**** JULY 2020 ****

ONLY SPEAK THE WORD!

What is the Bible?

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [God breathed], and is profitable for doctrine [teaching], for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work"

2 Tim.3:16-17.
All Scripture refers to the Canon of Scripture that we have received, that is, 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. The Bible is the Canon of Scripture which we have received.
Only speak the word! Preach and teach that which is written. There is a famine for the pure word of God in the church worldwide.

Who wrote the Bible?

Peter refers to the Scripture as the prophetic word. "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as to a light that shines in a dark [murky] place, until the day dawns and the morning star [Daystar] rises in your hearts;
knowing this that no prophecy of Scripture 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"
2Pet.1:19-21. Holy men of God wrote as they were moved or borne along by the Holy Spirit. These holy men did not write their own interpretation of what the Spirit was saying but they wrote as the Spirit inspired them.

False teachers

To this day the most serious problem in the church worldwide is the interpretation of the word of God that men teach and preach. Teachers come with doctrines based on Scriptures but not actually teaching the Scriptures. Peter warned us, "there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction" (2Pet.2:1).
These false teachers and preachers are generally characterised by their expectation and even their demand of monetary reward for their speaking. "By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words" (2Pet.2:3a).
In so many places that we have been in recent years and especially in South American nations, we have come in the wake of false apostles and teachers, preachers demanding money and misrepresenting the five-fold ministries. This has born bad fruit and confusion and many genuine leaders are reticent to receive the apostolic teaching because of past experiences.
We need to abide by Isaiah's warning, "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" 8:20.

Do not go beyond what is written

In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul is warning the believers against following a particular apostolic leader - "Each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas'" (1Cor.1:12). Paul shows the distinctive roles that each minister has: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase" (1Cor.3:6).
Every minister must be judged by the word that is written: "Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other" 1Cor.4:6.

THE WORD DOES THE WORK

We have already learnt from 2Timothy 3:16 that the Scriptures are profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction and instruction in righteousness. By teaching and preaching the word of God as it is written we witness the word working. The hearers are convicted; the hearers receive wisdom and revelation by the Spirit (Eph.1:17); the Spirit brings understanding to the hearts of the hearers (Eph.1:18).
We are not to add to the Scripture, nor take away from it.
• We are not to take Scriptures to validate a non-Scriptural doctrine,
• We are not to take Scriptures and use them out of context,
• We are not to make Scriptures say something even opposite to what they say in the context.

In Hebrews chapters 3-4, the writer is speaking about recognising Jesus the Christ as both Apostle and High Priest (3:1) and of us being built into His house (3:3-6). He then equates this to entering the rest of God. We need to be obedient to Jesus as Apostle and High Priest and be properly built into His house, the church. The writer continues to talk strongly about entering the rest, about hearing His voice, about not hardening our hearts (3:7-19).

When we believe the word of God, we enter the rest

Then the writer gives us the key to entering the rest of God:
"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 of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" Heb.4:12. In this verse the word is applied to the spirit of man, distinguishing the spirit from the soul; the word is applied to the soul of man, discerning the very thoughts and intents of the heart; and the word is applied to the physical body, even able to bring healing into the secret parts of the body.

The word of God is the only thing in the universe that can penetrate and distinguish between the soul and the spirit of man. Religious thought and philosophy across the spectrum of world religions, including traditional Christian religion, only knows man as a dualistic being, that is, consisting of 'soul', referring to the invisible part of man, and the body, being the visible man. Sometimes the division is referred to as mind and matter or the spiritual realm and the physical realm. But it is only through the word of God working in us as we hear and receive the word that comes from above, but is written in the Scripture, that we are moved and changed, even transformed!
In the context of Hebrews 3-4, entering the rest is coming to the throne of grace by faith in the word of God, and receiving that word gladly so that it can change us. Then we are able to receive mercy and grace in time of need (4:16).

It is written

When Jesus faced the temptations in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, He overcame the devil by knowing what was written in the Scriptures and to be able to bring those Scriptures to mind in the crisis of the moment. The devil tempted Jesus by misquoting the Scripture. Jesus overcame the devil by clearly quoting what is written.
This ability to speak the word in a time of challenge, in a time of crisis is the work of the Holy Spirit and it is the manifestation of the rhema word. The rhema word as distinct from the logos word is the word that is quickened to our understanding by the Holy Spirit. Jesus actually said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt.4:4).

What is revelation?

In answering Jesus' question in Matthew 16:16, Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven" (v.17). The revelation came to Peter from the Father in heaven, but the word that Peter applied to Jesus was written in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Peter would have been taught these Scriptures and like many other Jews, was expecting Messiah to come. The revelation that Peter received was to know that Jesus was the one.
There is no revelation outside of what is written. If someone comes to you speaking a 'revelation' and it is not clearly seen in the Scriptures, then that revelation is not from God. Revelation is heavenly inspiration upon the word of God that is written.

Continuing in the word

Jesus said, "If you continue in My word [logos], you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (Jn.8:31-32). Jesus said, "Your word is truth" (Jn.17:17). Jesus equates the truth to the word of the Father, which is the written word, the Scriptures. Therefore, disciples are to continue in the word, being taught how to understand the word, how to study the word, and how to share the word with others.

Pray according to the word

Jesus said, "If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (Jn.15:7). This is the rhema word in this verse, but the rhema is not different to the logos word; it is the logos word quickened.
Therefore, as disciples of the logos word, our prayers that are expressing the word (logos) that has been quickened to us (rhema), will be answered. Such prayers are in the perfect will of God as they are the fruit of God's word being in us.

JESUS IS THE WORD

"In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" Jn.1:1. The Word or the communication of God was with God in the beginning and was God. God and His word are inseparable; this is not a reference to two persons but contains a deep revelation of who God is and therefore, of who Jesus is. Literally this verse says, "and God was the Word". In the original manuscript there is the clear statement that God is the Word! They are one and the same.

God reveals Himself through His word

God is known no other way. Jesus is the Word; the Word is God; and the Word of God is written for us so that we can know God through His word.
There is no other source by which we can personally know the eternally living God who created all things. Our only authority for faith and practice is the word of God, which is written. When preachers and teachers teach concerning God in theological terms that are not clearly Scriptural, then we must question their teaching. The knowledge of God is not based on our intellect or our training [no matter how many higher degrees we may have], but the knowledge of God is based on what is written in His word.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" Jn.1:14. The Eternal God who created all things, became a man. He lived on this earth and He revealed His glory. Jesus said at the end of His life on the earth as a man, "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was" Jn.17:5.

Time to return to the word

We are to faithfully preach and teach that which is written, and that means that we faithfully teach and preach Jesus the Christ (Acts 5:42). Bible Colleges and Seminaries teach various doctrines, theologies, eschatology, church history and other things, but Jesus taught the word and He commissioned the apostles to teach the word. The first church was devoted to the apostles' doctrine, and that was the teachings of Christ. It is time for us to all return to the Bible, that which is written.
As someone said: In the beginning was the word, not an interpretation!

An Example of taking a verse out of context

An example of taking a verse out of context and making it say the exact opposite of what it says in the context is Matthew 24:40. It says, "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left." In the context Jesus is referring to His coming in terms of the days of Noah, "For as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (v.37). He talks about the unbelievers in Noah's day "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be " (v.38-39).

Who was taken away by the flood? Answer: those who did not believe and had refused to enter the ark. They were taken away by the flood. Jesus said that the coming of the Son of Man would be the same. Therefore, who is taken? Who is left behind? In the context it is perfectly clear that the wicked are taken by judgement; that the righteous are preserved in the earth through salvation. And yet all over the church world, it has been taught that Matthew 24:40 is referring to a rapture of the righteous. This is an example of taking a Scripture out of context and making it say the exact opposite to its meaning as it is written in the Scripture.

Paul Galligan.

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