The subject of the Holy Spirit is one that raises many questions and ends with varying beliefs. However it would seem that most are in agreement when it comes to what the Bible says, they simply differ when they stray away into the paths of opinion. This is true no only with the subject of the Holy Spirit, but with every Bible subject. For instance, the Bible clearly says that the Holy Spirit leads; “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Seldom will one hear anyone who believes the Bible deny this simple truth. Yes, the Holy Spirit leads, but the question is how does the Holy Spirit lead? The answers to this are varied and without all that agreement. The depth of the subject is such that it would be impossible for us to completely cover it in this article, but let us consider at least a couple truths concerning the actions of the Holy Spirit gleaned from one statement from the apostle Paul.
Paul instructed Timothy to “put the brethren in remembrance” of a few things the Holy Spirit had revealed (I Tim. 4:1-6). He starts with the words, “Now the Spirit speaketh” (I Tim. 4:1). The words that Paul is about to write, he attributes to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Holy Spirit speaks through the scriptures. Peter said, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21). Paul wrote, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit…Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (I Cor. 2:10, 12-13). We may know the words of the Holy Spirit by reading what the Spirit has revealed through the apostles and prophets. Paul said, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:3-5). Before His crucifixion, our Lord promised the apostles that He would send the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, and He would guide them in all truth (John 14:26; 16:12-13). One thing we know is that the Holy Spirit speaks to us by way of the scriptures.
Another important truth concerning our guidance received from the Holy Spirit by way of the Spirit inspired word written in the Bible is seen in Paul’s words, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly” (I Tim. 4:1). The word expressly indicates that what the Spirit says is explicit and clear. In other words, what the Spirit says is clearly stated, it is not vague, obscure or something that one cannot understand. Too often we hear people say that we cannot understand the Bible alike. Certainly we are not insinuating that everything in the Bible is easy to be understood. The apostle Peter said that Paul wrote some things “hard to be understood” (II Pet. 3:16). It takes study to know and understand the word of God. This is why Paul told Timothy to, “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15). But, not only can it be understood, we are commanded to understand it. Paul said, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). And Jesus told those that believed on Him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). The problem of religious division today is not that we cannot understand the inspired message, but that far too often mere man is seeking to find the speech of the Spirit in places other than where He has spoken or as Peter said of some, “that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16).
We might close with one more observation concerning those words of Paul in I Timothy 4:1. Obviously, the Holy Spirit speaks what many today would consider narrow-mindedly. He said that some would depart from the faith. Not one of the many faiths, but the faith. The Holy Spirit had previously spoken through Paul saying, there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). The Holy Spirit seems to be a bit narrow-minded.
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