My Words are Spirit and Life

Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit and quickening the Word of God to someone reading the Bible, based on John 6:63.

THE WORD OF GOD SERIES

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SOLD, Acrylic on Canvas

 

Jesus said, “The [Holy] Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for noth­ing. The words I have spo­ken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63)

For the word of God is liv­ing and active.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The Bible (God’s Word) is rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent than any other book in the entire world, sec­u­lar or sacred. It is alive as the Holy Spirit of God speaks to us through it.

The Holy Spirit is the only one who can reveal and com­mu­ni­cate the Bible’s spir­i­tual truths to us. Those who read the Bible apart from the Holy Spirit teach­ing them can­not under­stand it because, unlike all other books, it is spir­i­tu­ally dis­cerned. It is not a men­tal exer­cise but a spir­i­tual one. (See 1 Corinthi­ans 2:6–16).

“We [believ­ers in Jesus] have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may under­stand what God has freely given us. The man with­out the Spirit [of God] does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are fool­ish­ness to him, and he can­not under­stand them, because they are spir­i­tu­ally dis­cerned.” (1 Corinthi­ans 2:12,14)

Jesus said, “But the Coun­selor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of every­thing I have said to you” (John 14:26).

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)

Those who read the Bible with­out rely­ing on the Holy Spirit to breathe spir­i­tual rev­e­la­tion of it to them will gravely mis­con­strue it (2 Peter 3:15–16). This is where dif­fer­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of the Bible arise. There is only one absolute truth and one cor­rect inter­pre­ta­tion of the Bible, and that belongs to God. The more time we spend read­ing the Bible with the Holy Spirit ‘quick­en­ing’ it to us, the more he arights our mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions and brings us into align­ment with his one, absolute truth.

As an unbe­liever, I read the Bible every day for sev­eral years with­out the Holy Spirit. Because of this, I could only “under­stand” it on a very shal­low, men­tal level. How­ever, I vividly remem­ber the first time I read it after being “born again” (trust­ing in Jesus as my Sav­ior and receiv­ing the Holy Spirit). (See “Mes­sage” and “About The Artist”.) All of a sud­den I could under­stand the Bible and spir­i­tu­ally per­ceive its truths because my spir­i­tual eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit! I once was blind, but now I could see, for Jesus came and gave me my sight! It was a com­plete night and day dif­fer­ence that hap­pened the moment I was born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Some­times we evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians can get con­fused about what the Word of God really is. Jesus made an impor­tant point to the Phar­isees, “You dili­gently study the Scrip­tures because you think that by them you pos­sess eter­nal life. These are the Scrip­tures that tes­tify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40). In addi­tion, the Bible says, “In the begin­ning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). But what on earth does that really mean? How can these 2 pas­sages be rec­on­ciled? How do we escape the trap of becom­ing Chris­t­ian Phar­isees who are full of Scrip­tural doc­trines that impart no life?

Pas­tor and author Fran­cis Frangi­pane made the fol­low­ing com­ments in his book Holi­ness, Truth and The Pres­ence of God (Arrow Pub­li­ca­tions, Inc.). They greatly helped me under­stand what the Word of God really is, how to learn from God’s Word and how to avoid becom­ing an indoc­tri­nated Chris­t­ian Pharisee. His com­ments here were part of the inspi­ra­tion behind this painting:

THE WORD IS GOD

Many read the Scrip­tures sim­ply to rein­force their cur­rent beliefs. Although they read the entire Bible, their mind only sees cer­tain doc­trines. Instead of believ­ing what they read, they merely read what they already believe. Rarely do they find new truths in the Word. Bap­tists see from their per­spec­tive, Pen­te­costals and charis­mat­ics each have theirs, while Catholics and other denom­i­na­tions often have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent empha­sis. The same way the Jews were “bap­tized into Moses” (1 Corinthi­ans 10:2), so Chris­tians are often bap­tized into their denom­i­na­tion. Whey they are fully indoc­tri­nated, their minds have been immersed into a pool of teach­ing that leaves them more con­formed to the image of their sect than to the like­ness of Christ.

But if we would grow in Christ’s like­ness, we must be bap­tized into Christ’s Spirit, not the spirit or slant of any par­tic­u­lar denom­i­na­tion. When one is bap­tized in Christ, his spirit is actu­ally clothed with Christ (Gala­tians 3:27). It is Christ’s image in holi­ness and power which a true dis­ci­ple seeks. We can­not allow our­selves to be innoc­u­lated with a dozen or so spe­cial Bible verses that merely get us “saved” but leave us immune from the ful­ness of God! You are a dis­ci­ple of Jesus Christ; the real­ity of God’s king­dom is found in the com­bined mean­ing of all Jesus taught. There­fore, you must trea­sure every word!

The Word is God. The Scrip­tures are not God but the Spirit that breathes through the words is God. And this Holy Spirit should be hon­ored as God. There­fore, as you seek the Lord, place your Bible at the foot of your bed and kneel as  you read: are you not seek­ing to meet with the Almighty? Pray that you will not merely read intel­lec­tu­ally. Rather, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart through the Word.

(See also: “Believer’s Road Series 2: In The Secret Place”)