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Lesson 6: The Word-Filled Life

Written by: Biblical Studies Foundation    Posted on: 04/09/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                            Lesson 6:                                       The Word-Filled Life

                                   Developing the Mind of Christ

                                           Introduction

       The Bible is the ChristianÆs resource book, his manual for living, the light to his path, and the index for faith and        practice. The Bible is GodÆs WordùHis special revelation by which man is to cleanse and direct his way. As        GodÆs revelation to man, it teaches man things he absolutely cannot learn about life and death apart from this        very special revelation as Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.

                 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 but just as it is written, ôThings which eye has not seen and ear                  has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has                  prepared for those who love Him.ö 10 For to us God revealed them through the                  Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

                 Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according                  to Thy word. 10 With all my heart I have sought Thee; Do not let me wander from                  Thy commandments. 11 Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin                  against Thee.

       This revelation includes things such as the truth about God as a triunity or trinity (His essence, character,        purposes, and plan); things about man (his origin, make up, fall, sin, and need); about the physical world and        its true origin as the creation of the Creator and its future redemption; about Satan and the forces of evil in the        world; about GodÆs plan of salvation for man through faith in the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ        (salvation from sinÆs penalty, power, and one day from its presence); the person and ministry of the Holy        Spirit; and about things to come. Because of manÆs finite limitations, his natural spiritual blindness, and his        spiritual condition in sin, the Bible is (as the late Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote) a book that man could not        write if he would and would not write if he could.

       Because of what it is and does, the Bible is the most important book of the ChristianÆs life. Note the following        sampling of verses:

                 Matthew 5:18-19 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the                  smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. 19                  Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches                  others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and                  teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

                 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for                  reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be                  adequate, equipped for every good work.

                 2 Peter 1:18-21 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we                  were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 And so we have the prophetic word made                  more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark                  place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know                  this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of oneÆs own interpretation,                  21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the                  Holy Spirit spoke from God.

       Christians not only need to know their Bibles, but they need to know about their Bible. It is important to be        carefully informed as to its value that they may be more motivated to use it and use it properly in view of its        character, purpose, and origin. Because spiritual understanding, faith, practice, and obedience to God is        dependent on the Bible, the doctrine of the Bible (bibliology) is one of the most important doctrines of        Scripture that a person can know.

       David wrote, ôI will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy        truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy nameö (Ps. 138:2, KJV) (emphasis mine). The        NASB renders the second portion of this verse ôFor Thou hast magnified Thy Word according to all Thy        Name.ö The NIV has ôfor you have exalted above all things your name and your word.ö

       ôAccordingö or ôaboveö (KJV) represents in the Hebrew text, the hiphil stem of the verb gadal plus the        preposition al. This would normally mean ôaboveö as translated by the KJV, but all these are possible        translations. Regardless of which translation one accepts, the text is declaring the importance of GodÆs Word        to both the knowledge and worship of God. Knowing God, which the mention of GodÆs name includes, is        dependent on knowing GodÆs Word. As it is sometimes said, ôa manÆs name is as good as his word,ö so        GodÆs name and knowing God is dependent on the truth, faithfulness, and accuracy of His Word and oneÆs        knowledge of the Scripture. With this in mind, letÆs consider what the Bible is.

                               The Attributes of the Bible (Psa. 19:7-14)

                 Psalm 19:7-14 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of                  the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right,                  rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9                  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are                  true; they are righteous altogether. 10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than                  much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11                  Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.                  12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 13 Also keep back Thy                  servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I shall be                  blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my                  mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my                  rock and my Redeemer.

       It Is God-Breathed:        Inspired Revelation From God

       The following data presents the testimony of the Bible concerning itself as the inspired revelation of God. This        is testimony which needs to be heard, but should one not want to listen to this testimonyùand many do        notùthey not only ignore the testimony of the Bible, the witness of the defendant to itself, but they also ignore        a large amount of other evidence which has tremendous weight and substantiates this testimony of the Bible.

       This evidence includes the inexhaustible depth of the Bible; its marvelous continuity from Genesis through        Revelation; its world-wide circulation, the purity and ethics of the Bible; its unrelenting faithfulness to present        truth and its refusal to hide the sin of its heroes; its relevance in all generations; the testimony of archeology; the        fulfillment of prophecy; its prevailing power to change not only individuals, but whole societies; and its        preservation and survival in the face of one attack after another to either destroy or discredit it.

       This is particularly significant when we compare the BibleÆs preservation with all the other writings of        antiquity.67

       The greatest testimony to the authenticity of the Bible as GodÆs Word is the Lord Jesus. Why is His testimony        so important? Because God authenticated and proved Him to be His own divine Son by the resurrection (cf.        Acts 2:22-36; 4:8-12; 17:30-31; Rom. 1:4). Christ clearly confirmed the authority of the Old Testament and        promised the New Testament.

       Note what Christ taught about the Old Testament:

            Its Authority (Matt. 22:43)             Its Reliability (Matt. 26:54)             Its Finality (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10)             Its Sufficiency (Luke 16:31)             Its Indestructibility (Matt. 5:17-18)             Its Unity (Luke 24:27, 44)             Its Clarity (Luke 24:27)             Its Historicity (Matt. 12:40)             Its Facticity (scientifically) (Matt. 19:2-5)             Its Inerrancy (Matt. 22:29; John 3:12; 17:17)             Its Infallibility (John 10:35)68

       With this in mind, letÆs look at the testimony of the defendant itself. In any just court of law, the defendant has        the right to be represented and heard.

            The Fact of Inspiration

                 2 Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,                  for correction, for training in righteousness; à

       All Scripture is inspired, literally, ôbreathed out (qeopneustos) of God.ö We could translate it, ôall Scripture is        God-breathed.ö This points to the means and source of inspiration. Our English word ôinspireö carries the idea        of breathing into something. The Greek word, however, teaches us God breathed out the Scripture. Though        God used human authors to record His message, the Bible has its source in God who breathed it out through        the human authors. He used their vocabularies, experiences, and personalities, but He was the ultimate source        and they were but the human instruments. More will be said on this below when we consider ôthe how of        inspiration.ö

            The Extent and Nature of Inspiration

       All Scripture, the entire Bible, Genesis through Revelation, is inspired and profitable. This points to the extent        of inspiration. It is all inspired. Theologians often refer to this as plenary inspiration.

                 Psalm 119:140 Thy word is very pure, Therefore Thy servant loves it.

                 Psalm 19:7-9 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of                  the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right,                  rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9                  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are                  true; they are righteous altogether.

       The result is that the whole Bible is ôtrue, tried, perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, more desirable than gold, and        sweeter than honey.ö Such descriptions point to the verbal, plenary, unlimited inerrancy and infallible nature of        the Bible (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9-13). Note the following verses where the argument hinges on one word (Gal. 3:16,        ôseedö; Matt. 22:31-32, ôamö).

                 Matthew 5:17-18 Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I                  did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and                  earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until                  all is accomplished.

                 John 10:35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came and the                  Scripture cannot be broken,

                 Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He                  does not say, ôAnd to seeds,ö as referring to many, but rather to one, ôAnd to your                  seed,ö that is, Christ.

                 Matthew 22:31-32 But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read                  that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 æI am the God of Abraham, and                  the God of Isaac, and the God of JacobÆ? He is not the God of the dead but of the                  living.

       Regarding the true nature of inspiration and the attack that has gone on for years over the truth of inspiration,        Ryrie writes:

                 While many theological viewpoints would be willing to say the Bible is inspired, one                  finds little uniformity to what is meant by inspiration. Some focus it on the writers;                  others, on the writings; still others, on the readers. Some relate it to the general                  message of the Bible; others, to the thoughts; still others, to the words. Some                  include inerrancy; many donÆt. These differences call for precision in stating the                  biblical doctrine. Formerly all that was necessary to affirm oneÆs belief in full                  inspiration was the statement, ôI believe in the inspiration of the Bible.ö But when                  some did not extend inspiration to the words of the text it became necessary to say,                  ôI believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible.ö To counter the teaching that not all                  parts of the Bible were inspired, one had to say, ôI believe in the verbal, plenary                  inspiration of the Bible.ö Then because some did not want to ascribe total accuracy                  to the Bible, it was necessary to say, ôI believe in the verbal, plenary, infallible,                  inerrant inspiration of the Bible.ö But then ôinfallibleö and ôinerrantö began to be                  limited to matters of faith only rather than also embracing all that the Bible records                  (including historical facts, genealogies, accounts of Creation, etc.), so it became                  necessary to add the concept of ôunlimited inerrancy.ö Each addition to the basic                  statement arose because of an erroneous teaching.69

            The Value of Inspiration

       Since all Scripture is God-breathed, being the product of an all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful and loving        God, the Apostle Paul goes on to state that the entire Bible is profitable for four things:

                 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for                  reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

       (1) TeachingùôTeachingö is the Greek didaskalia and means ôdoctrineö or ôteaching.ö It is used in both the        active sense (i.e., the act of teaching), and in the passive sense (what is taught, doctrine). In the pastoral        epistles, Paul uses it of the act of teaching (1 Tim. 4:13, 17; 2 Tim. 3:10), and of what is taught as in sound        doctrine (cf. 1 Tim. 1:10; 4:6, 16; 6:1, 3; 2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 1:9; 2:1; 2:7, 10). As many of these passages show,        especially Titus 2:1, our teaching must be in accord with sound doctrine. And for doctrine to be sound, it must        be in accord with the inspired Word. Ultimately, teaching or doctrineùthe contentùrefers to GodÆs        fundamental principles for manÆs life, both eternal and abundant, the basics, the fundamentals upon which life is        to be built.

       (2) ReproofùThis is the Greek elegmos which means ôproof, conviction, reproof.ö The mos ending shows        this is a passive noun which looks at the result of the process of the convicting ministry of the Spirit through        the Wordùpersonal conviction through exposure to truth. One might compare elegmos to another Greek        word, elenxis, an active noun which looks at the process of reproving or exposing. Both need to go on in the        life of a believer. The goal, however, is not simply the process. ItÆs the resultùpersonal conviction. Like the        light it is, the Bible reproves and exposes us to the various ways we violate the plan and principles of God in all        the relationships of life, with God and with people such as in oneÆs family, in the church, and in society. Once        we have been reproved and experience conviction (reproof) to the violations, we each face a very important        decision. We can move toward God and respond to His correction and training, or we can rebel and resist.        If we resist, then, as a Father, He disciplines us to draw us back to Him.

       (3) CorrectionùThis is the Greek epanorqwsis which means ôsetting up straight, setting right.ö It stresses the        restorative nature and capacity of Scripture and points to the more immediate work of the Word to set our feet        back on course. The Psalmist wrote, ôThe law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soulö (Psa. 19:7a).

       (4) Training in righteousnessùôTrainingö is paideia which basically means ôtraining, instruction, discipline,ö        not in the sense of punishment, but in the sense of the disciplines that train and develop character, strength,        skill, etc. This is undoubtedly more long range and refers to those truths that develop godly character and        spiritual strengthùgrowth truths and procedures like Bible study, meditation, and prayer.

            The Purpose of Inspiration

       The purpose is that ôthe man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good workö (2 Tim. 3:17). The        Bible offers us GodÆs comfort and His peace as it reveals His love, care, and mercy, but this is always in the        context of conforming us into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28-29) and equipping us for a life of good works        (Eph. 2:10). Equipping us is designed to produce righteousness and ministry rather than self-indulgence.

                 Romans 8:28-29 And we know that God causes all things to work together for                  good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29                  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of                  His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;

                 Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good                  works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

       The word ôadequateö is the Greek artios which means ôfit, complete, capable, sufficient: i.e., able to meet        whatever is needed.ö Being ôfitö looks at the result or the intended result of a process, the aim in view. I think        the process itself is seen in the word ôequipped.ö Note these three points about this word:

       (1) ôEquippedö is the Greek exartizw which means ôto outfit, fully furnish, fully supplyö as in fitting out a wagon        or a ship for a long journey. It was actually used of outfitting a rescue boat.70 We might compare our Coast        Guard vessels and their crews that are so well equipped to go out and rescue ships in trouble.

       (2) ôEquippedö is an adverbial participle which points us to the mode or the means of becoming ôadequate,ö        ôcapable,ö or ôcompetent.ö We might translate the verse as ôthat the man of God may be capable, by having        been thoroughly equipped.ö

       (3) Finally, the verb is in the perfect tense which, in Greek, often looks at the results of preceding action or a        process. In the context, the process is that of studying, knowing, and applying GodÆs inspired Word while the        result is ability for ministry through spiritual growth.

       GodÆs goal, in giving us His Word and our goal in studying and knowing GodÆs Word, is to thoroughly fit us        out that we might become fully competent servants of God for every kind of good work in the midst of a dark        and needy world, like thoroughly equipped rescue vessels on missions of mercy.

            The How of Inspiration

                 2 Pet. 1:20-21 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came                  about by the prophetÆs own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the                  will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.                  (NIV)

       No passage of Scripture tells us as much about the how of inspiration as does this passage in 2 Peter. Though        all of 2 Peter 1 does not deal with the how of inspiration, there are four important things that it would be well        to note about this first chapter and its context.

       First, there is the context and purpose of this passage. Since God has given us all things that pertain to life and        godliness through the great and precious promises, i.e., the Word of God, Peter was writing to challenge his        readers to diligence in becoming fruitful in their knowledge of the Savior (1:3-11). In other words, faith must        not stand still; it must grow. Further, he wanted to remind them and us that our faith does not stand on the        shifting sands of manÆs cleverly devised fables or human ideas. Rather, it is grounded in the marvelous        revelation of God in the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the written Word, the prophetic Word of        God to which we do well to pay close attention.

                 2 Peter 1:12-21 Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things,                  even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is                  present with you. 13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling,                  to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly                  dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I                  will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these                  things to mind. 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made                  known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were                  eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God                  the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ôThis                  is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleasedöù 18 and we ourselves heard                  this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19                  And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay                  attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning                  star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture                  is a matter of oneÆs own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an                  act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

       In the process of setting forth this focus, Peter mentions his personal experience of seeing the majestic glory of        the transfiguration of Christ when he heard from heaven, ôThis is My beloved Son with whom I am        well-pleasedö (vss. 16-17). But He goes on to teach us something that is tremendously important, especially in        our day when so much is made regarding personal experiences which often take precedence over Scripture.        Note that in verse 19 Peter writes, ôAnd we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well        to pay attention àö We need to ask, ôMore sure than what?ö More sure than even his experience of seeing        ChristÆs transfiguration. Now that which Peter, James, and John saw has become a part of the record of the        Word and provides important revelation of the person of Christ. But the point is, our experiences, as bonafide        as they may be, never take precedence over the authoritative Word of God because it is more sure, steadfast,        and reliable. The Word is our authority and it alone must judge our experiences and determine faith and        practice.

       The NIVÆs translation of verse 20 is much closer to the original Greek, more in accord with the preceding and        following context, and clearly expresses the truth to be gleaned here. It reads, ôAbove all, you must understand        that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophetÆs own interpretation.ö This simply declares that        whatever the prophets wrote or whatever we find in the Word, it was not the product of the authorÆs own        ideas or human opinion. In verses 16-19, the issue being discussed is the source of the apostolic message.        Was it human fable, or was it from God? Verse 20 answers the first part of this question. It was not from man.        The second part of the question is found in the next verse. Note the connecting and explanatory ôForö of verse        21.

       Verse 21 teaches us that both God and man were involved in the production of the Bible, but in such a way        that God was not only the ultimate source, but He both directed the writing and guaranteed the accuracy of the        product. The human authors actively spoke GodÆs Word and they were more than dictation machines, but to        insure the accuracy of what was spoken, the human authors were moved and carried along by the Holy Spirit.        ôMovedö is feromenoi, a Greek passive participle meaning, ôto be carried, be borne along.ö This word was        used of a ship being carried along by the wind in its sail in Acts 27:15, 17.

       Catching the import of this, Ryrie writes:

                 Though experienced men, the sailors could not guide it so they finally had to let the                  wind take the ship wherever it blew. In the same manner as that ship was driven,                  directed, or carried about by the wind, God directed and moved the human writers                  He used to produce the books of the Bible. Though the wind was the strong force                  that moved the ship along, the sailors were not asleep and inactive. Similarly, the                  Holy Spirit was the guiding force that directed the writers who, nevertheless, played                  their own active roles in writing the Scriptures.71

       This verse, then, teaches us two things regarding the ôHowö of inspiration: (a) The will of the human authors        never directed the writings of the Bible and (b) the Holy Spirit as the ultimate source ensured the accuracy of        what they wrote in every way.

            The Breadth of Inspiration

                 2 Pet. 1:3-4 Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to                  life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own                  glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and                  magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the                  divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

       It is clear from verse 4 and the reference to ôHis precious and magnificent promisesö that Peter has the Word        of God in view in these two verses. First, there is the declaration that God ôhas granted to us everything        pertaining to life and godliness.ö Second, life and godliness come through the knowledge of God and the Lord        Jesus, but such knowledge comes through the Word, the precious promises. In essence then, this points us to        the breadth of what GodÆs Word covers, ôeverything pertaining to life and godliness.ö

       While God does not reveal everything that He could reveal, many things He has chosen to keep to Himself        (Deut. 29:29), the Bible does cover all that man needs for life and godliness through its revelation of God and        of Jesus our Lord. We have everything we need, nothing is missing. Consequently, being GodÆs inspired        Word, the following is also true à

       It Is Alive and Powerful

       In this attribute of the Bible, we see the quickening and energizing power of the Word of God to regenerate        and change or transform the lives of men as it reveals the very wisdom of God and brings men into a vital        relationship with Him through its truth.

                 1 Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but                  imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.

                 Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the                  renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is                  good and acceptable and perfect.

                 Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any                  two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints                  and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

       It Is Perfect, Without Defect

       (1) It is without blemish, complete, pure, tried, and thus truth, true.

                 Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the                  LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

       (2) It is uncontaminated, flawless.

                 Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on                  the earth, refined seven times.

       (3) It is thoroughly tested and found flawless by testing.

                 Psalm 119:140 Thy word is very pure, Therefore Thy servant loves it.

       (4) Scripture declares its own inerrant and unadulterated c

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