS.

    Making NEW is not the job of the Spirit. It’s the job of the human spirit of a person who has heard about JESUS and who turns to JESUS to obey JESUS and be saved by JESUS. The Spirit continues the cleansing which was begun by the person believing in JESUS and obeying the gospel call for seekers to repent AND BE BAPTIZED. It’s AFTER baptism INTO CHRIST that the Spirit works in any human who now believes in and seeks to obey JESUS as Lord. Translators have much to answer for because of capitalizing “spirit” when the sentence is about the HUMAN spirit. If it is about the Holy Spirit, often the writer speaks of the HOLY Spirit in order to make clear that it is not the HUMAN spirit being discussed.

  3. laymond says:

    Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

    Sonds like we get a pure conscience, not a new thing living in us.

  4. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Christopher,

    Thanks for your testimony. I was so young when I was baptized – and so unaware of the Spirit – that my memory is not nearly as good as yours. Very good to hear.

  5. Conflicting thoughts have always confused me. Pure conscience, human spirit. My mind is spinning, again. Trying to make sense of it all. Is it true? What is the right interpretation? When will I be TRULY convinced? Then I find God and Christ prominently mentioned in Revelation and almost nothing about the Holy Spirit! I must accept, by faith, what the Scripture says even though I cannot logically grasp it.

  6. Larry Cheek says:

    Thomas,
    As I read your comment do I understand that you are doubting that the Holy Spirit resides in you? Or that you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit?
    Do you believe that you have received it but just don’t understand it?

  7. That last question would be more like it. Many passages of Scripture state that we have given the gift of the Holy Spirit, sealed with the Holy Spirit, we are temples of the Holy Spirit, God dwells in us by His Spirit, etc. I believe it all right. I just don’t understand it. So, when people here and the elders in our congregation (they believe in the indwelling “through the word”), say what they do, I get confused. Childish, right? Can you help me to understand in a simple manner (as to a child)?

  8. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I have noticed that within the commentaries from which you regularly quote there appears to be a thread running that desires that the OT is the base for all substances in the NT. It seems that if a similar source is not found in the OT they would like to discard the NT message. Or at least modified to the context in the OT. That seems to part of your pattern also. Noticing the following credits to Paul and his possible knowledge of the OT. But, as I have understood, the writers of NT were supposed to be inspired by God or Christ. In other words their messages were not their own creations from their previous knowledge but from the inspiration. If that is true, would it be necessary for a connection to an OT concept to apply to any reveling of God’s Word for today? The fact that the message is similar does not give the earlier message a greater authority. Which is exactly how I understand the communications referring to OT or Torah text being applied by the commentators.
    “Paul is echoing the prophets”
    “Paul doubtlessly had Deu 10 and 30 in mind.”
    To say what I stated above in a different fashion. Paul is not echoing from the past he is reveling, but recording the message given to him through inspiration. The message is God’s Word not Paul’s, Peter’s, John’s etc.

  9. “The message is God’s Word not Paul’s, Peter’s, John’s etc.” Exactly. How sharply observant you are! Wish I could see these things. Looking forward to Jay’s explanation.

  10. Larry Cheek says:

    Thomas,
    The first thing I need to explain is that I am no authority on the subject. I have encountered many individuals who have expressed their relationships with the Spirit, in such a manner which I have not been able to document in scripture. As they revel events that they contribute to the Spirit many times the event seems very foreign from any events I have noticed in scripture. Of course this seems to be a question in my mind, the source of the actions perceived. We are well aware there is more than one force in the world that has power to orchestrate wonders, even miracles, and we are warned of deceptions created by that force. But, with that in mind I fully believe that the Spirit within me is more of a comforter which also drives me beyond what would be a normal desire to have a perfect knowledge of God and be able to express that to the lost, not in a fashion for the elevation of self but to secure a lost soul for Christ, making a disciple. In my opinion if the Spirit is within you you will appear to others as being on fire for the Lord. If to others you appear to be lukewarm the human is probably suppressing The Spirit so greatly that it will not overrule the human will.
    So is it your desire to be active, even aggressive in activities which build up your brothers and leads lost souls to Christ. I believe that is a good indicator of God’s Spirit working within a Christian.
    P. S. This is not a selfish centered action.

  11. laymond says:

    Christopher , I suspect that all those changes you noticed came from a clear,cleaned conscience, one that had been washed of sin. There is nothing in scripture that leads me to believe anyone but Jesus and his apostles received the power of God to do miraculous things, such as forgiving sins or healing etc.

    Jhn 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
    Jhn 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

    (When John spoke of ‘they that believe on him” he was speaking to, and speaking of his apostles that he had personally picked.)
    Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    (To whom was he speaking here ? his faithful apostles.)
    Jhn 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

    Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
    Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
    (who could Jesus possibly have been speaking to, except his hand picked apostles?)
    Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
    (What was this gift that was promised? )
    Jhn 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
    (in my opinion, unless you are raised from baptism, healing the sick, raising the dead, ect. you have simply had your conscience cleared of your old sins, and there is nothing simple about that, that was a miracle from God.)

  12. Christopher says:

    Lamond,
    If, in fact, God’s spirit does indwell people, do you imagine it would not have a discernible effect? What then do you make of Jesus’ comparison of the Holy Spirit to the wind, which people can see the effects of even if they don’t know where it came from or where it is going? What do you make of the fact that when Jesus came out of the water, after being baptized by John, the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove – why even mention that if it only applied to Jesus? Why does Jesus refer to the Spirit as a promised “little helper” if it is only scripture (as they already had that)? Since very few people in the past had access to scriptures as we do, were they deprived of the Spirit if it is only the Word? Did John the Baptist not have God’s spirit, since he never performed a miracle?
    Just good for thought…

  13. laymond says:

    Christopher, I am not saying that “The Spirit, God” does not have any affect on a person who has come for baptism, as a matter of fact I believe God has had an affect on a person’s thinking before that person comes to be baptized, God calls all sinners to repent, some receive that call and are convinced by it, others get the call but do not receive it to their detriment, God will also act on those people later. You can’t receive anything if you refuse it.

    When you repent, and come to baptism, which is an act of faith in God, And God accepts you as one of his children, there has been an enormous load lifted from one’s mind, and naturally you would feel different. And even tell others of your experience . lets look at what Jesus said to the apostles, just before he left.
    Jhn 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
    Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

    In my opinion this refers to what they recieved imediantly after. “The Holy Ghost” as their helper.
    God gave Jesus this helper, at his baptism, Jesus gave this “helper” to his apostles at his departure. And I don’t recall Jesus ever bestoeing it on any one else. Maybe you can refresh my memory .

    If God bestoed this power on one it would have to be by necessity, a spirit from God, because “God is a spirit” and does not “have a spirit”.

  14. Christopher says:

    Lamond,

    I am not sure I understand your argument. If the gift of the Holy Spirit promised to every believer in Acts 2:38-9 is NOT actually God’s spirit, then what is it – the word of God claimed by Wallace and others? Let’s start there, before we end up just talking past one another.

  15. laymond says:

    Christopher, let’s see what Jesus, and Paul said was the gift of God.

    Jhn 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

    Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
    Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    living water, and eternal life refer to the same thing.

  16. Christopher says:

    Lamond,

    Thanks for the response. I read John 4:14 as implying that this living water and eternal life are distinct, the one leading to the other as a kind of cause and effect. Show me how I am wrong.

  17. laymond says:

    Jhn 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

    It seems to me that giving living water is the same as giving eternal life, I don’t see the distinction.
    If you throw a drowning man a life preserver you saved his life, not just gave him a life preserver.
    If a man rejects either he will die.

  18. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Christopher/Laymond,

    (Jn. 7:37-39 ESV) 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

  19. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry asked,

    But, as I have understood, the writers of NT were supposed to be inspired by God or Christ. In other words their messages were not their own creations from their previous knowledge but from the inspiration. If that is true, would it be necessary for a connection to an OT concept to apply to any reve[a]ling of God’s Word for today?

    Larry,

    Because I believe Jesus, Paul, etc. were inspired, and because that makes their words of ULTIMATE importance, when they refer to an OT passage, it matters GREATLY. If Paul quotes the OT, then it’s because he wants me to learn that OT passage, understand it, and know why he’s applying it to the current question before him.

    Consider —

    (Acts 17:10-11 ESV) 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

    What “scriptures” did the Bereans search in response to Paul’s preaching? The only scriptures that existed — the OT.

    How did they search? With the concordance in the back of their gold-leaved, thumb-tabbed, red-lettered Bibles? No, they went to the local synagogue and pulled out the Isaiah or Torah scrolls, without chapter or verse markings, found the parts Paul mentioned, read them in context, and learned from what Paul had taught. Presumably several church members went together and searched the scriptures together.

    No one was more inspired that Jesus Christ, and yet he repeatedly referred to the OT. Is this because he lacked authority to speak on his own accord? For example,

    (Matt. 9:13 ESV) 13 “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Jesus was God in the flesh! Why not just say what he meant? Why quote the OT?

    Well, this doesn’t remotely diminish the inspiration of Jesus or our opinion of Jesus’ inspiration. Rather, it tells us that Jesus is a great teacher, and one lesson he teaches us is that we need to understand the OT in order to understand Jesus. Who says? Jesus says. If we take him to be inspired, we believe him.

    So Jesus presented himself to the world in a way that requires the OT to fully understand him?

    Yes. Absolutely. You think God spend over 2,000 years with the Israelites for nothing? You think he threw all that history and understanding and wisdom away and started over with Jesus? Jesus doesn’t. Nor should we.

    Is the Paul the same?

    Of course.

    Prove it!

    Pick a passage; any passage …

    (Rom. 2:27-29 ESV) 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    Almost every Christian Bible teacher reads this ignorant of its OT roots and so they fail to understand that this is a CENTRAL turning point in Paul’s argument. He claims the “new covenant” language of Jeremiah, the “new heart/new Spirit” promises of Ezekiel, the “circumcised heart” prophecy of Moses in Deu 30:6 — he’s placing our salvation in OT context and claiming chapters of promises and prophecies for Christians. And he’s looking ahead to Rom 8 — and Rom 12.

    Rom 8, for example, makes so much more sense if you’ve read the Spirit and new covenant promises of the OT — and Paul here is giving us the key — which we ignore because we think “inspiration” somehow means there’s no need to know what Paul assumes we already know.

    If you want to learn at the feet of the greatest Jewish rabbis in history, you need to learn a little OT background, because Jesus and Paul routinely assume you already know enough to understand the points they are making in the language of the day.

    If Paul says “Eve sinned,” he expects you to already know who Eve was — not despite Paul’s inspiration but because of his inspiration. The fact that an inspired Paul talks about Adam and Eve means we need to learn Gen 1-3 very well, so when he mentions them, (a) we catch it and (b) we understand it.

    It’s not his job to do our homework for us.

  20. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thomas D wrote,

    Then I find God and Christ prominently mentioned in Revelation and almost nothing about the Holy Spirit!

    I count 22 explicit references to the Spirit in 22 chapters.

    (Rev. 1:4 ESV) 4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

    (I’ve already covered why “seven spirits” is a reference to the Holy Spirit.)

    (Rev. 1:10 ESV) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
    (Rev. 2:7 ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
    (Rev. 2:11 ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
    (Rev. 2:17 ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
    (Rev. 2:29 ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
    (Rev. 3:1 ESV) “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
    (Rev. 3:6 ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
    (Rev. 3:13 ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
    (Rev. 3:22 ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”
    (Rev. 4:2 ESV) At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
    (Rev. 4:5 ESV) From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,
    (Rev. 5:6 ESV) And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
    (Rev. 14:13 ESV) And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
    (Rev. 16:13 ESV) And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
    (Rev. 16:14 ESV) For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
    (Rev. 17:3 ESV) And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.
    (Rev. 18:2 ESV) And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
    (Rev. 19:10 ESV) Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
    (Rev. 21:10 ESV) And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
    (Rev. 22:6 ESV) And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
    (Rev. 22:17 ESV) The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

  21. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thomas D (Part 1),

    Every passage you mention tells its own story. God teaches us, like children, through metaphor. We are not enough like God to understand things exactly. So God hs to compare spiritual things to worldly things.

    “Gift of the Holy Spirit” is from Acts 2:38. It’s reference to —

    (Acts 2:33 ESV) 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

    In fact, the first half of Peter’s sermon is about the prophecy of Joel 2 coming true that the Spirit would be outpoured on “all flesh.”

    (Acts 2:17-21 ESV) 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

    Read Peter’s entire sermon carefully, line by line, verse by verse. The first part is about the coming of the Spirit as promised by the prophets. The second part is the use of OT prophecy to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) promised by the prophets, and therefore the “Lord” who must be believed in to be saved.

    This is the “promise of the Spirit,” which in context, is the “gift of the Spirit.” That is, the promise of the Spirit and the gift of the Spirit are both references to the Spirit himself — which was supposed to be poured on “all flesh” when the Kingdom dawns — so that salvation comes to all who call upon the name of the Lord.

    Now, Joel does not directly address the indwelling question. But Joel 2 is just one of many OT prophecies that speak of the Spirit softening the hearts of its recipients, bringing obedience and salvation (we’ve already covered many of them). Joel 2 was adding to what was already revealed about the Spirit’s coming when the Messiah/Kingdom arrive.

    An erroneous teaching commonly found in the Churches of Christ is that “gift of the Spirit” is salvation — but the sermon starts with a lesson about the coming of the Spirit himself. “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.” Well, “all flesh” is not “120 disciples” but “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord.” And what Joel promises them — and Peter says is coming true RIGHT NOW — is the Spirit, as well as salvation.

    Both are promised, and God keeps all of his promises.

    Finally, notice —

    (Acts 2:38-39 ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

    We routinely ignore verse 39, but “the promise” is a reference to v. 33 — the “promise of the Holy Spirit.” Remember, Peter starts with Joel 2, which promises the Spirit himself and then salvation — BOTH. They go together and cannot be separated.

  22. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thomas D (Part 2)–

    The “seal” of the Holy Spirit is from —

    (Eph. 1:13-14 ESV) 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

    (Eph. 4:30 ESV) 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

    In the First Century, ownership of a document or jug of wine was shown by impressing a wax seal on that item. It was a visible, prominent, real marker showing that this object belongs to this person.

    Therefore, Paul is saying that the Spirit shows us to belong to God — AND that God put the Spirit on us, like a wax marker. It’s not something WE did (like read the Bible) because seals were impressed by the owner, not by the jar or the document. The voice in both passages is passive, meaning God seals us. We receive the seal.

    Finally, it means the presence of the Spirit should be visible. It’s a mark of who we belong to. Not worth much if people can’t see our seals!

    How does someone “see” the Spirit impressed on us? Well, by seeing the mark God has made on our hearts and lives.

    Context rules! How many “marks” can you find in —

    (Eph. 4:25-32 ESV) 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    Ultimately, the mark is found in v. 32 — “as God in Christ forgave you.” As we begin to look like our Owner, the seal becomes plainly visible, leading to the next verse —

    (Eph. 5:1-2 ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

    Our imitation of God, our ability to love as Jesus loved, marks us as His.

    Go back to Eph 2:14. Paul also calls the Spirit our “guaranty.” Some translations say “down payment,” “deposit” or “pledge.” The Greek is arrabon, which today means “engagement ring”!

    It’s God’s collateral, his engagement ring, his tangible, real, presence downpayment that he will keep his promises. It’s not just a promise!! It’s the down payment assuring us that the rest of the obligation will be kept.

    In the “word only” theory, it’s just a promise assuring us that a promise is true — which is nothing. We have the promise AND we have the deposit, down payment, engagement ring that we can have RIGHT NOW assuring us of God’s promise.

    And this makes no sense unless the Spirit transforms us, by helping us change. And my experience is that those who believe the work of the Spirit are much more shaped by the work of the Spirit. It’s easier to submit to someone you believe to be real and present.

  23. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thomas D (Part 3) —

    “Temples of the Holy Spirit” is from several passages,

    (1 Cor. 3:16-17 ESV) 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

    (1 Cor. 6:19-7:1 ESV) 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

    (Eph. 2:19-22 ESV) 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    1 Cor 6 speaks of the Christian’s body as a temple of the Spirit. The other two speak of the Christian congregation. Obviously, Paul sees the Spirit present in both.

    The reference is surely to the Jerusalem Temple, where God dwelled in the Holy of Holies. This was about to be destroyed. The church would become the new, only temple.

    What is a temple?

    It’s where the deity (the Spirit, in this case) had a special presence. Even the pagans understood that deities were not the statues and weren’t limited to their temples, but they had a special, intense, purposeful presence in their temples.

    It’s where worship is offered.

    It’s instruction about the deity may be received.

    It’s where the deity is honored.

    It’s where the deity’s priests do their duties.

    It’s a special place of prayer. The prophets called the Temple a “house of prayer.”

    It’s where the temple tax was paid and the poor were cared for.

    To the Jews, the temple was especially a place a prayer. They prayed toward the temple when out of town. Their synagogues were usually built to face toward the temple, for that reason.

    So God is present in his church/congregation through the Spirit. This is where he is worshiped (Jews could only “worship” at the temple), prayed to, served, etc. The church, as the body of Jesus, is Jesus’ special presence on earth, and it’s empowered and shaped into a Christ-like form by the Spirit.

    There are countless lesson to be drawn from Paul’s language. For example, when the Temple was built, the stones were specially shaped to fit in place without mortar or a hammer. No hammer was needed to build the temple because the stones were so carefully shaped.

    Just so, those whom God adds to his church — his temple — are specially formed by God to be just the people the church needs to be the temple of the Spirit.

    On the other hand, study of God’s word could take place at the synagogue or home. Certainly at the Temple, too, but not just as the temple. But God’s special presence was found only in the Temple and so he could only be worshiped there.

    Hence, the word only theory just doesn’t fit the beautiful image of the church as temple. The temple is a temple only because of the presence of a PERSON, not a book or a message, even a very holy book or message.

  24. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thomas D (Part 4) (getting a little tired now),

    The “dwells” in the Christian. This is language borrowed by Paul from Exodus. I’ve already mentioned it in posts from earlier evenings.

    God dwelled with Israel in the desert as a column of smoke and fire — which rested in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. It led them through the desert and to the Promised Land.

    When Paul says the “Spirit” dwells in us, he’s referencing the Exodus, with the Spirit living in us and leading us as the column of smoke and fire/God’s Very Presence did in the Exodus.

    The Israelites had a book from God — the Law — but they were led through the desert by God himself. And that’s Paul’s points.

    (Rom. 8:1-2 ESV) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

    We are freed from slavery!

    (Rom. 8:11 ESV) 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

    Just as God dwelled among the Israelites and led them to the Promised Land, the Spirit dwells in us and leads us.

    (Rom. 8:14-15 ESV) 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

    The Israelites were declares “sons of God” in the Torah. No more slavery. We are God’s own sons because his Spirit leads us through the desert.

    (Rom. 8:27 ESV) 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    As Moses interceded for the Israelites before God, the Spirit intercedes for us.

    There are other themes running through Rom 8, but it’s all built on the Spirit dwells in us as God dwelt among Israel and led them to the Promised Land.

  25. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    You have mention about the Bereans searching the scriptures in response to Paul’s teachings. But, did you notice that those who searched were Jews who were committed to the scriptures as the authority. They were unaware of the events which were visible to the Apostles which testified to Jesus’ authority. Therefore, they were noble in searching for proof. There are accounts of other Jews who just outright rejected the teachings without exerting any effort to verify the teachings. Were any of them converted to Christ?

    Does this example set an example that anyone who does not hold to the OT scriptures as being the present authority, to search the scriptures for validation that the teaching they hear has authority? It would mean nothing to those in Athens who worshiped other gods to search the OT scriptures for verification that Paul was telling truth. Even if they did believe the teachings of an Apostle and commit to Christ, until they learned how what they had obeyed was connected with the OT in some manner they would not automatically accept it as an authority to guide their understanding of their new beliefs. Actually, we have the same situation today. How many people would you believe there is today who are not Jews or Christians would consider the OT scriptures as an authority? We today teach Jesus and his Gospel to the world as we have been instructed, and individuals who obey and have never read a single chapter in the OT will receive the same blessings as those who have a great knowledge of the OT. The OT then can becomes a support document documenting the history from the beginning to where we are now. But, as you have indicated Jesus does have all authority. Even above and beyond all the OT teachings.

    Your statement below really sounds like a Western present day view, except very few individuals will exert that much effort. They’ll just ask the preacher or someone they respect.
    “No, they went to the local synagogue and pulled out the Isaiah or Torah scrolls, without chapter or verse markings, found the parts Paul mentioned, read them in context, and learned from what Paul had taught. Presumably several church members went together and searched the scriptures together.”
    Where did you find in scripture that the Jewish people had access to those documents? Or what has given you the impression that most all the Jews could read those documents? There was an elite body of men who had been educated in reading but there were many of the Jews even in the Pharisees and Sadducees who were in their position because of their dedication rather than their skills.

    You brought this to my attention as an example of Jesus directing the Jews (his listeners) to learn what it meant by searching the OT, but if they did they were better than searching than these electronic search engines we have today. There is a matching verse in chapter 12 but, I could not find a matching concept in the rest of the OT or NT.

    (Mat 9:13 ESV) Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
    (Mat 12:7 ESV) And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
    The closest rendering in OT is the following, but it does not fit the context.
    (Hos 6:6 ESV) For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
    You did say, “Jesus was God in the flesh! Why not just say what he meant? Why quote the OT?” I guess I need more help than e-sword can provide to locate that quote. Even while trying to find text spoken by Jesus directing his followers to test the scriptures; these do not fit the concept. He did explain that their lack of knowledge hindered them in their understanding, but only because they had previously believed something else and did not want to learn what was correct. Matt 22:29 & Mar 12:24.
    (Mat 21:42 ESV) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

    (Mat 22:29 ESV) But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.

    (Mat 26:54 ESV) But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

    (Mat 26:56 ESV) But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

    (Mar 12:24 ESV) Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?

    (Mar 14:49 ESV) Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”

    (Luk 24:27 ESV) And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    (Luk 24:32 ESV) They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

    (Luk 24:45 ESV) Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

    (Joh 5:39 ESV) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

    (Act 17:2 ESV) And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

    (Act 17:11 ESV) Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

    (Act 18:24 ESV) Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.

    (Act 18:28 ESV) for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

    (Rom 1:2 ESV) which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,

    (Rom 15:4 ESV) For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

    (1Co 15:3 ESV) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

    (1Co 15:4 ESV) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

    (2Pe 3:16 ESV) as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

    “So Jesus presented himself to the world in a way that requires the OT to fully understand him?” Really, I have heard much communication on even this blog, that men see a problem in the fact we have been too scripture bound and therefore neglected teaching Jesus. His life did not teach us enough about him to be able to understand (him)? Should we believe that would mean our salvation could be in jeopardy from lack of knowledge of OT?
    “If you want to learn at the feet of the greatest Jewish rabbis in history, you need to learn a little OT background, because Jesus and Paul routinely assume you already know enough to understand the points they are making in the language of the day.”
    This point seems to me to require a belief that the NT was only written to scholars. That Jesus and Paul and inspiration was not capable to express themselves to the common people who had obeyed and become disciples. How high of an education would you think was obtained by the majority of the common Jews?

  26. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    This is one of the best comments ever made. “Every passage you mention tells its own story. God teaches us, like children, through metaphor. We are not enough like God to understand things exactly. So God hs to compare spiritual things to worldly things.”
    And I notice most all of your quotes are within the NT. Even if we were not aware of the message from Joel the text still conveys a message that is complete.

  27. Jay G,

    Thank you for presenting such a comprehensive explanation in four parts! I am saving them for a thoughtful study for proper assimilation. I appreciate your loving labor on my behalf so that I may understand the underlying truth (spirit) of God’s message. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him.

  28. Larry Cheek has asked some very pertinent questions! I am eagerly looking forward to answers from Jay G.

    Back and forth – idea presentation followed by relevant rebuttal. I am very poor at such exercises. By the time I fully comprehend a presentation, it appears relevant to me. Then when the rebuttal comes, I am inclined to agree with that. How can I accept both arguments — and yet, when I put them both together, they don’t appear conflicting but two/three/four parts of a whole. I carry such presentations in my head without rejecting many of them (except those which appear too far fetched like the Mormon teaching of Jesus being Satan’s brother! — my mind rejects this outright). The trouble with me is that I try to think through and grasp the presentations. Let me illustrate. A mountain has at least four sides and people see it differently looking from different sides and yet they are describe the same mountain from their point of view (perspective). Only when we get the full picture (have a holistic view) do we see the whole. The length, the breadth, the height, the depth (the four-dimensional view – the whole view) of the love of Jesus. We don’t really need the OT to comprehend the love of God shown in the Christ. By looking at Jesus (his doing, his dying, his resurrection, his ascension, his glorification, etc.) we just know the incomprehensible infinity (and His revealed nature) of the Eternal Spirit, Who chose make us in His own image in order to be our Father so that we may reflect His glory all around. To the praise of His glory!

    Keep presenting all the pieces of the masterpiece. I am blending/melding them in my mind. I am learning. I like this blog and all those who present their perspectives.

  29. Jeff Richardson says:

    May I muddy the water, When we read John 14,15 and 16, Acts 1, we need to understand to whom the Spirit was promised. We see the promise fulfilled in Acts 2. The whole context of Acts 2 is the miraculous. In verse 38 we read, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit.” Here we have two commands, repent and be baptized. We have two promises, the remission of your sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. What we don’t see is the reception of this gift of the Holy Spirit. We assume that every baptized Christian receives it automatically and instant. We also assume that the “gift” is the Holy Spirit Himself. Every scripture we have where someone receives the Holy Spirit Acts 8, 10 and 19 the miraculous is under consideration. I’ve been told that Acts 2:38 is the exception. If that’s the case, then we need to see in Acts 2 somewhere that there is even such a thing as a non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have no record of anyone ever receiving such, the miraculous is always the context. I maintain that in scripture, if the Holy Spirit is involved the miraculous must be understood. In scripture where someone did receive the Holy Spirit what did they receive? It wasn’t the Holy Spirit Himself, but what He brought. He brought all truth to the Apostles and then by the laying on of their hands, others received “gifts”. Gifts by which they, young Christians in an infant church could function. We must allow scripture to interpret itself, and not bring preconceived ideas with us and insert them. Such as when we ask what is the “gift of the Holy Spirit”? We see that phrase only twice in scripture, both in Acts, 2:38 and 10:45. Why doesn’t 10:45 interpret 2:38 for us? It should, if we allow scripture to interpret itself. I’m sure most of us have always heard that 10:45 is the miraculous and 2:38 is not. I simply ask, prove it! Study Acts 19 closely, you will see where I’m coming from.We have to read the New Testament with first century glasses to understand the context. When you read about the Holy Spirit, you must understand the context in which a statement was made. I firmly believe that the Spirit indwells me, the question is How? If I allow the words of Christ to dwell in me (Eph 5:18) I’m being led by the Holy Spirit. Eph 5:18’s companion passage Col 3:16 tells us to ALLOW the Spirit to dwell in us richly. We decide if the Spirit dwells in us, it is not automatic and instant. This occurs through study, gaining knowledge. Many in the church believe that the spirit personally indwells them, my question to them is why would this occur? We have been given everything that pertains to life and Godliness, we have the inspired word of God that will make us perfect unto every good work. Does He speak to you? does He nudge you in the right direction? If so then the scriptures lie, they are not ALL sufficient as it claims. God is not a respecter of persons, He is not going to give you a message that He doesn’t me. That’s the beauty of Gods word, we all have the same message, the same instructions. For those who believe that this personal indwelling is miraculous, that the Spirit is personally directing you, apart from God’s word, I caution you, These feelings you get, how do you know that it’s from God? and not Satan? or your own selfish desires? God’s word if we allow it, will guide all of us in the same direction. It will change us and conform us into obedient followers of Christ. We must remember that the first century was the age of the miraculous, God was revealing and confirming His New Covenant, His Son and His church with signs and wonders.

  30. laymond says:

    Thanks, Jeff Richardson, you saved me from having to write another lengthy comment. and I don’t feel well.

  31. Larry Cheek says:

    Jeff,
    Referring to your comment, “We have been given everything that pertains to life and Godliness, we have the inspired word of God that will make us perfect unto every good work. Does He speak to you?”

    I would offer to you that the first Century Christians did not have all these written documents, very few of the men and hardly any of the women could have read them. They were not educated in written communications. There are places in this time of history where the majority of the population are illiterate now. If we would set a standard that a new Christian had to learn or become knowledgeable enough to reach a certain level of understanding before God’s Spirit could dwell within him, then many Christians would never have received the Spirit.

    I believe that God’s Spirit guides me even though I have never heard him speak. Many times in my life I have been able to detect that I understood things in a very different concept than others who have not made a commitment to Christ and it is not only in regard to spiritual matters. I guess to explain in some detail Christians are more apt to have a knowledge that contains wisdom like was given to Solomon. Do you know any Christian who has never asked God for more wisdom?

  32. laymond says:

    Oh by the way, I have searched, and my computer has searched every version of the bible the CoC uses and did not find the word “Indwell, or Indwelled” however we did find the phrase Dwell among, and dwell in the midst. may suggest the Holy Spirit dwelling beside us, never inside us.
    The only thing I found that would be placed inside us was the new covenant.

  33. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry wrote (Part 1),

    You have mention about the Bereans searching the scriptures in response to Paul’s teachings. But, did you notice that those who searched were Jews who were committed to the scriptures as the authority. They were unaware of the events which were visible to the Apostles which testified to Jesus’ authority. Therefore, they were noble in searching for proof. There are accounts of other Jews who just outright rejected the teachings without exerting any effort to verify the teachings. Were any of them converted to Christ?

    I’m sorry, but I don’t follow this at all.

    Are we not, as Christians and part of the true Israel (Rom 11) committed to the scriptures as authority, too?

    Were any of who converted to Christ? Those who didn’t search the scriptures re Jesus? Well, the 3000 converted at Pentecost didn’t excuse themselves, go to the synagogue, read the scriptures, come back, and then submit to baptism. The same is true of Cornelius. So we have both Jews and Gentiles who were converted based on what they were verbally taught. Why does this matter?

    (Acts 17:10-12 ESV) 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

    It’s true that the Bereans searched the OT scriptures to verify the teaching of Paul and Silas, and they are commended by Luke as “noble” for doing their homework. But many Jews and Gentiles were converted without having to search the scriptures first. Perhaps they already knew their scriptures well enough that they didn’t need to.

    Notice that their diligent study of the OT also resulting in the conversion of Greek women and men. So this is not just a Jewish thing.

    But the point remains that there’s no error in suggesting that checking Paul against the OT is permissible and not a sleight against his inspiration. It’s noble. He spoke and wrote constantly referring to the OT in support of his arguments to Jews and to Gentiles. Taking the time to read and understand Paul’s references to the OT is to honor his methods and his inspiration.

  34. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    Just a little help since your program did not produce. Does the CoC restrict you to certain translations?
    1 Corinthians 6:19

    (ASV) Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;

    (BBE) Or are you not conscious that your body is a house for the Holy Spirit which is in you, and which has been given to you by God? and you are not the owners of yourselves;

    (CEV) You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own.

    (DRB) Or know you not that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God: and you are not your own?

    (ERV) You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit that you received from God and that lives in you. You don’t own yourselves.

    (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

    (GNB) Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God;

    (GW) Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves.

    (ISV) You know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, don’t you? You do not belong to yourselves,

    (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    (KJV+) What?G2228 knowG1492 ye notG3756 thatG3754 yourG5216 bodyG4983 isG2076 the templeG3485 of theG3588 HolyG40 GhostG4151 which is inG1722 you,G5213 whichG3739 ye haveG2192 ofG575 God,G2316 andG2532 ye areG2075 notG3756 your own?G1438

    (LEB) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

    (LITV) Or do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in you, which you have from God, and you are not of yourselves?

    (MKJV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own,

    (RV) Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;

    (YLT) Have ye not known that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own,

    2 Timothy 1:14

    (ABP+) [2theG3588 3goodG2570 4trustG3866 1Guard]G5442 throughG1223 [2spiritG4151 1holy],G39 of the oneG3588 dwellingG1774 inG1722 us!G1473

    (ASV) That good thing which was committed unto thee guard through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.

    (BBE) That good thing which was given to you keep safe, through the Holy Spirit which is in us.

    (CEV) You have been trusted with a wonderful treasure. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives within you.

    (DRB) Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us.

    (ERV) This teaching is a treasure that you have been trusted with. Protect it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us.

    (ESV) By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

    (GNB) Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, keep the good things that have been entrusted to you.

    (GW) With the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, protect the Good News that has been entrusted to you.

    (ISV) With the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, protect the good treasure that has been entrusted to you.

    (KJV) That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

    (KJV+) That good thingG2570 which was committed unto theeG3872 keepG5442 byG1223 the HolyG40 GhostG4151 which dwellethG1774 inG1722 us.G2254

    (LEB) Guard the good deposit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

    (LITV) Guard the good Deposit given through the Holy Spirit indwelling in us.

    (MKJV) Guard the good Deposit given through the Holy Spirit indwelling in us.

    (RV) That good thing which was committed unto thee guard through the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

    (YLT) the good thing committed guard thou through the Holy Spirit that is dwelling in us;

  35. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry wrote (Part 2),

    Does this example set an example that anyone who does not hold to the OT scriptures as being the present authority, to search the scriptures for validation that the teaching they hear has authority? It would mean nothing to those in Athens who worshiped other gods to search the OT scriptures for verification that Paul was telling truth. Even if they did believe the teachings of an Apostle and commit to Christ, until they learned how what they had obeyed was connected with the OT in some manner they would not automatically accept it as an authority to guide their understanding of their new beliefs.

    Most of Paul’s epistles were written to congregations with both Jewish and Gentile members. Even those that were likely mainly Gentile (Rome, for example) assume that the readers have a high knowledge of the OT scriptures. It is obvious that the early Christian churches immersed themselves in the OT scriptures — or else Paul (and Peter, Jude, etc.) could not have written to them as they did. Just go through Romans and highlight the obvious references to the OT. And then look for the less obvious ones.

    Even Paul’s vocabulary is built on OT language. Rom 4 teaches salvation by faith on the account of Abraham in Genesis. Rom 6 is filled with Exodus allusion (freedom from slavery, for example). Knowing that his readers were learned in the OT scriptures allowed him to argue from the scriptures. “Redeem” is the word to free a slave for a price. “Faith” goes back to Gen and Abraham. “Works” is about Torah. God’s “righteousness” goes to the use of that word in the prophets. “Grace” is, I believe, used as a synonym for the Hebrew chesed. That is, to follow Paul, it helps to know his vocabulary, and he gets much of his vocabulary from the LXX translation of the OT. Even “sons of God” refers to Deu and Psalm 2. “Christ” is the Greek form of “Messiah” taken from Psalm 2.

    When Paul calls Jesus “Lord,” in Rom 10 he is referring to Joel 2:28-32, where LXX translates YHWH as “Lord.” He is calling Jesus Yahweh! Our confession “Jesus is Lord” is, in Paul’s writing, “Jesus is Yahweh.” And we miss it because we don’t flip back to Joel to see what Paul is talking about, even though he tells us that he’s teaching from Joel!

    Of course, when he spoke at Mars Hill he had a different audience and he instead argued from the works of pagan philosophers!

    (Acts 17:18-31 ESV) 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”– because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. 22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

    In v. 28, Paul quotes from Aratus (ca. 310–245 B.C.), Phaenomena 5. He builds his case on what the audience already believes and goes from there. When he writes to a church, he knows the church is already committed to OT study and they accept the inspiration and authority of the OT. And so that’s what he uses to build his case.

    BTW, don’t assume that First Century Greeks weren’t familiar with the scriptures of the Jews. By then, many were well aware of the Jewish religion. Philo of Alexandria was a Jewish philosopher who sought to merge Jewish with Greek thought, and he was well known and read. Many of Paul’s converts were already “God fearers,” being Gentiles who worshiped the God of the Jews.

    When we read one of Paul’s letters, we’re listening in on one side of a conversation that was directed to people with a very different culture and background than us. The burden is on us to catch up and learn what we need to learn to understand what was written. Not that we need such a high level of learning to be saved, but if we don’t have teachers among us who do this, we will misunderstand a great deal of what is being said.

    In fact, until recently, most scholarly studies of Paul, going back to the Middle Ages, misunderstood much of what he wrote because the European scholars ignored his Jewish backgrounds. This is where Calvin went awry on TULIP, for example. A better grasp of the OT and the NT’s roots in the OT would have dramatically changed Calvin’s theology for the better. And there are many such examples.

  36. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry (Part 3),

    Actually, we have the same situation today. How many people would you believe there is today who are not Jews or Christians would consider the OT scriptures as an authority? We today teach Jesus and his Gospel to the world as we have been instructed, and individuals who obey and have never read a single chapter in the OT will receive the same blessings as those who have a great knowledge of the OT. The OT then can becomes a support document documenting the history from the beginning to where we are now. But, as you have indicated Jesus does have all authority. Even above and beyond all the OT teachings.

    All Christians, Jews, and Moslems accept the authority of the OT — at least in principle.

    Very few others, but they don’t accept the authority of the NT or Jesus either.

    But this blog is not targeted to the unchurched. I’m writing for a Christian audience.

  37. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry (Part 4),

    Your statement below really sounds like a Western present day view, except very few individuals will exert that much effort. They’ll just ask the preacher or someone they respect.
    “No, they went to the local synagogue and pulled out the Isaiah or Torah scrolls, without chapter or verse markings, found the parts Paul mentioned, read them in context, and learned from what Paul had taught. Presumably several church members went together and searched the scriptures together.”
    Where did you find in scripture that the Jewish people had access to those documents? Or what has given you the impression that most all the Jews could read those documents? There was an elite body of men who had been educated in reading but there were many of the Jews even in the Pharisees and Sadducees who were in their position because of their dedication rather than their skills.

    In the vicinity of Judea, the Jews spoke Aramaic, but most (especially the men) would have been schooled in Hebrew and they would have studied the OT in Hebrew all their lives.

    West of Judea — Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, etc.– the Jews read the OT in Greek using the Septuagint.

    Any decent book on NT backgrounds would lay this out. Obviously, Paul wrote his letters in Greek because his congregations spoke and understood Greek.

    The synagogues had the OT. Archaeologists have even found closets for the storage of the valuable scrolls. And history is clear from multiple sources that the scrolls were kept at and read in the synagogues.

  38. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry (Part 5),

    You brought this to my attention as an example of Jesus directing the Jews (his listeners) to learn what it meant by searching the OT, but if they did they were better than searching than these electronic search engines we have today. There is a matching verse in chapter 12 but, I could not find a matching concept in the rest of the OT or NT.

    (Mat 9:13 ESV) Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
    (Mat 12:7 ESV) And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
    The closest rendering in OT is the following, but it does not fit the context.
    (Hos 6:6 ESV) For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
    You did say, “Jesus was God in the flesh! Why not just say what he meant? Why quote the OT?” I guess I need more help than e-sword can provide to locate that quote. Even while trying to find text spoken by Jesus directing his followers to test the scriptures; these do not fit the concept. He did explain that their lack of knowledge hindered them in their understanding, but only because they had previously believed something else and did not want to learn what was correct. Matt 22:29 & Mar 12:24.

    You’re confusing English translations with the words of Jesus and Hosea. We have Matthew in Greek. The Hebrew for “mercy” is chesed (or hesed) and is translated variously in the English OT translations. The LXX is eleos (mercy), as is the Greek in Matthew. Hence, Jesus quoted from the LXX, and his hearers would have immediately recognized his allusion.

    Any decent cross-referencing Bible would take you straight to Hosea 6:6. I know the ESV cross references give the reference.

    Jesus says this twice in Matthew, making it very important to Jesus’ theology. Therefore, while I’m terrible at remembering verse numbers, this is one I know by heart.

    Jesus specifically refers his listeners to Hosea 6:6 both in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7.

  39. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry (part 6),

    “So Jesus presented himself to the world in a way that requires the OT to fully understand him?” Really, I have heard much communication on even this blog, that men see a problem in the fact we have been too scripture bound and therefore neglected teaching Jesus. His life did not teach us enough about him to be able to understand (him)? Should we believe that would mean our salvation could be in jeopardy from lack of knowledge of OT?
    “If you want to learn at the feet of the greatest Jewish rabbis in history, you need to learn a little OT background, because Jesus and Paul routinely assume you already know enough to understand the points they are making in the language of the day.”
    This point seems to me to require a belief that the NT was only written to scholars. That Jesus and Paul and inspiration was not capable to express themselves to the common people who had obeyed and become disciples. How high of an education would you think was obtained by the majority of the common Jews?

    To be saved, it’s enough to know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God or that Jesus is Lord. Those are the confessions we’re given by scripture. A 12-year can understand these well enough to be saved. But if the goal is merely be saved, then you should stop studying after you leave the baptistry, because you’ve been saved.

    No one is remotely suggesting that your salvation depends on learning the OT. But you’ll not be qualified as a teacher or an elder if you ignore the OT. After all, elders are charged with refuting heresy and teaching sound doctrine. And you’ll miss out on the chance to grow closer to God through the study of his word.

    For that matter, you’ll never understand even your confession as well as you should.

    What does it mean to say that Jesus is “the Christ”? Well, “Christ” is the Greek for “Messiah.” And what’s a Messiah? Well, he’s the king promised by the OLD TESTAMENT, which is filled with background and understanding.

    What does “Son of the Living God” mean? THe Nicene Creed was 300 years in the future. Peter was not speaking of the hypostatic union. He was thinking of Psalm 2, where “Son of God” refers to the king — the Messiah particularly. Which you’d know if, like most First Century Jews, you’d be raised to memorize much of the Psalms. But we don’t get much past Psalm 23. So we miss some (not all) of the meaning even in the Good Confession.

    What does “Lord” mean in Rom 10:9? Well, it’s a reference to Joel 2:32, where “Lord” in the LXX translates YHWH. How many of our converts knew that when they were baptized?

    Were they saved despite their ignorance? Of course. Would it be good for them to understand the confession better today than yesterday? To learn its depths and riches as fully as possible? Of course. Can that be done without the OT background? No.

    Jesus came “preaching the good news of the kingdom,” Matthew says. And yet this was before Jesus was revealed as Messiah. So what was the “good news”? You only know if you read Isaiah. Matthew doesn’t tell you.

    (Matt. 4:1 ESV) 3 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

    What is the “kingdom”? Again, Matthew doesn’t say. You have to read Isaiah and Daniel, among others. Or a good study Bible or NT introduction. But not Matthew. Matthew assumes you already know. So do Luke and Mark.

    Try reading any of these three Gospels from page 1 completely unaware of kingdom theology, the meaning of “good news,” etc. And see if you can figure out what these words mean from the Gospels. I think you’ll get pretty frustrated.

    All the Gospel writers assume a knowledge of the OT among their readers that was common in those days. We bring in definitions from our Bible classes and reading of Paul — but Jesus’ hearers got their understanding from the OT. And if you want to understand Matthew as his First Century readers understood him, you need to do your homework in the prophets.

    Or buy a good study Bible. Or read a good blog.

  40. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    Sorry I have confused you. But, the point that I was attempting to make is there is no requirement in scriptures which designates that an individual must research the OT in order to believe that the messages are true and factual. If we were to apply an action like that, it would be no different than applying many of the rules that you have fought diligently to abolish which were established by men within many denominations. Paul mentions how “noble” it is that they do this research, and it is, but how much more faithful is it to believe the message because of its content without the necessity of requiring proof?
    Many Jews and Gentiles were converted without having to search the scriptures first. In many cases it would have been impossible for the research to be accomplished. Jesus made a statement about those who did not require proof.
    Joh 20:29 ESV Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    1Pe 1:8-9 ESV Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, (9) obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
    (Heb 11:1 ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
    The whole chapter 11 of Hebrews speaks of those who believed with out the need to prove the message.

    I raised several children, and I believe you have also, so did we learn anything about human behavior? In our different occupations mine is a business owner and repairman while attempting to train some of my children many of the things I learned by the school of hard knocks, would express how something operated and what procedures were necessary to place it back into working order. When my child would undertake the task to ask others or consult repair manuals to see if my instructions were going to work, I was not proud of them because they were exhibiting that they really did not believe or trust me. Applications to the profession that you practice would be identical in relationship to training anyone to (fill your shoes). Why would the same principles not apply to the messages delivered by Christ and his Apostles to the creation?
    I am not attempting to say that it is not important to verify what we have received even if we trust the deliverer, but is there really a need for us to constantly attempt to verify the authenticity of the scripture accounts between the OT and NT messages? Do we not believe that God is and was capable to embed within the messages (stories) of the NT to validate itself. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t see that, “Taking the time to read and understand Paul’s references to the OT is to honor his methods and his inspiration.” First, honoring (Paul’s methods and his inspiration) is having nothing to do with our job duties as Christians. Applying the messages delivered by Christ through Paul is our responsibility. It seems to me that many believe that nobody can understand what Christ wants them to know to be his disciple from the NT only, and I disagree with that concept.

  41. Alabama John says:

    We forget that many of our older generation only had the book of John in the small red covering. Owning a bible was a rich mans opportunity.
    I’m happy to see that the COC of today is seeing that others throughout the ages that didn’t agree with them could go to heaven too.
    Hopefully the rest will understand that soon.

  42. Dwight says:

    John wrote to the five churches in Asia, not exactly what we would think of as Jewish hotspots and he penned the book of Revelation which is heavy with Jewish language and concepts. God formed the Jews, so we would expect the letters and the apostles to be Jewish, and Paul was a Greek…a Greek Jew.

  43. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I was really surprised that you did not understand which Jews I had reference to when I made the statement. “Were any of them converted to Christ?”
    Who was it that rejected Jesus and his teachings? It was the Jewish leaders, the elders, the chief priests, and scribes, the Pharisees, Lawyers, the Council, the very individuals who knew the most about the Law, the Torah and the Prophets. So now we are attempting to identify that if we knew as much about those scriptures as they did we would not make the same mistakes as they did?

  44. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry,

    The scriptures are clear that many Pharisees (Acts 15:5) and priests (Acts 6:7) were converted. Please don’t try to argue that knowledge of the OT somehow makes it harder for someone to be converted. I find that beyond comprehension.

    Paul was a rabbi, a student of the great rabbi Gamaliel. God chose Paul, and surely his expertise in the Law as a rabbi was part of the reason. Paul certainly relies heavily on his rabbinic training in his writing.

    No one has suggested that we need the same level of OT knowledge that they had to be saved. I’ve specifically denied that already.

    But our ignorance of the OT leads us to make mistakes. Jesus said,

    (Matt. 22:29 ESV) 29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

    Jesus meant by “the Scriptures” the OT. He thought it was important for his hearers to know their OT.

  45. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I just bought a book in Logos by Tremper Longman III called “”Immanuel in Our Place: Seeing Christ in Israel’s Worship (The Gospel According to the Old Testament)”. Sounds pretty interesting:

    This book provides fascinating insights into the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices, and festivals. More than that, it shows how Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament sacred space, sacred acts, sacred persons, and sacred time. An aid to pastors, teachers, and laymen in teaching and reading the Old Testament, this work will enrich our understanding of Christ and deepen our worship.

  46. Jeff Richardson says:

    Larry Cheek , your right, those in the first century didn’t have the written word, (New Testament) That’s why God used spiritual gifts, so they could be equipped to function. the Apostles were given ALL truth, being led by the Spirit. We no longer need this direct operation of the Spirit, because we now have the complete will of God revealed to us, we have the new Covenant in written form. As Eph 4:13 informs us, they (gifts) were used…. ’till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man…”1 Cor 15:2 ” by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that WORD which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.” 1 Tim 2:4 “God, who desires all men to be saved and come to the KNOWLEDGE of the truth.” Eph 2:8 “for by grace you have been saved “through faith” and that not of yourselves.” How does the bible say we get faith? Romans 10;17 “faith comes by hearing, hearing by the WORD of God.” We all get faith the same way, by hearing or reading God’s word proclaimed. When we allow God’s word to speak to us and we are willing to obey and follow, we are indeed being led by the Spirit. No one today receives the Spirit as they did then, there is no need. In Acts 2, the miraculous is under consideration, the age of the miraculous came to an end by the end of the first century. Today, if you desire to be led by the Spirit, know your bible, believe, obey and follow.

  47. John F says:

    Jeff “til we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man.” Have we really come to a “unity of the faith?” When did that take place? Who is the “we”? I do not subscribe to continuing miraculous gifts as normative for the church today, but this verse is not the strongest to support that case (neither is 1Cor 13).

  48. Jeff Richardson says:

    Those who accept “truth” as divinely revealed will come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and there will be unity. The kind of unity Jesus prayed for. The “we” in that verse are those who have submitted to the will of God and obeyed the gospel, If anyone is willing to submit to the fathers will, he and others can and will have unity. We must unify around God’s word. That’s the problem, men have not done that. Men in their wisdom have rejected sound doctrine. Those who do accept “truth”will be united together for a common cause. It is possible and it does occur today. Eph 4 and 1 Cor 13 are a strong case if you understand the context, it’s clear as to what Paul is saying.

  49. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff R,
    The problem with your thesis, in my opinion, is that “unity” in Churches of Christ has become virtually impossible. Look, I’ve been in CoCs all my life. I still attend a CoC. I know the Church very, very well. I’ve attended congregations on the far, far right (eg the “Anti’s”), the far right, and the more balanced congregations. All have been non-instrumental.

    You said, “If anyone is willing to sum it to the father’s will, he and others can and will have unity.” Sounds good in a sentence, but the devil is in the details and the application. Literally. My Anti brethren contend that we cannot have unity unless we submit to the Father’s will with regard to the budget.

    My far right brethren contend that we cannot have unity unless we submit to the Father’s will and publicly disfellowship Dave Miller / Apologetics press and repent for having supported a lectureship that included Speaker A who fellowships Preacher B who attended a different lectureship with Miller.

    I have other brethren who contend that we cannot have unity unless we submit to the Fathers will and cease supporting Church of Christ Disaster Relief.

    I have other brethren who contend that we cannot have unity unless others cease using language like Church Family because that is the language of Ashod and is sinful and soul damning.

    What you have described sounds good, but it is a pipe dream because far too many Churches of Christ arrogantly believe that they are the final arbiter for determining the Father’s will.

  50. Mark says:

    There is far more to the gospel than just obeying it. It is not the Torah.

    Jeff R wrote “Men in their wisdom have rejected sound doctrine.” Aside from belief in God and the messiah Jesus, the remaining “sound doctrine” is generally congregation- and publication-specific. Unity first means accepting that the cofC down the road with a kitchen is just as good as your church sans kitchen and that they won’t get sent to hell for it.

    When i was growing up, I well remember going to visit my grandmother. She lived in a town with 3 cofCs. One was begun many decades earlier out in the country across the river. This makes sense. Another dared have a kitchen and a youth group even in the 1980s. Now they have grace mentioned on their website and celebrate Christmas. The third one was the old congregation she attended which had/still has none of the aforementioned things. I asked once about going to the one with a kitchen and youth group as I wanted to see a functioning cofC youth group and was told we don’t do that.

    Good cofC members there went to the other cofC(s) in town only for funerals about as often as they went to the Catholic church for weddings.

  51. Jeff Richardson says:

    I’m not saying that it’s not difficult, The problems we have always seem to come when we insist on our opinions. Our opinions are just that, opinions. Sound doctrine comes from the pattern of sound words, thus saith the Lord. So many believe that the word of God is NOT all sufficient, that it’s not a guide, a pattern that will lead us into all truth. Until we come to believe that, we will never see the unity Jesus prayed for. And your right, many congregations have forsaken this holy pattern and gone astray. We must ask, why is that? Could it be that they have compromised the truth, in an attempt to find “unity” as they see unity? Jesus prayed that His followers would be of the same mind, to have all things in common. And these things come from hearing God’s word. It must be possible, and I believe it is, IF we are willing to follow the guide. In matters of “opinion” each congregation must decide for itself. But we must be very careful in determining what’s opinion and what is a “thus saith the Lord”. For those who don’t believe God’s word to be law, a guide, a pattern for us to follow, are asking for unity to never be found. The unity they seek is based upon the wisdom of man.

  52. John F says:

    Mark, at LEAST the three were separated by some distance. I moved to Abilene, TX a year ago — there are two cofC less than a block apart — you can see each sign from the other ‘s parking lot, any closer and they would share the same lot. can it be any sadder than that? How can that possibly proclaim unity?

  53. Dwight says:

    We aren’t told to unite in doctrine, as many try to do, but failed because they have a proprietary doctrine. We are told to unite in Jesus. Our, that is my, walking in Jesus light places me in a relationship with others who do the same. Too often true doctrine means my doctrine and not yours. We should follow the teachings of Jesus, but far too often we follow the teaching of someone or a group who has codified the teachings of Jesus.

  54. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff R,

    I agree with this statement:
    I’m not saying that it’s not difficult, The problems we have always seem to come when we insist on our opinions. Our opinions are just that, opinions. Sound doctrine comes from the pattern of sound words, thus saith the Lord.

    But again, how do we apply it? What is an opinion, and what is a matter of faith? Differentiating the two seems like an easy task, but in reality it is fraught with peril. Who gets to decide what is an opinion? For example all the congregations (referenced above) contend that their view is a matter of faith and not a matter of opinion, e.g. views on budget, fellowship, language, CCDR.

    Here are two interesting quotes from several years ago:
    But what about obedience to sound doctrine? As early as 1919 F. L. Young answered at Abilene: “What is sound and what is unsound is hard for us to determine. And who made us the judge? Where did we get the authority to pass on someone else’s soundness? Did not Paul teach, ‘to his own master he stands or falls?’ The man who differs from us because he has learned more than we have we pronounce a heretic. While the man who thinks just as we do is sound, even though he never spent a moment examining the foundation of his faith.” G. C. Brewer agreed: “Even if a man teaches error, it would have to be very heinous to be as great a sin as the sin of division. Those engaged in division always justify it citing doctrinal loyalty. Frequently it is only our opinion that has been disregarded, not the word of God.”

    Amen.

    Jeff, would you maintain fellowship with a congregation that uses instrumental music?
    Would you fellowship a congregation that does not use IM but, at the same time, does not view IM as a matter of faith. They simply have chosen not to, perhaps for acoustics, budget, untrained pianist, or any number of reasons?

    As I said, the COC that I attend does not use IM, but most people there do not think that the use of IM will cost anyone their souls either. We see this as a matter of opinion rather than a matter of faith.

  55. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Dwight,

    Agreed. We have so butchered 2 John 2:9 that we have painted ourselves into the proverbial corner and misapplied the passage to very nearly everything…”unless we agree on everything, we can’t have unity, and you are definitely going to hell.”

  56. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Kevin,

    Once you’ve read it, send me a brief review and I’ll post it.

  57. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R (Part 2),

    According to your argument, we only needed the Spirit’s indwelling for a generation, and now we’re good with just words on paper — just like the Old Covenant. That’s not remotely a fair reading of the scriptures.

    Next, Paul writes,

    (2 Cor. 3:2-9 ESV) 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.

    Paul says the Corinthian congregation is “a letter from Christ … written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God … on tablets of human hearts.” Sounds a whole lot like Jer 31:31ff. Paul contrasts this with a letter “written … with ink” or “on tablets of stone.” He is obviously contrasting the indwelling Spirit, writing God’s laws on our hearts and minds, to a law written on parchment or stone. It’s not the content of the Law Paul is focusing on but the means by which we are to be changed by the law.

    Paul says that he is therefore a minister of “a new covenant” (again, a plainly reference to Jer 31:31ff) “not of the letter but of the Spirit.” The new covenant is about HOW the law is given to us — by direct operation of the Spirit versus something written on paper or stone. “For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

    Ahh … here we have a subtle but real reference to –

    (Deut. 30:6 ESV) 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

    The Spirit gives life because the only way we can have circumcised hearts that love God enough “that you may live” is if GOD HIMSELF circumcises our hearts.

    Paul then describes the old covenant as a “ministry of death.” Why? In context, what is it about the Law of Moses that brings death? Well, remember this command —

    (Deut. 10:12-16 ESV) 12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? 14 Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”

    What does God require? That we love him with all our heart and all our soul. How will that happen? V. 16 says it happens if we “circumcise … the foreskin of your heart.” Which we cannot do by ourselves. Nor can ink on paper or words carved into stone. Only God can do this — by DIRECT OPERATION of the Spirit, as promised in Deu 30:6 and Jer 31:31ff (among many other OT and NT passages).

    Am I making this up? No. I learned it from Paul the Apostle –

    (Rom. 2:26-29 ESV) uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    Why is it that Gentiles can be saved without circumcision? Because our hearts have been circumcised by the Spirit and “not by the letter.” Again, Paul plainly contrasts do-it-yourself Christianity with God’s helping us via the Helper.

    Oh, and Paul got this not only from the OT (as well by inspiration, of course) but from Jesus of Nazareth.

    (Jn. 7:37-39 ESV) 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

    “Living water” is a reference to the Holy Spirit. The condition to receive it? Faith in Jesus. No laying on of hands. No magic tricks. The Living Water of the Spirit is promised to all who believe in Jesus. And the Spirit “will flow” out of the heart of the believer.

    How does it get there? Well, God puts it there. By us reading the Bible? No, by God himself putting it there.

  58. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R (Part 3),

    Oh, and then there’s —

    (Jn. 4:9-14 ESV) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

    Plainly, “living water” is the indwelling Spirit (see Part 2). Where will it be? “In him” to whom Jesus gives it. How long will it last? We “will never be thirsty again.” It’s a one-time infusion sufficient for a lifetime.

    What is the result of receiving this gift from Jesus? The living water (Spirit) wells up (from in the believer) “to eternal life.” It’s not eternal life, but it produces eternal life. The same promise as in Deu 30:6 and Jer 31:31ff. So if we no longer receiving the indwelling Spirit, what wells up to eternal life within us? Do we really think we no longer need the indwelling Spirit? Only if we don’t need eternal life!

    Nowhere does the Bible say, “We no longer need this direct operation of the Spirit, because we now have the complete will of God revealed to us, we have the new Covenant in written form.” In fact, we are specifically told that the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. The letter, even if written by the finger of God Almighty himself, is not enough. The “letter” Paul says kills is the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses — which came from God. They kill, not because God gave a bad law, but because the human heart cannot obey, give up its stubbornness, and be fully compliant without God’s help by the Spirit.

  59. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R (part 4),

    (Acts 2:38-39 ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

    The “promise” is most specifically a reference back to —

    (Acts 2:33 ESV) 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

    And the promise is given to “for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” That doesn’t sound like a promise given to only one generation!

    The point’s been made that similar language is found in —

    (Acts 10:45 ESV) 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.

    And it’s absolutely true that Acts 2:39 looks forward to the Gentiles being brought into the Kingdom. But “your children” is not a reference to the Gentiles but to the next generation of Jews. In fact, “children” is used among Jews to refer generally to descendants, not just to the next generation.

    The promise of the gospel was extended not only to those present on that occasion, not only to the contemporary generation but to their descendants as well [fn104], not only to the people of Jerusalem but to those of distant lands (and, as appears later in Luke’s narrative, not only to Jews but to Gentiles also).

    [fn104] Cf. the promises to Noah (Gen. 9:9), Abraham (Gen. 13:15; 17:7–8; Gal. 3:16), and David (Pss. 18:50; 89:34–37; 132:11–12).

    F. F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988), 71.

    The expression ‘for you and your children and for all who are far off’ develops Joel’s promise of the Spirit being poured out ‘on all people’ (Jl. 2:28–29). God’s covenant mercies were for Peter’s Jewish audience and for their descendants (for you and your children; cf. Gn. 13:15; 17:7–9; Acts 13:32–33).

    David G. Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), 156.

    Really? Really.

    (Isa. 44:3 ESV) 3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

    and

    (Jn. 14:16-17 ESV) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

    Now, given that the apostles all died, how could the Spirit of truth be “with you forever” unless it was given to all who believe forever? It sure doesn’t sound like a one-generation gift.

  60. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, I would NOT fellowship with a congregation that uses instruments. Why? because we have been instructed to sing. We have no example of, no inference of, no command to use them in the New Covenant. We have been told what to do, why can’t we just do it, and not be concerned with the why not’s. Remember the warning in the last book of Revelation, concerning adding to and taking from? Is your soul worth the risk? I think not.

    Jay, If the will of God is literally written on our hearts, why do we continue with bible study? Why so much confusion and disagreement among us? wouldn’t we all understand the same? 2 Cor 3:2-9 is a contrast between the old law and the new. There was no salvation under the old law, (the letter) Paul is explaining how mush better the new covenant is. It is in the “new law, the new covenant, the perfect law of liberty, the law of Christ that this living water is found. What does this living water provide? Is it not truth and salvation through obedience? Jesus Christ is the living water, come and drink freely. In Acts, that which you now see and hear, that was being poured out, what was it? It was the miraculous!! Again, when we see in scripture someone receiving the Holy Spirit, Acts 8, 10, 19 what do we see? We see them receiving spiritual gifts, the miraculous, by the laying on of an Apostles hands. So when we read about the Spirit elsewhere in the New testament we must think the miraculous, because there is not one verse that supports or shows anyone receiving what you advocate, unless you believe that the miraculous still occurs, and if so where is the Apostle that laid hands upon you, I would love to meet him? I’m sure you won’t agree, but 1 Cor 13 shows us these things would be ending. We need to be reminded of what the Spirit was doing during that time. He was delivering all truth to the Apostles, and this truth was being confirmed by signs and wonders. This truth, the new covenant as Jude put it, was ONCE and for ALL confirmed and delivered. Remember Hebrews 1:1 and following? “in these last days (which we have been in since the resurrection) God has spoken to us through His Son. God speaks through His Son. We have Christ’s last will and testament. It is written on our hearts, figuratively, when we know and accept it and live our lives according to it. And as the scriptures inform us, God the father and Christ the Son will come and make their home in us. Not literally, but figuratively, it also says that we will live in them. This is all about relationship, have we taken this “living water” to heart? Do we believe it enough to trust it and obey it? It comes down to trusting in Jesus enough to do as he has commanded. And by the way, if the Holy Spirit is literally in us, wouldn’t that be more of a physical relationship than a spiritual one? Relationship! from God’s mouth to my heart, relationship. The Holy Spirit was not personally given to anyone, the Spirit represents TRUTH, we can have it, and have it forever. After all, it is TRUTH that will set us free.

  61. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R (Part 1),

    If the will of God is literally written on our hearts, why do we continue with bible study? Why so much confusion and disagreement among us? wouldn’t we all understand the same?

    1. See my post at http://oneinjesus.info/2016/03/from-the-comments-more-holy-spirit-questions-does-the-spirit-take-our-free-will/ from yesterday. The Spirit doesn’t take our free will. We are free to ignore the scriptures should we so choose.

    2. Actually, in the more progressive (or evangelical) Churches of Christ, I find agreement and unity easy to come by. I’ve interviewed many ministerial candidates from many different backgrounds, and we found ourselves easily reaching agreement on countless points. The problem in the Churches of Christ is legalism and a CENI hermeneutic that creates subjective tests of damnation. When you get away from that, it’s not hard to find agreement on most things. And even if we disagree over this or that point, we can still easily fellowship each other, work together, and typically even be part of the same congregational leadership. We don’t need to spend much time discussing doctrine because, well, we already agree on nearly everything because the Bible is so clear. I mean, it’s so much easier to agree on what the Bible says than what it’s silent about.

    3. It’s my experience (and I can’t prove this from the scriptures, but it’s what I’ve seen) that those who recognize an active, real indwelling as described in the many passages I’ve cited are far more influenced by the Spirit than those who deny that they might be influenced by the Spirit. It makes sense. It’s hard to be influenced by what you deny.

    4. At this point, someone usually makes an accusation about a lack of obedience — and yet my experience is that the more I teach grace and the Spirit, the more our congregation’s generosity, volunteerism, and commitment to obedience goes up. I find that churches that truly grasp grace are much more active in helping the poor etc. That’s not to say that grace-less, CENI, Spirit-less churches don’t do good. They do. They do it because they have the Spirit even though they deny him and teach de facto Deism. But they do so much more, with so much more joy and celebration, when they learn grace and the Spirit. Tried it both ways, and it’s not even close.

  62. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R (part 2),

    2 Cor 3:2-9 is a contrast between the old law and the new.

    Not “law”; “covenant.” You treat them as synonyms, which is sheer assumption and circular reasoning. You’re assuming what you wish to prove.

    (2 Cor. 3:2-9 ESV) 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.

    Do you even read what I write? Do you read the scriptures I quote? I mean, the BIBLE defines NEW COVENANT and we’ve covered the passage repeatedly — and you ignore it. This time, you need to look it up and tell me how, according to the BIBLE, the new COVENANT differs from the OLD. I’ve given my understanding of the passage that defines “new covenant.” Please quote the passage and tell me what you believe it says.

    You argue by ignoring anything inconvenient and then arguing from other passages. I’ve responded to your arguments in ample detail. It’s time for you to respond to mine. And let’s start with the “new covenant” definition.

    Then go to John’s Gospel and tell me, according to the BIBLE, what “living water” means on the lips of Jesus. I’ve told you what I believe and why. You seem to disagree. Tell me why you disagree with me. Show that you understand my definition of “living water” and why I believe that, and then show why you think I’m wrong. Don’t just ASSERT. ENGAGE.

    You ASSERT,

    Jesus Christ is the living water, come and drink freely.

    No reference to scripture. No argument. Nothing but sheer assertion. Why should I believe you? Prove your case from evidence.

    Again, you ASSERT,

    The Holy Spirit was not personally given to anyone, …

    That’s just so obviously untrue that it’s not worth my time to respond or anyone’s time to read my response. Start in Num 11 and work your way through the Bible with a good concordance program. BibleGateway would be a good one. Just search “Spirit” and read every passage on the subject. I’ve done this many times. It takes a while, but this is how you learn what the Bible says on a subject. I also like to find a good cross-referencing Bible and check the cross-references for passages dealing with the Spirit that don’t use the word “Spirit.” No commentary. No blog posts. Just me and the Bible and some software. It’s amazing what you learn. And you’ll quickly learn that the Spirit has been personally given to many people. But I would not rob you of the joy of discovery. Do the study yourself and see what I mean.

    You win arguments, first, by understanding what the other guy is saying well enough to show him in error. Anyone can disagree. But persuasively arguing is far more about listening than talking. Listen to what I’m saying well enough to understand me (even though you disagree). And then prove me wrong.

  63. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so please correct me if I misrepresent your views. You very likely believe that using IM in worship is sinful. I, on the other hand, believe that withholding fellowship because of IM is sinful.

    You wrote:
    We have been told what to do, why can’t we just do it…

    Agreed and amen! God told us to sing. He didn’t tell us how to sing. God left the “how” to us. Singing acapella or singing with IM is still singing. CoCs add to the word when we say that God has legislated the “kind of music He wants” (not your quote, Jeff, I know). We are very good at conflating an example of singing with a specific kind of music. Singing is similar to other areas in which we are given the “what” but not the “how.” We are expected to be joyful, but God does not legislate all the ways in which we can express that joy. God expects us to praise him, but he does not strictly legislate the manner in which we praise Him. The regulative principle just doesn’t pass the sniff test with regard to this subject. There is an abundance of material of this blog that details the regulative principle’s many fallacies.

    Remember the warning in the last book of Revelation, concerning adding to and taking from? Is your soul worth the risk? I think not.
    Jeff, this is a very good point, and it is the reason why I abandoned the acapella-only position a few years ago. I realized that labeling IM as sinful and then severing fellowship because of it is tantamount to adding to the word. Christ spent a significant amount of His ministry combating the Pharisees who added their own commandments to the word. My soul is definitely not worth the risk.

  64. I so look forward to these engaging discussions/arguments. To a weak (in grasping ideas) Christian like me, both sides appear valid. It’s like I am walking on a path with a stream flowing on either side of the it (path). Both streams (of thought) appear to make sense. Is something wrong with me?

    While using psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, Ephesians 5:18 tells us to “be filled with the Spirit” and Colossians 3:16 tells us to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. Indwelling Spirit and indwelling word. (cf. John 14:23). Since these are scriptural truths, why the bitter struggle for or against one or the other? Why not accept both by faith? “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (Ephesians 3:17). Do we believe and accept what the Bible says? It is a matter of faith.

  65. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Thomas,
    You raise a great point, [“Why the bitter struggle for or against one another?” ].
    I’ve been in CoCs all my life, almost 48 years. The reason for the struggle is because we tend to define matters of opinion as matters of faith, and in so doing, we break Christian fellowship left, right, and center and condemn others to eternal damnation over insignificant matters. In effect, we unwittingly add to the Gospel very similarly to Gal 2, and that terrifies me. I wish it terrified others that I know and love.

  66. Jeff Richardson says:

    Jay, Do you believe in the Calvinist doctrine, that it takes a direct operation of the Spirit to influence the heart of an alien sinner? I believe that it’s the word preached that influences that heart, causes it to be pricked. It’s the human heart that must decide if it will believe the message given and obey. Why then must there be a direct operation of the Spirit to keep the Christian faithful? The word of God, the new covenant, Christ’s last will and testament was given to us for that purpose. You used 2 Cor 3:2-9 again to prove your idea of a personal indwelling. You quote verse 1, “You yourselves are letters of recommendation, written on our hearts, (figure of speech) to be known and read by all.” you go on to state, Paul contrast this with a letter written in ink…..Then you said, “He is obviously contrasting the indwelling Spirit, writing God’s laws on our hearts.” Paul asks, do we need to have letters of recommendation sent to you? He is reminding them that they know in their hearts that they were indeed men of God with authority, this does not need to be reestablished. If the whole chapter is read in context it is very clear that Paul is reminding them that they are ministers of this new covenant and they should glory in it. The old law, (the letter) showed them their sinfulness, they shouldn’t look to the old for life. and only this new covenant can give them life. The Spirit delivered this truth to the Apostles. Once it was, the age of the miraculous ended and it was up to man by way of preaching this word that man had any hope. That’s why Paul commended Timothy for carefully following the doctrine that he was given. Thus God has chosen to speak to us in these last days through His Son, Heb 1. His Son has provided us with His last will and testament. In the first century this word was only spoken, we now have it recorded for our use. A covenant is an agreement. In this case it’s between God and mankind. In this covenant are contained requirements, rules and regulations, LAWS, that must be followed. God has stated what He has done and will do (Grace). Man must now do his part, (obey). Man must keep his part of the agreement. When we obey the gospel, we are in fact agreeing to the terms and conditions of this agreement. If we reject any part of this agreement before we sign (obey the gospel) there is no covenant between us. if we reject or disobey any part of the agreement after we Sign (obey the gospel) we become covenant breakers. The good news is, we can repent and be in a covenant relationship once again. You also stated, “the Spirit doesn’t take our free will, we are free to ignore (the scriptures) should we choose.” I agree 100%. But what about this personal indwelling Spirit? What in the world does He do? If you choose to ignore Him, haven’t you ignored Him personally? Even by your own statement you realize the importance of the written word. Without the written word you wouldn’t know anything about the Spirit. It comes down to this, do we accept the all sufficiency of (the scriptures) or are we going to listen to the supposed voices in our heads and call it the Holy Spirit? Again I ask, how do you know it’s the Holy Spirit and not Satan or your own lustful desires? The only way, the only way, is to know God’s word. It is sharper than any two edged sword and able to cut deep. It gets to the heart of man and man can see for himself, what kind of man he is. Solomon said in Prov 23:23, “but the truth, and sell it not, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Both Isaiah and Jeremiah affirmed that people can and must be taught in order to come to the knowledge of those things that must be known. (Is 54:13, Jer 31:34 John 6:45, 7:17). Moses had stressed the need for his people to teach their children. Paul talked about those who were always learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of God in 2 Tim. Do we really believe what the bible says, if we do we will accept what it says. Eph 5:18, let the spirit dwell in you, what does that mean? Col 3:16 tells us, allow the word of Christ to dwell in you richly. It’s not magical or mystical. It’s rather simple, Allow the words of Christ to dwell in your heart and you will be a man of God.

  67. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Kevin,

    Amen! I’m scared for my brothers, too. Have been ever since I wrote http://oneinjesus.info/books-by-jay-guin/do-we-teach-another-gospel/. I tried hard to prove myself wrong before I put the book out. I’d rather be wrong.

  68. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thomas wrote,

    While using psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, Ephesians 5:18 tells us to “be filled with the Spirit” and Colossians 3:16 tells us to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. Indwelling Spirit and indwelling word. (cf. John 14:23). Since these are scriptural truths, why the bitter struggle for or against one or the other? Why not accept both by faith?

    Exactly the right response. Don’t look for prooftexts to win your debate. Obey the texts. Both of them. Hence, really do let God fill you with his Spirit, and really do let the word of Christ (gospel) dwell richly in you. Together, they’ll bring so much joy you just might bust out singing.

    Probably Paul means not “the word, or message, that Christ proclaimed” but “the message that proclaims Christ,” “the message about the Messiah” (HCSB; NLT; cf. “the word of the gospel” in Col. 1:5).

    Douglas J. Moo, The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2008), 285–286.

  69. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R (Part 1),

    Do you believe in the Calvinist doctrine, that it takes a direct operation of the Spirit to influence the heart of an alien sinner? I believe that it’s the word preached that influences that heart, causes it to be pricked. It’s the human heart that must decide if it will believe the message given and obey.

    I do not believe in Calvinist double predestination. I’m an Arminian.

    Why then must there be a direct operation of the Spirit to keep the Christian faithful?

    Why must there be a “must” in your question? Why must something be essential to be true? Why do you assume a black and white world?

    Jesus himself describes the Spirit as the “Helper.” So why would it be so bad if God gave us some help to make it to the end?

    The question isn’t whether the Spirit is essential but whether the Spirit would be helpful. If God himself, through the Spirit, wants to enter our hearts and help us make it, why would that be a bad thing? Even if it’s not necessary. Even if it’s only helpful?

    When I travel, I turn my GPS on. But before the GPS was invented, I traveled without a GPS. I just got lost a lot more. The GPS wasn’t essential. But it’s sure helpful. And I’m glad for it. So why not be glad that God wants to help you obey so that you can live with God forever?

    See how far removed this kind of thinking is from Calvinism and anti-Calvinism?? The NT was not written to teach for Calvinism or against Calvinism. Calvinism was invented in the 16th Century, one thousand five hundred years after Jesus. The Spirit came to be our Helper — just like Jesus said. It’s just not complicated.

    As Thomas Dohling pointed out better than me, Eph 5:18 says for us to be filled with the Spirit. Col 3:16 tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. Why can’t both be true? Who dares tell anyone that he must choose one or the other? By what right? The word helps. The Spirit helps. This not the least contradictory. I need all the help I can get.

    Is the word enough to get us into heaven? It’s an irrelevant question. The proper question is: Did God promise his Spirit to help us get into heaven — and do we believe his promises?

    You impose standards that God and the Bible do not impose. There is simply no requirement that the Spirit be essential for the Spirit to be true — because God isn’t required to do as little as possible to help us. He’s not required to do only what he must — as though God were bound by some Church of Christ rulebook. He makes the rules. He is the rules. And because he loves us so much, we should expect him to do far above and beyond what we need.

    Now, there’s an argument to be made that the Spirit is essential. There are also arguments the other way. I really don’t care either way. I just believe that it’s true, that he’s given to help us, and I’m glad for all the help I can get.

    Those who feel no need for help need to check their pride.

  70. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R (Part 2),

    As is so often the case, the OT sheds light on the NT.

    As we covered in a series of posts last year called “On the Salvation of the Jews,” we concluded that the Jews, just like the Christians, are saved by the terms of God’s covenant with Abraham. They were saved by faith just as we’re saved by faith. (I’m not going to repeat the argument here in the comments.)

    But in the OT, the Spirit was only given to prophets, judges, kings, and a few artisans. Most people did not receive the Spirit. Was the Spirit essential to the Jews’ salvation? Well … what’s the story?

    Ten tribes were taken into Assyrian captivity, disappearing from history. They didn’t do so well without the Spirit. They had the letter, which Paul says kills. And they died.

    The Southern Kingdom, Judah and Benjamin, became so idolatrous that God had Nebuchadnezzar tear Jerusalem down to bedrock, destroying the Temple Solomon built and God dwelled in. God’s own house was destroyed. Countless Jews died horribly. The Jews went into Babylonian captivity, and most never returned.

    Less than 500 years later, the Temple was again destroyed by Rome, this time not to be rebuilt. Shortly afterwards, the Romans banned the Jews from Jerusalem — this was all a result of their lack of faith.

    So how was life for the Jews without the personal indwelling? Some made it to heaven. Most did not. And most of the nation rejected their Messiah and were damned for their error.

    So how has the church done with the Spirit? Well, we’ve made just all kinds of mistakes. It’s not always been pretty. But a community that began with 120 is now 2.4 billion strong — and includes 1/3 of the world’s population. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country

    Not ideal, not at all. But a whole lot better.

    So is the Spirit essential if you already have the word? Well, some Jews made it to heaven with faith and no personal indwelling. But most did not. (I can argue the NT theology either way, and really just don’t care if the Spirit is essential. We have the Spirit and so the question is moot.)

    Is the Spirit’s personal indwelling helpful? Has the Spirit served God well as a Paraclete? God’s faith community, rather than shrinking from an entire nation down to 3120 at Pentecost or 7000 in Elijah’s day, turned into 1/3 of the world — and is the fastest growing religion on the planet today. The evidence is in.

    Yes, we do better when we have both the word and the Spirit. The letter (the word without the Spirit) kills. It’s not either-or. It’s both-and.

  71. Jeff Richardson says:

    Thomas wrote, concerning “Eph 5:18, be ye filled with the Spirit, Col 3:16, let the words of Christ dwell in you, indwelling Spirit and indwelling word, John 14:23. Since these are scriptural truths, why the bitter struggle for or against one or the other, why not accept both by faith.”
    It’s important to understand that these are not two different things under consideration. They are in fact one and the same. John 6:63 Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing, the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Jay said above, “we have the Spirit, so the question is moot.” Yes we have the Spirit, but not like they had in the first century. John 3:2 ” This only I want to learn from you, did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? verse 5, therefore, He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? The Spirit delivered all truth and these truths were confirmed by signs and wonders. Are we now like the Jews, who seek a sign from heaven? Mark 8:11. When we allow the words of Christ to dwell in us richly, we are being influenced and led by the Holy Spirit.

  72. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    Do you consider one’s view on the indwelling to be matter of fellowship? Do you have any fellowship limits on this subject? It seems as if you wouldn’t make this a matter of fellowship, but I don’t know for sure. I don’t want to misrepresent you or your views.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  73. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R wrote,

    It’s important to understand that these are not two different things under consideration. They are in fact one and the same.

    Jeff,

    Why not cite to Ephesians to see what “Spirit” means in that letter in literary context? The fact that you don’t makes your argument obviously suspect. Check out every reference to “Spirit” and to being “filled” in Ephesians and see whether Paul means by “Spirit” the “word of Christ.”

    Then check the lexicons and dictionaries and see if a single one takes “Spirit” to ever mean “word of Christ.”

    Then check the commentaries to see if anyone outside the Churches of Christ in the history of Christianity has ever interpreted “Spirit” in Eph 5:18 to mean “word of Christ.”

    Then check the early church fathers to see if any agree with that reading.

    Interestingly, you’ll find quite a few sources that believe “word of Christ” is an indirect reference to the Holy Spirit. None take “Spirit” to mean the word of Christ.

    I’ll give you this head start. “Fill” in the Greek is found in three other verses in Ephesians —

    (Eph. 1:22-23 ESV) 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

    (Eph. 3:14-19 ESV) 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    (Eph. 4:9-10 ESV) 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    Notice that in each case, the filling is filling by a member of the Godhead — a divine being. That rather strongly suggests that the fourth time Paul speaks of a “filling” in Eph 5:18, after each of the three preceding uses, he has in mind a filling by a divine being. The fact that he uses the name of a divine being — “the Spirit” — is also somewhat suggestive that he has a divine being in mind.

    So how does Paul use “Spirit” in Ephesians? Let’s see.

    (Eph. 1:13 ESV) In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
    17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

    (Eph. 2:2 ESV) in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–

    (Eph. 2:18 ESV) For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

    (Eph. 2:22 ESV) In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    (Eph. 3:5 ESV) which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

    (Eph. 3:16 ESV) that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

    (Eph. 4:3 ESV) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    (Eph. 4:4 ESV) There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–

    (Eph. 4:23 ESV) and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

    (Eph. 4:30 ESV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

    (Eph. 5:18 ESV) And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

    (Eph. 6:17 ESV) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

    (Eph. 6:18 ESV) praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

    All but two references are plainly to the Holy Spirit. In Eph 2:2 the reference is to the “spirit of the air” meaning Satan, and the context is quite clear that Paul is contrasting Satan with the Holy Spirit.

    Eph 4:23 is less clear.

    In a contrasting positive statement, Paul reminds the Ephesians that instead of being subject to progressive deterioration, they were to be perpetually renovated in mind and spirit (literally, “in the spirit of your minds”). “To be made new” (ananeousthei) possibly involves an element of restoration, since the image of God, impaired by the fall, is fully reinstated in the new creation. As over against the futile thinking of the unregenerate Gentiles (v. 17), the Christian converts are to undergo a radical reorientation of their mental outlook—so NIV, “to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” This can only take place under the influence of the Holy Spirit, acting on the human spirit (pneuma) as it affects the realm of thought.

    A. Skevington Wood, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon, 1981, 11, 62–63.

    Pardon the pun, but whether pneuma here is “spirit” or “Spirit,” the “Spirit” is in mind.

    Thus, in Ephesians, Paul always or almost always uses pneuma to refer to the Holy Spirit. Context!

    One last freebie —

    (Eph. 6:16-18 ESV) 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

    “Spirit” is found twice in this passage, both times plainly referring to the Holy Spirit. Moreover, Paul also mentions the “word of God” in v. 17, which is the “sword of the Spirit.” It’s not the Spirit. It’s a weapon wielded by the Spirit against Satan. The active agent is the divine being, the Holy Spirit, who uses the sword to defeat Satan.

    Hence, there is very good reason to reject the theory that we edit Eph 5:18 to make “Spirit” mean “word of Christ.”

    And if you check the other sources mentioned, you’ll find the case only gets stronger. I mean, the whole argument is along the lines of —

    George Washington was president.

    Richard Nixon was president.

    Therefore, George Washington is Richard Nixon.

    Absurd, of course, and just because both the filling of the Spirit and the word of Christ can lead to singing, well, that hardly makes “Spirit” means “word.”

  74. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin asked, For those who believe that the Spirit indwells them in a non-miraculous way, what ever that means, to me He can’t be physically and personally in you and not be miraculous. But for those folks I can fellowship with them. It’s the one’s that believe that this indwelling is personal and DIRECT, meaning that the Spirit directly influences them apart from God’s word that I have a problem with. They in affect are denying that the word of God is all sufficient. The bible teaches us that it is. Why do people like this idea of a direct operation of the Spirit for mankind today? They like it because it gives them more freedom. they can justify what they believe and what they do, because they can say the Spirit led them in that direction. Didn’t a congregation in Texas do this not long ago concerning their use of instruments of music? They said that’s what happened. They justified their action, based on supposed voices in their heads and called it “being led by the Holy Spirit.” They don’t like it when you point out that the word of God is, especially the New Testament, a pattern, a covenant which contains terms and conditions that must be obeyed. God has given us one standard to follow, and that is the last will and testament of His dear Son, Jesus Christ. God Himself said, ‘this is my Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.” Heb 1:1 and following, tells us how God communicates with us, He does so through His Son. Jesus has spoken, we have it in written form. Why did Jesus promise to send them a helper? To remind them of the things that He had said, and to guide them into all truth. The word of God was left in man’s hands. It is now up to man to spread the good news, “without a preacher how will they hear? John 12:48 says it’s the Word of God that will judge us all in the end, beware, it judges us now brethren.

    To Jay’s point. I firmly believe that in most cases where we read about the Spirit indwelling and the Spirit strengthening our inner man, the word “Spirit” can be changed to the word “truth” for a better understanding of the context. Why? because the Spirit was given the task of delivering ALL TRUTH. Delivering and confirming all truth by signs and wonders. What strengthens our inner man? A “Spirit” that is physically in us that doesn’t speak to us or is it the Holy Spirit through the agency of the spoken or for us the written word? When we dwell upon what God has revealed to us, via the written word, it will indeed strengthen us. If “truth” indwells us, have we not put on the whole armor of God? By the way, as an Elder in the Lord’s church, I have never been led by the Spirit to consider instruments, why is that? If having instruments is the correct thing to do, why haven’t I been instructed correctly by the Spirit? Any time a question comes up, I’m always “led” somehow to God’s word, why is that?

  75. Mark says:

    In re “It’s the one’s that believe that this indwelling is personal and DIRECT, meaning that the Spirit directly influences them apart from God’s word that I have a problem with. They in affect are denying that the word of God is all sufficient. The bible teaches us that it is.”

    The Bible says little about futile medical treatment, human cloning, bioethics, and how to talk someone out of committing suicide. All but suicide were unimaginable even in 1900, much less AD 30. Some of us need help with issues that the Bible does not directly discuss. I don’t believe that is declaring the Bible insufficient but definitely requiring some big time application, quick thinking, and major league help with the right words to use.

    Jeff R, if someone asks you a hard question to which the Bible says (almost) nothing, who/what do you credit for your answer?

  76. Jeff Richardson says:

    Giving God the glory and saying you got the answer directly from God are two different things. To answer your question, depends on the question. If it’s a matter of faith and practice, there is only one place to go. Futile medical treatment, in who’s eyes is it futile? People seek cancer treatments that are futile, treatments put off death in many cases only for a short time, in some cases cancer is put into remission and they survive for years. It’s not up to us as to when our lives are to end. The bible teaches us that life is precious and that it needs to be protected. This should answer the suicide question as well. Thou shalt not murder, if you kill yourself, have you not committed murder? Was Judas praised for killing himself? Human life has value, we are here for a reason, to love one another, to fear God and keep His commandments. Cloning, I don’t know a lot about it, but what I do know sounds dangerous, in a soul losing way, create a life with a soul, to harvest so another can live? That answers that question for me. Even with abortion, we are taught by human wisdom, that a woman has the right to decide for herself if she will procreate or not. But what about the life that she takes? That baby has a soul given to it by God. What right does man have to destroy it? Bioethics, ethics in general, whatever we do in this life why shouldn’t we look to God’s word for the answer. So I guess everything we do is a matter of faith and practice. I believe that the bible has all the answers to life’s important questions. Man’s not as wise as he thinks, God knew and knows what man would be up to in the 21st century, therefore He gave us what we need to be found holy and righteous in His sight. 2 Peter 1:3 ” According to His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” You say that at times you require big time application, quick thinking ability and major league help. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, but rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15. Some versions say “study” to show thyself approved, in other words, be diligent in your study of God’s word and these abilities will be yours. And by the way, if you do, you are being led by the Holy Spirit.

  77. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    You wrote:
    It’s the one’s that believe that this indwelling is personal and DIRECT, meaning that the Spirit directly influences them apart from God’s word that I have a problem with. They in affect are denying that the word of God is all sufficient.

    I am very sympathetic to your position regarding the Spirit and the Word until you get to this point. Where do you derive your authority to break fellowship with other Christians over this difference? I don’t think the scriptures grant you the authority to sever fellowship here. Can you tell me what error breaks fellowship and what error does not break fellowship?

    Where does the Bible state that the word of God is all sufficient? All sufficient for what?

    The Bible is clearly sufficient for some things, but it is most certainly not ALL sufficient. Why do we congregate? Well, for several reasons, some of which are focused on God and some of which are focused on man. We derive benefits from gathering together, worshipping together, and fellowshipping one another that the Word simply cannot provide on its own. Definitely NOT all sufficient.

    What about the Lord’s Supper? The Word of God is not all sufficient so as to supplant the Lord’s Supper.

    Why do we pray? We know that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Why can’t we just read the Bible and skip the prayer? Because there are things that benefit us as Christians other than the word of God.

    The Spirit helps us in our weakness…the Spirit intercedes for us. If the word of God is ALL sufficient, why would the Spirit need to do these things?

    The word of God is a wonderful thing and we derive immeasurable benefits from it. It is sufficient for some things. But let’s not make claims for it that it doesn’t make itself, namely that it is “ALL sufficient.” There are a great many things that the word of God simply cannot do for us.

    Why do people like this idea of a direct operation of the Spirit for mankind today? They like it because it gives them more freedom. they can justify what they believe and what they do, because they can say the Spirit led them in that direction.

    Or could it be that these people read the same Bible and arrived at different conclusions about the meaning of the text?

  78. As I have shared before, the Book points us to its Author. The Book is not greater than its Author. I believe in the Author of the Bible. So, I endeavor to know Him and His infinite Being. I bow in awe of Him. By His Spirit, He is everywhere and fills all things (Ephesians 1:23; 4:10). It would be futile to limit Him to the Book! The Bible should direct us and the message contained therein should create a deep desire in our innermost being to yearn for Him Who is our Life.

    We shall be judged by the Word (John 12:47,48). Obeying His teachings gives us abundant life; disobedience leads to death (lifelessness). We are spiritual beings in physical bodies. We need to align ourselves with the Infinite Eternal Spirit and walk with Him. We were created in His image to reflect His glory.

    Here is something the Bible teaches: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). We have been discussing the Spirit living in us. And here “we live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit!” Was this “living and walking in the Spirit” limited to the days of the Apostles? Shouldn’t we “live and walk in the Spirit”? OR is it irrelevant today?

    I am reminded of what Jesus said to His immediate disciples: “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20), and “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23). Was this assurance limited to these disciples only? If so, then what assurance do we have?

    “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Obviously Jesus does not live in us physically, but by His Spirit (spiritually). Was this meant only for His immediate disciples or for all disciples?

    Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). What did He mean? I am oversimplifying here. God (the Eternal Spirit) gives life. We have life from God. The flesh by itself is nothing. Jesus’ teachings are truth/reality and give us true life.

    Remember, what Jesus said to them? “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). When I read the Bible, I can distinctly hear God, my Maker, calling me to Himself! He knows our needs and wants to satisfy us. He wants to live with us and us with Him.

    On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. — John 7:37-39.

    What has our God communicated through the written text? Many things! To me, His invitation, “Come to Me” stands out. He knows what we truly need. “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones” (Ephesians 5:30) [I am stretching it a bit but we will never be satisfied until we are in Him and He in us.]

    “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17). Our spirits are joined to His Spirit. Who can separate what God has joined? “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). I know that many brethren will qualify this statement with “through the word!” However, it is not something I have stated! There are brethren who fear the God’s “miraculous” activity and deny His operation! However, what we deem miraculous is very ordinary for God. Why don’t we look at life from God’s perspective?

    Is anything too hard for the Lord? (See Genesis 18:14).

    “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).

    So, our God has spoken (recorded in the Book, a tool He has used). Do we take Him at His word? Do we desires to know Him beyond the book? He is WHO HE IS!! May we be humbled by our realization (comprehension, however feeble) of HIM.

    God’s promise: “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27).

    God’s promise of a new covenant: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 31:33).

    “clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3).

    But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? (2 Corinthians 3:7,8). [I would like the readers to expound on this.]

    —————–
    Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

  79. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, You stated, “let’s not make claims that it (the Bible) doesn’t make for itself ….the bible is not all sufficient.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17 ” All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be COMPLETE, THROUGHLY equipped for EVERY good work.” The Bible claims to be all sufficient, therefore I believe it. You give examples of gathering together, worshipping together, the Lord’s supper and praying. Let me ask you, how do you know to do these things? How do you know they are important in the life of a Christian? Did this supposed personal indwelling of the Spirit tell you? Or did you learn these things from reading Gods word? I think we both know the answer. How do you present yourself approved, to God? 2 Tim 2:15 instructs us to study, to study God’s word, rightly dividing the word of truth. In chapter one of 2 Timothy in verse 13, Paul instructs Timothy to hold fast to the pattern of sound words, that you have heard from me.” in chapter 3 verse 10 of the same book Paul said to Timothy, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love and perseverance.” He wasn’t following some supposed indwelling of Deity, he was following what Paul had taught him. You quote Gal 5:25, “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” I would assume that you believe this to be some mystical happening, the Spirit of God working directly on you, causing you to do what you do. Why then did young Timothy have to be taught? Why was Paul writing to all these young congregations, giving them encouragement, instruction and correction? Was this supposed personal indwelling Spirit not doing His job? Paul was teaching them the will of God. How then do we live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit? When we allow the words of Christ to dwell in us richly, when we accept them for what they are TRUTH, and live our lives accordingly, we live in the Spirit (figure of speech) and we walk in the Spirit (figure of speech). My earthly father lives in me. He has been dead for 26 years, but he lives in me. What do I mean, who he was, what he taught me, the example that he was, the love that he had, I hold him dear in my heart, he lives there, not physically, personally and directly. We as Christians do what we do, believe what we do based upon God’s word or else we wouldn’t know anything about God and His desire for us. You asked “what is the ministry of the Spirit”. His ministry was to guide the Apostles in ALL truth. He continues to guide all men in TRUTH, He is the Spirit of truth. The only question is how does He do that? He does it through the agency of the INSPIRED word of God. Heb 1:1f “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…..”. We have the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, we need nothing more. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God….” 1 Peter 4:11. ‘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 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.” 1 John 2:5, ” But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him, by this we know that we are in Him.” 3 John 1:3,4 ” For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” They where living in the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, they walk in TRUTH. Spirit =truth, they go together and can not be separated. There is only one way to have the Spirit and that is to have truth, To have God’s truth rule and reign in our lives. And we get that through the inspired word of God.

  80. Andrew says:

    Jeff,

    In 2 Tim. 3:16-17, what scripture was Paul referring to? What we call our Old Testament? New Testament? What do you think?

  81. Jeff Richardson says:

    I really believe it’s a mix of the two, he speaks of Timothy’s knowledge of scripture when he was a child, clearly the old, but he also commends him for carefully following his doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith etc. Paul was teaching the New. He mentions in 7-8 those who resist the truth, the truth of the New Covenant. It was the New Testament that was being revealed and taught by these inspired men of God. No it wasn’t written yet, but it was being taught and it was indeed the word of God. And we also know that the Old Law, didn’t make men complete. They couldn’t be sanctified, set apart, redeemed, bought back. The only thing that could was the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, the New. , thoroughly equipping us for every good work, which includes spreading the good news. So my answer is both.

  82. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff,

    First, amen to Kevin’s comment re the all-sufficiency of scripture. The scripture makes no such claim for itself.

    (2 Tim. 3:16 ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

    Paul says that Scripture is “profitable.” I can find nothing claim the all-sufficiency of scripture.

    In the Reformation, a slogan was adopted: sola scriptura. The scriptures only. And sometimes this was expressed as the “sufficiency” of scriptures — but what was meant was that the scriptures we have (the canon) are sufficient scriptures for the church. We don’t need to add the early church fathers, the apocrypha, or church councils to the scriptures to have what we need as scriptures.

    The great Reformers intensely believed in a personal indwelling Spirit. They never argued that the scriptures replaced the need for the Spirit, no more than they thought the scriptures replaced the need for sermons, Bible class lessons, or countless other things.

    The flaw in your logic is the false assumption that the only role a personal indwelling can take is to create new scripture — which is a strawman assumption. While the Spirit certainly inspired the scriptures, this is not the only work the Spirit did or does.

    Just consider —

    (Rom. 12:6-8 ESV) 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

    This is a list of gifts of the Spirit. And there’s not a word about “composing scripture” — even though this was written at the time scriptures were being composed. But what church doesn’t need the gift of service, of teaching, of exhortation, of contribution, of leadership, and mercy? These are gifts, not accomplishments. While the scriptures unquestionably work in conjunction with the Spirit’s work (being the sword of the Spirit), there is more to becoming a leader in God’s church than reading the Bible (but reading the Bible is really important for leaders — but not all experts in the scriptures are leaders).

    The words of the prophets can be scriptures, but we know from our Bibles that the OT and NT prophets said and did many things by the power of the Spirit that were never written down. The Spirit’s work includes but is FAR bigger than composing scriptures.

  83. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thomas D wrote,

    There are brethren who fear the God’s “miraculous” activity and deny His operation! However, what we deem miraculous is very ordinary for God. Why don’t we look at life from God’s perspective?

    Amen, amen, and amen!!

  84. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R,

    More people will read your comment if you break it into much shorter paragraphs. The human eye has its limits.

  85. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    2 Timothy 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be COMPLETE, THROUGHLY equipped for EVERY good work.” The Bible claims to be all sufficient, therefore I believe it.

    This passage doesn’t mean what you imply. Paul, inspired by the HS, stated that scripture is profitable for several things. He doesn’t claim that it’s sufficient. Jeff, just think about the word “all.” It’s just not logical. Yes, scripture teaches us doctrine and instruction in righteous, which can lead to our being complete and equipped for every good work. But here is the point…scripture doesn’t make us complete. It doesn’t do works for us. It teaches us about prayer, but it doesn’t provide the benefits of prayer. It teaches us about sanctification, but it doesn’t provide sanctification. It teaches us about Christian fellowship, but it doesn’t provide Christian fellowship. The instructions to my entertainment system teaches me how to setup my DVR and remote, but it doesn’t record The Walking Dead for my viewing pleasure all by itself. There is no logical way that scripture can be ALL sufficient.

    Or did you learn these things from reading Gods word?
    No argument from me. I read it. But that is quite besides the point. You are strictly defining the Spirit as divine revelation. The HS is much, much more.

    BTW, I am not hung up on indwelling either way. Honestly, I am not even that interested. If the HS does indeed indwell and assist the Christian in some way, our denying it doesn’t negate it, does it? If the HS doesn’t indwell, believing that it does not not make it so. I am much more interested in the proclivity of COCs to condemn each other to eternal damnation based on what one correctly knows or does not know, i.e. how the Spirit indwells the Christian and whether the Spirit assists the Christian independently from the Word.

  86. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 but what does it say? the word of God will make a man COMPLETE, THROUGHLY EQUIPPED for EVERY good work. What’s missing? What does EVERY good work exclude? Col. 1:27-28 ” To them God willed to make known what are the riches of His glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we PREACH, warning every man and TEACHING every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man PERFECT in Christ Jesus.” What was being preached? How will they hear without a preacher? Paul said in 1 Thess 2:13 ” because when you received the WORD of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:6, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the WORDS of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” Hebrews 4:12 ” For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word of God pricks and convicts and it will save our soul IF we believe and heed it’s message.
    “Therefore, I remind you so stir up the GIFT of God which is in you through the LAYING on of my hands, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7. Hebrews 2:3-4 ” how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles and GIFTS of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” Gifts were given to the infant church so that it could function. They were given by Apostles laying hands upon someone. Therefore, since no Apostle is alive today, no one today has these gifts. And yes, every ability that we have is from God, but remember, ALL people have talents and abilities, the question is, how will we use them?
    I don’t condemn anyone for believing that they are indwelt. My sister does, but that doesn’t stop me from teaching the truth, because I believe that you will have a better understanding of how God worked then and how He works now.
    To my original question. Every scripture we have concerning anyone receiving the Holy Spirit, Acts 8,10,19, the miraculous is under consideration. Acts 2, the miraculous is also under consideration. The claim is, that Acts 2:38 is the exception, that it’s non-miraculous. All I ask is prove it. Me, thinking logically, must conclude, with the lack of any scripture stating or showing anyone receiving a non-miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit, I by sound reasoning must believe that Acts 2:38 is the miraculous. And that it is not instant and for every baptized person. Context must rule the day. Therefore, when I read about the Spirit elsewhere, I need to understand what was going on then and how He the Spirit did His work of delivering ALL truth to mankind. I also need to understand how I today, can find this TRUTH which was once and for all delivered.
    The bible teaches us what works we need to do and how to do them, how to live our lives and worship. Kevin stated that it does teach us how to pray, but it provides us with no benefit, really? We don’t see the benefit of prayer in scripture? We wouldn’t know to pray or to whom without it. I would add that we don’t need a personal indwelling for our prayers to be heard. How God’s providence works, I don’t know, but by faith I believe He does, and He doesn’t need to be in me physically to do it. I’ve been accused of diminishing the Spirits power. But I’m not the one who is trying to contain Him. One parting shot, if faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, Rom 10:17, if I can’t hear it or see it in God’s word, then I can’t have biblical faith in it. How all sufficient is God’s word?

  87. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    Kevin, In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 but what does it say? the word of God will make a man COMPLETE, THROUGHLY EQUIPPED for EVERY good work. What’s missing? What does EVERY good work exclude?
    We are not communicating. I understand your point, but I don’t think you understand mine very well. You are hyper-focused on knowledge…the scripture contains information that is profitable for doctrine & instruction, leading to completeness and good works. I got it. This does not describe what it means to be “all sufficient.” The passage simply states that scripture contains all the information required for a person to be saved, be a good Christian, and to go to heaven. Thus, at most, you can argue that scripture contains sufficient information for us to go to heaven. Sufficient information does not equal “all sufficiency.” Two totally different concepts.

    Further, you are going beyond what Paul both states and implies when you say “that the word of God will make a man COMPLETE, THROUGHLY EQUIPPED for EVERY good work.” That’s not what Paul states. On the contrary he writes, “That the man of God may be perfect…”

    “May” is from the Greek word “ō” and means “may, might, can, could, would, should.” It doesn’t mean “will make.” In fact, show me the person who actually IS complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work. Can anyone actually attain this standard. I think not. And Paul doesn’t intend for the passage to be understood this way.

    Paul is actually teaching that scripture contains the instructions for a person to learn, apply, and follow. Scripture does not lack any required instruction that may be necessary for the salvation of our souls and for the performance of good works. That’s all it says. Paul doesn’t claim that scripture is “all-sufficient.” In fact, the words “all-sufficient” aren’t even in the Bible, much less this passage.

    We are simply not speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent when we say that scripture is “all-sufficient.” It’s not. It can’t pray for us. It can’t obey for us. It can’t replace fellowship. It can’t sing for us. It can’t provide all the benefits that we derive from Christianity that are separate from the Bible. Reading about close, intimate, God-centered friendship in the Bible doesn’t replace an actual close, intimate, God-centered friendship, which is what “all-sufficiency” would require. The Bible is sufficient for the purpose that God intended, no more and no less.

    Kevin stated that it does teach us how to pray, but it provides us with no benefit, really?
    Kevin didn’t say that.

    Kevin actually said:
    It teaches us about prayer, but it doesn’t provide the benefits of prayer.
    Which is undeniably true. James affirms that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. He doesn’t state that reading about prayer in the Bible and then neglecting to pray availeth much.
    Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Paul doesn’t tell us to read about pray in the Bible without ceasing but don’t worry about actually doing it. Reading about prayer can NEVER replace the spiritual benefits of actual prayer. When it does, maybe then we can have a discussion about “all-sufficiency.”

  88. Jeff Richardson says:

    The Bible is all sufficient in that it gives us the instructions that we need. In it we come to know God, by what He has revealed to us. We learn what He wants from us. I didn’t say all we need to do is just read it. We must come to the knowledge of God and DO His will, not hearers only. God desires all men to come to the knowledge of God and be saved. Prayers of a righteous man avails much. But from the Bible we learn how to pray, when to pray and to whom we pray. We learn who to fellowship and who not too fellowship. It has all the answers. The man of God may be complete if he abides in the word of God. Romans 1:17, the just shall live by faith. How do we get faith? “faith comes by hearing, hearing by the WORD of God.” Rom 10:17. By the way, I didn’t state anything, I quoted what Paul said in 2 Tim 3:16-17. it seems that you are arguing with Paul not me. Look at the Bible this way, God has chosen to communicate to us through this vehicle, the Bible. He has always communicated to man through words. But God has spoken, the question becomes, what are we, you and I going to do with this information from God? believe and obey or reject it? I understand that there are things we must do, to be complete, holy and righteous in His sight. To sing and pray etc., but those things are our part in this, the Bible is God’s part. The Bible is all sufficient in the since that we need no other standard, creed book to guide our lives. If we follow and abide in it we will be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work. It will equip us if we allow it to, if we are willing to submit to it. I will never be perfect in the since of perfect. But I can be equipped for every good work that God has for me to do. I can be complete in the since that I have a knowledge of God and understand His will for me, based upon the word of God. What else is there? You mention a close intimate, God centered relationship. In all relationships you need to know one another, God is God, He knows everything about you already. God has given you what He wants you to know about Him. It’s contained in the Bible. Those who are IN Christ, have the right to approach His throne and ask for anything. Sounds rather close and intimate to me. Unless you want Him to speak directly to you, and that’s not going to happen.

  89. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    If we define “all-sufficient” as “instructions that we need” to get get saved and stay saved, then we can likely agree.

    “By the way, I didn’t state anything, I quoted what Paul said in 2 Tim 3:16-17. it seems that you are arguing with Paul not me.”
    I don’t completely follow what you are getting at.

    In 2 Tim 3:16-17, Paul states:
    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001. Print.

    You stated:
    “Kevin, In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 but what does it say? the word of God will make a man COMPLETE, THROUGHLY EQUIPPED for EVERY good work.”
    I was just emphasizing that “will make” in the above sentence isn’t what Paul said. Paul said “may” rather than “will.”

    “The Bible is all sufficient in the since that we need no other standard, creed book to guide our lives.”
    I completely agree. Here, we have placed a necessary caveat on what all-sufficient means. It’s “all-sufficient” in a limited sense, i.e. no other standard or creed or book required to help us get to heaven.

  90. Jeff Richardson says:

    Exactly, And we don’t need a supposed personal indwelling to do the same thing.

  91. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I wouldn’t go that far. Admittedly, I don’t fully know or understand what the Spirit does for us or how He does it I don’t think anyone does, which is probably a safe and true statement.

    Nevertheless, the HS is vastly different than scripture. It seems as if you are conflating the two in the your last sentence. Just because scripture contains all the information necessary for one to be saved and to stay saved does not mean that the HS remains on the sideline with regard to other matters. For example, we know that the Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us. I don’t think anyone knows all the manifestations of what that means.

  92. Jeff Richardson says:

    Agree, my point would be, he doesn’t need to be in my body to do that.

  93. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    But that may be how He chooses to do it.

  94. David says:

    If there has been no personal indwelling of the Spirit directing and guiding Christians since the death of the apostles then, the New Testament is highly suspect. Early churchmen collected, sifted, and sorted through hundreds of writings for three hundred years or so to finally settle on the canon of Scriptures we have today. Some of the writing of the NT were never doubted, but some were. There is no good reason to accept the complete NT we have today as the word of God except by faith in the Holy Spirit’s guidance of men of the church. Deny the personal indwelling of the Spirit in Christians, you undercut faith in the Bible as God’s word.

  95. Those who say that the Bible is all sufficient make a claim for the Bible which neither the Bible nor any of its writers ever make for it.

    This is, by definition, an extrabiblical claim. If this claim is needed, then the Bible falls short of “all-sufficiency”.

    Funny old thing, logic.

  96. Larry Cheek says:

    Jeff,
    I am really having a tough time trying to understand how you cannot see what seems to be so evident in these verses.
    Is Paul telling us something which you can not believe?
    Rom 8:4-11 ESV in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (5) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (6) For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (7) For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. (8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (10) But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

    (1Co 3:16 ESV) Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

    2Ti 1:13-14 ESV Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (14) , guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
    In verse 13 we can see a description of the scriptures, the Words which became what we know as the NT, but he is not identifying that the words are only what we follow. He says, “pattern of the sound words”. This means that the words form a pattern, but they are not the pattern.

    Eph 1:13-17 ESV In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, (14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (15) For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, (16) I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, (17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
    Is this Spirit of wisdom only acquired through the reading of the Word?

    Eph 3:16-19 ESV that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
    Has The Word been able to guide you to this level, to know, “what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”. I see that the Word is knowledge, but here Paul says the Spirit in your inner being can help you surpass knowledge. I know that it also appears that the love of Christ is what surpasses knowledge, but do you understand the breadth and length and height and depth from the Word only?

  97. Monty says:

    Jeff,

    in the OT God endowed artisans with his Spirit for the building of the Tabernacle. He instructed them by his word how to do it. By your reasoning that should have been sufficient. But God didn’t stop with written instructions he placed HIs Spirit in those men to accomplish his purposes. Same as today. Exodus 35:30-34 “Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and withal kinds of skills-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze…..he has filled them with skill.”

    Sure was a lot of “filling” by God to accomplish the work. For most of Church history the common man never had a copy of scripture to study, read, and memorize. Most take for granted that God’s word was always available for men, but that wasn’t the case, but thank God he filled men with HIs Spirit of grace and truth. The word of God is of course what we should live by but the Spirit is our helper that does so much to help us utilize God’s word. Jesus quoted scripture when battling Satan’s temptations in the desert, but what preceded that was he was “full” of the Holy Spirit. Not the word “only”, but the Spirit. It was the Spirit giving him the power to exercise that which he knew.

  98. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    David wrote,

    If there has been no personal indwelling of the Spirit directing and guiding Christians since the death of the apostles then, the New Testament is highly suspect.

    Very true.

    You reminded me that in high school we had a Bible class at church on the canon. We were taught that “inspiration” worked at multiple levels —

    * The writing of the text.
    * The preservation of a reliable text for thousands of years.
    * The selection of the correct books to be considered inspired.
    * The reading of the text.

    And it occurred to me that only the first bullet happened in the First Century. Therefore, the Spirit has been active after the first generation. Therefore, it’s just a question of discovering what activity the Spirit has been engaged in — but not whether the Spirit has been active.

    You can argue over the details, but if you push back to the point of saying no activity of the Spirit after the writing of the text, then you are exactly right. Why should we have any confidence in the preservation of the correct text? The canon? Our ability to read and interpret?

  99. Jeff Richardson says:

    David and Larry C. When we read our New Testaments, we need to put on our first century glasses. During this time the Holy Spirit was indeed dwelling with them, 1.By guiding the Apostles into all truth and 2, by “gifts” to others so the infant church could function. And all that was being done was confirmed by signs and wonders. There was a need for this to happen, then. The New Covenant was beginning to be revealed. We have it confirmed and delivered once and for all, why then, would this need to continue? The Holy Spirit continues to work, by the agency of the written word. The Holy Spirit indwells us today through the same agency. Hebrews 1:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Our faith has evidence, therefore, “faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17. Our faith is not blind, it has substance, we have been given evidence to be seen and believed. And that comes from God’s word. We don’t need anything else.

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