1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Many who read this verse think that it is talking about heaven. Indeed heaven will be a wonderful place. There will be streets of gold and gates of pearl and walls decorated with diamonds. Yet heaven is not what Paul is referring to in this passage.Paul is not talking about something that is somewhere out in the distant future. Paul is talking about wonderful things that you and I can experience right now – today.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
The wonders Paul speaks of are what he also calls the ‘deep things of God.’ What are the deep things of God? They are the precious truths about God and His love for us. These precious truths and promises involve His plan of salvation and all that comes with salvation. They involve the blessing of knowing that the God of this universe knows us and cares about us. They involve the blessing of knowing God in a deeper way. Salvation is not just about escaping hell. Salvation is about knowing and experiencing God. God wants us to know Him in such a way that it causes our heart to burn for Him. God is passionate about us and He wants us to be passionate about Him.
How can that happen? How can we be more passionate about our love for God? Paul tells us that God has given us His Spirit to live within each of us to teach us and to guide us. It is by God’s Spirit that we are made aware of our sinfulness. It is by God’s Spirit that we are made aware of Christ’s sacrifice for our sin. It is by God’s Spirit that we are given new spiritual life. It is by God’s Spirit that we are daily encouraged to live the Christian life. And it is by God’s Spirit that we are enriched with the things of God. How does the Spirit of God enrich us? He does so by teaching and explaining to us the Word of God.
1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 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. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
I stand before you each week and endeavor to teach you the Word of God. Yet what I teach you and any impact that it might make upon your life, is not of me, but of the Spirit of God. The truth is – I would not be a pastor except the Spirit of God called me to do so. I could not do this week in and week out unless the Spirit of God continued to work in my life. I could not prepare these messages except for the fact that the Spirit guides me. Each and every time I study I seek the guidance of the Spirit. I seek His guidance concerning what I should teach and how I should teach it. I seek His guidance to first better understand it myself and apply it to my own life and then to develop a message that you will be able to understand and apply as well. At Twin Oaks we teach the Bible a lot. We are a Bible-based church. Yet the Master teacher of this church is not any man or woman. It is the Holy Spirit of God. Only He understands the deep things of God and only He knows how each of us needs to apply these things to our lives. How does the Spirit teach us?
I. WHERE DID THE BIBLE COME FROM?
What is the Bible? Where did it come from? What makes the Bible more special than any other religious book?
Many believe that the Bible was written by men and that it is outdated and irrelevant for today’s modern world. Yet what they don’t understand is that the Bible has survived the rise and fall of many man-made empires. Critics have hated the Bible and sought to destroy it, yet these critics are dead and gone and the Bible is still here. Not only has the Bible survived the test of time, the Bible continues to be the number one selling book year in and year out, selling over 100 million copiers each year world-wide. It has been translated into nearly 3,000 languages and dialects around the world and each and every year that number is growing. According to one survey, 92% of every household in America has at least one copy of the Bible. (Barna Research)
What makes the Bible so special? Where did it come from? Did a group of men sit down one day and write it in order to deceive people? A careful study of the history of the Bible will reveal that it was developed over a course of 1,500 years. During that time period God used over 40 different individuals to write out what we read in our Bibles and these individuals lived on three different continents and wrote in three different languages. To many the Bible seems like a lot of mumbo-jumbo, yet a careful student of the Bible will discover that throughout the 31,000 verses found in the Bible, there is an amazing interweaving of truth and unity. One of the great blessings of learning the Bible is the discovery of how often something in the Old Testament explains something in the New Testament and something in the New Testament explains something in the Old.
But what makes the Bible so amazing is not the number of copies it sells or its ability to endure the test of time. What makes the Bible so amazing is that it comes from God. God is the author of the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The word ‘scripture’ means writings. God did not give us thoughts or ideas. God guided the 40 men who were a part of its recording (men such as Moses and David and Isaiah and Matthew and Paul) (men who were often separated in time by hundreds of years and who never talked with each other) to write down and to record what it was that God wanted us to know. The literal Bible you hold in your hand this morning was made available to you by the hand of God. How did God do this? How did God gives us His Word? Paul says that He did so by ‘inspiration.’ What is inspiration?
Sometimes people use the inspiration or inspirational to refer to something that lifts their spirit. That song was so inspirational. That poem was so inspirational. That message was inspirational. By that they mean that it stimulated them in some way. That is not what the word inspiration means as it is used in regards to the Bible. The Greek word translated as To say that the Bible is inspired means that it is – ‘God breathed.’ What does that mean? How did God breathe to us the Bible?
II. HOW DID THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVE US THE BIBLE?
Step 1 – Revelation
We know that there is a part of the Bible that is called the book of Revelation; yet actually the entire Bible is a book of revelation. What does the word revelation mean? A revelation is the revealing of something that we did not know.
Who is God? What is He like? What does He expect of man? God reveals some things about Himself through His creation. The Bible tells us that nature itself reveals to man that there is a Supreme Being who created this world and universe with amazing accuracy and beauty. Even the most brilliant scientists living today are still in awe of the complexity of life. Who can fully understand the human body? Who can imagine the magnitude of this universe? Who can explain how one planet out of billions of others is able to orbit at a perfect distance from its sun? Scripture tells us that even the person who has never read a Bible can know that there is a God.
But nature itself does not tell us all that we need to know about God. Nature doesn’t tell us that God is holy. Nature doesn’t explain to us why there is evil in this world. Nature doesn’t offer to us any solutions for our problems. For that we need something that goes deeper. We need special revelation from God. How can we receive such revelation? Where does it come from? We read from the Bible –
2 Peter 1:21 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.
Through the Holy Spirit, God revealed to these holy men the deep things you and I need to understand. That is what we mean by revelation. By His Spirit, God revealed to these men things they could not otherwise know or understand.
We might ask – ‘What things has God chosen to reveal?’ First and foremost is His plan of salvation. The Bible teaches us that we all have sinned and therefore come short of God’s glory. There are none of us who are naturally good, no not one. There are none of us who are worthy of heaven. There are none of us who can earn our way to heaven by our good words. We all stand condemned in the sight of God. In addition, God has revealed to us that though we have sinned, He loves us. He does not love our sin, but He loves us. And because of His great love, He provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins. Much of God’s divine revelation can be summed up in these Bible verses –
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Step 2 – Inspiration
God the Spirit revealed to men important truths that we need to know. Then He guided them to carefully record His revelation. Peter says that these holy men were ‘moved by the Holy Ghost.’ (Note – Ghost is an old English expression for spirit. It is the same Greek word otherwise translated as Spirit. The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit.)
What does it mean that these men were moved to write these things? The word ‘moved’ is also used in scripture to speak of the wind as it fills the sail of a ship and moves it across the water. Apparently the Holy Spirit somehow filled the hearts and minds of these men with this special revelation and then guided them as they recorded it on paper. Again I remind you that the word ‘scripture’ means writings. God controlled the actual physical recording of His revelation.
The Bible contains the recorded revelation of God, as well as the history of man. The Bible tells us where man came from and where he will spend eternity. Someone has said –
“This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity.” (Source unknown)
III. HOW CAN WE UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE?
As someone said to me recently – ‘the Bible is a big book.’ Indeed it is. It is big and it is deep and on our own we would never be able to fully understand it. Consider once again what Paul wrote –
1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
In other words, who can know what’s going on the things deep inside a person other than the person themselves? Likewise, who can know the deep things of God other than the Spirit of God?
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, (i.e. – not the wisdom that the unsaved man lives by) but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Step 3 – Illumination
The key word here is Illumination. To illuminate means to give light. The Spirit of God who revealed the Word of God to men and then guided them as they recorded it, guides us as well as we read it and seek to understand.
We must have the Spirit’s guidance in order to understand the Bible.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The term ‘natural man’ is a reference to the person who has never been born-again by the Spirit of God. The spiritual part of them is still dead because of sin and therefore they can’t know God or the things of God. The things the Spirit desires to teach us are as foolishness to them. To them God is a myth and so is His Word.
But for the man who has been born-again; he has Spirit of God living within him to teach and to guide him.
12 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.
How does the Spirit teach us the Word of God? Paul says that He does so by enabling us to examine spiritual truth in the light of spiritual truth.
1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
In other words, the Spirit gives us spiritual discernment. He enables us to understand these deep things and then to make wise decisions based upon what we have learned.
None of us will ever know all there is the Bible. As someone who spends a great deal of time studying the Bible, I can tell you that I have never yet reached the end of fully understanding even one verse. I can keep coming back to the same verses over and over again and each time learn something new.
I can also tell you that the Spirit is always there, waiting to teach me and to guide me. His desire is to share with me the wonderful things God has prepared for those that love Him. The Holy Spirit wants to do the same thing for you. Here’s how:
1) You must be born-again by the Spirit.
Without the Spirit of God, we are spiritually dead and therefore unable to understand. Jesus said – Except a man be born again – he cannot see the kingdom of God. Without the new birth by the Holy Spirit, a man will not see God.
2) You must invest time and energy in studying God’s Word.
The reason most Christians do not know what’s in the Bible is because they don’t study it. In a survey that is now 20 years old, it was reported that during the course of the average week:
- 13% of the Christians surveyed reported reading their Bible on a daily basis
- 32% of the Christians surveyed reported reading their Bible three times a week
- And nearly half of the Christians (43%) reported that they do not read their Bible at all. (Barna Research, 1992)
3) You must submit your life to be obedient to what the Spirit reveals.
We must be ‘doers’ and not just ‘hearers’ only. The goal is not to obtain knowledge. The goal is to develop obedience. Obedience is what God blesses. The Spirit dwells within us to teach us what is truth and then to guide us in how to obey.