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Posts Tagged ‘Grammar’

Without the Spirit one is not lead and guided into all truth

September 2, 2014 3 comments

Arthur PinkSince the imagination of man, like all the other faculties of his moral being, is permeated and vitiated by sin, the ideas it suggests, even when pondering the Divine oracles, are prone to be mistaken and corrupt. It is part of our sinful infirmity that we are unable of ourselves to interpret God’s Word aright; but it is part of the gracious office of the Holy Spirit to guide believers into the truth, thereby enabling them to apprehend the Scriptures. This is a distinct and special operation of the Spirit on the minds of God’s people, whereby He communicates spiritual wisdom and light unto them, and which is necessary unto their discerning aright the mind of God in His Word, and also their laying hold of the heavenly things found therein. “A distinct operation” we say, by which we mean something ab extra or over and above His initial work of quickening; for while it be a blessed fact that at regeneration He has

“given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (1 John 5:20),

yet more is needed in order for us to

know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

This is evident from the case of the apostles, for though they had companied and communed with Christ for the space of three years, yet we are informed that, at a later date,

“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

How what has been just alluded to should impress the Christian himself with the need for holy caution when reading the Word, lest he wrest its contents unto his own injury! How it should humble him before its Author and make him realize his utter dependence upon Him! If the new birth were sufficient of itself to capacitate the believer to grasp Divine things, the apostle had never made request for the Colossian saints that they “might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (1:9), nor would he have said to his son in the faith, “the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7). There never was a more foolish notion or pernicious idea entertained than that the holy mysteries of the Gospel so lie within the province of human reason that they may be known profitably and practically without the effectual aid of the blessed Spirit of Truth. Not that He instructs us in any other way than by and through our reason and understanding, for then we should be reduced to irrational creatures; but that He must enlighten our minds, elevate and direct our thoughts, quicken our affections, move our wills, and thereby enable our understandings, if we are to apprehend spiritual things.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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The Holy Spirit explains the meaning of certain words, yet they are unintelligible to the natural man

August 19, 2014 1 comment

Arthur PinkIN the previous chapter we sought to show the need for interpretation, that it devolves upon us to ascertain the import of what is meant by every sentence of Holy Writ. What God has said to us is of inestimable importance and value, yet what profit can we derive therefrom unless its significance is clear to us? The Holy Spirit has given us more than a hint of this by explaining the meaning of certain words. Thus, in the very first chapter of the New Testament it is said of Christ,

“they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

And again,

“We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ”—margin “the Anointed” (John 1:43). Again,

“And they bring Him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull” (Mark 15:22).

Yet again

“Melchisedec, king of Salem… first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace” (Hebrews 7:1, 2).

Those expressions make it clear that it is essential that we should understand the sense of each word used in the Scriptures. God’s Word is made up of words, yet they convey nothing to us while they remain unintelligible. Hence, to ascertain the precise import of what we read should be our first concern.

Before setting forth some of the rules to be observed and the principles to be employed in the interpretation of Scripture, we would point out various things which require to be found in the would he interpreter himself. Good tools are indeed indispensable for good workmanship, but the best of them are to little purpose in the hands of one who is unqualified to use them. Methods of Bible study are only of relative importance; but the spirit in which it is studied is all-important. It calls for no argument to prove that a spiritual book calls for a spiritually minded reader, for

“the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”(1 Corinthians 2:14).

God’s Word is a revelation of things which affect our highest interests and everlasting welfare, and it demands both implicit and cordial acceptance. Something more than intellectual training is required: the heart must be right as well as the head. Only where there is honesty of soul and spirituality of heart will there be clearness of vision to perceive the Truth; only then will the mind be capable of discerning the full import of what is read, and understand not only the bare meaning of its words, but the sentiments they are designed to convey, and a suitable response be made by us.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Interpretation is necessary in order that the proper meaning of a word be understood in each verse of scripture

August 5, 2014 1 comment

Arthur PinkSecond, interpretation is necessary to prevent our being misled by the mere sound of words. How many have formed wrong conceptions from the language used in different verses through their failure to understand its sense. To many it appears impious to place a different meaning upon a term than what appears to be its obvious signification; yet a sufficient warning against this should be found in the case of those who have so fanatically and stubbornly adhered to Christ’s words, “this [unleavened bread] is My body,” refusing to allow that it must mean “this represents My body” — as “the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are [i.e. symbolize] the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). The error of Universalism, based upon indefinite terms being given an unlimited meaning, points further warning. Arminianism errs in the same direction.

“That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9)

no more included Cain, Pharaoh and Judas than “every man” is to be understood absolutely in Luke 16:16; Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 4:5; and “all men” in 1 Timothy 2:4, 6, is no more to be taken as meaning all without exception than it is in Luke 3:15; John 3:26; Acts 22:15.

“Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). Of Job, too, it is said that he was “perfect and upright” (1:1). How many have allowed themselves to be misled by the sound of those words. What false concepts have been formed of their import! Those who believe in what they term “the second blessing” or “entire sanctification” consider they confirm their contention that sinless perfection is attainable in this life. Yet such a mistake is quite inexcusable, for what is recorded very soon afterwards of those men shows plainly they were very far from being without moral defect: the one becoming intoxicated, the other cursing the day of his birth. The word “perfect” in those and similar passages signifies “honest, sincere,” being opposed to hypocrisy. “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect” (1 Corinthians 2:6). There, and in Philippians 3:15, the word signifies “mature”—compare “of full age” in Hebrews 5:14—as distinct from infantile.

“I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men.. and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts” (Jeremiah 51:57).

Those words are cited by gross materialists, who believe in the annihilation of the souls of the wicked. They need not detain us long, for the language is plainly figurative. God was about to execute judgment upon the pride of Babylon, and as a historical fact that mighty city was captured while its king and his courtiers were in a drunken stupor, being slain therein, so that they awoke no more on earth. That “perpetual sleep” cannot be understood literally and absolutely is evident from other passages which expressly announce the resurrection of the wicked—Daniel 12:2; John 6:29.

“He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel” (Numbers 23:21).

How often those words have been regarded absolutely, without any regard to their context. They were a part of Balaam’s explanation to Balak, why he could not curse Israel so that they should be exterminated by the Midianites. Such language did not mean that Israel was in a sinless state, but that up to that time they were free from any open rebellion against or apostasy from Jehovah. They had not been guilty of any heinous offense like idolatry. They had conducted themselves as to be unfit for cursing and cutting off. But later the Lord did see “perverseness” in Israel, and commissioned Babylon to execute His judgment upon them (Isaiah 10). It is unwarrantable to apply this relative statement to the Church absolutely, for God does “behold iniquity” in His children, as His chastening rod demonstrates; though He imputes it not unto penal condemnation.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Concerning Knowledge without Christ

Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ.

John Calvin