Trials From Without - Lesson 4 - Introduction to Inspiration
10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,
11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things into which angels long to look.
There are four keywords used in understanding divine revelation. Inspiration is the supernatural act of God in which the Holy Spirit moved men to record God’s revelation of Himself. Inspiration guarantees that the Scriptures are complete and without error in the original autographs. The Spirit did not dictate the revelation to the writers as you can tell by the different styles of writing throughout the Bible.
Preservation is the next word. It relates to the transmission of the Bible from the writers to today. We believe that God gave a complete and dynamic revelation of Himself and that He protected it as it made its way through history to our time now. Many scholars have given their lives to the study of manuscripts and textual fragments and have found miraculous events involved in preserving the record. I recommend that you read Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands A Verdict to gain insight into how we got our Bible. We believe that we have every bit of God’s Word, preserved in accuracy and completion.
When it comes to understanding and interpreting the Bible, illumination is pivotal. It means that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers now illumines the believer to understand the writing. It is important in studying the Bible to follow principles of analysis and interpretation, but the most important thing is to call on and rely on the Holy Spirit to teach and give an accurate understanding. Use some of the countless books written about the Bible, many godly men and women have produced these. It’s also vital that you let the Bible interpret itself. Don’t isolate a verse and build your thinking on that. Instead, compare Scripture with Scripture and don’t let your interpretation of one verse contradict any other verse. In the end listen to the Spirit’s voice and you won’t go wrong.
Peter wrote to encourage believers who were facing trials. He spoke of inspiration to establish the authority and reliability of Scripture, which made it an anchor point for life. He spoke of inspired writers prophesying how things would be for believers today. He said that the Spirit of Christ within them predicted Jesus’ suffering and ultimate glory. The prophets asked Him who He was talking about and when the events would happen. The answer was that the revelation was for a future time and people when the gospel would be preached by different men.
This teaching establishes the unique quality of the Bible. The fact that it contains the writing of 60 men, recorded over a period of hundreds of years, and has no error or conflicting message is in and of itself a miracle. The fact that a person can sit down with the Word of God, call on the Spirit of God, and come away with an accurate understanding is fantastic.
This adds up to authority which is very important in dealing with trials that try to destroy you or your faith. When the surf of life is swirling around you, and you feel isolated and oppressed, turn to the Word of God, let it minister to your needs, and then fill you with strength and resolve to walk in victory as the trial rolls off defeated. You can trust your Bible, and you can’t spend too much time reading and meditating on it. Receive it into your spirit and let the Holy Spirit and Jesus feed it to your soul.
Angels may feel jealous that salvation is for us and not them, but we can stand confidently on God’s Word and find sure ground in the middle of shifting sand.
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