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The God of Detail


When we ponder God’s works, we see that He is a God of Detail. We read, “He telleth the number of the stars but of His understanding there is no number” (Psalm 147: 45, margin). He can number, but He cannot be numbered. A cob of maize will demonstrate there is never an odd row: there are rows of 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 24. A slave was once promised his liberty if he could find a cob with an odd row. His ingenious mind solved the problem by cutting a row out of a young cob, and thus gained his liberty. The same law of regularity is found in the stem of a plant. Some branches are placed alternately, some opposite, and some are arranged spirally. In each tree there is perfect order. The same law and order may be found in God’s Word. Nothing is left to man’s caprice and ingenuity. Everything reveals artistic design. The importance of observing the following seven rules is obvious.

I. Where a Scripture is Found

The Gospel of John ends with the twentieth chapter. The twenty-first chapter is an appendix, and reveals the Divine intent by way of emphasis. What is emphasised? The Lordship of Christ in contrast to the self-action of man. That self-action is specially brought out in connection with Peter and the disciples.

  • Self-will is seen when Peter says “I go a-fishing.”
  • Self-labour is evidenced when the disciples toiled all night and caught nothing.
  • Self-sight is revealed when the disciples “knew not” the Lord on the shore.
  • Self-resource is manifest when the Lord asked them if they had caught anything, and they had to say, “No.”
  • Self-boasting is made known when Christ asked Peter if he loved Him more than “these,” for he had boasted, “Though all should be offended because of Thee, I will never be offended” (Matthew 26:33).
  • Self-sin is hinted at in Christ’s calling Peter by his old name of “Simon,” and the reference to him being the “Son of Jonas” (a silly dove).
  • Self-grief is evident when Peter was “grieved” by the searching and personal questions which Christ put to him; and
  • Self-questioning is asserted when Peter seems more concerned as to what John should “do,” instead of following his Lord.

Eight times Christ is called “Lord” (Kurios) in the chapter.

  • John was the first to recognise the Lord on the shore, hence, he said, “It is the Lord.”
  • Peter reverenced the Lord when he “saw it was the Lord,” and covered up his nakedness.
  • The disciples, “knowing that it was the Lord,” did not need to put the enquiry, “Who art Thou ?”
  • Peter responded twice to the Lord when he said, “Yea, Lord,” and further remarked to Him, “Lord, Thou knowest all things.”
  • Reference is made to the question of John when he asked the Lord at the table, “Lord, who is he that betrayeth Thee?”
  • And, lastly, Peter’s enquiry as to what John was to do, is recorded in his, “Lord, and what shall this man do ?”

Three thoughts are wrapped up in the Lordship of Christ.

  1. Ownership — “Ye serve” (as slaves) “the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
  2. Authority, hence the Lord’s Supper is to be kept (I Corinthians 11:20).
  3. Power, therefore we read, “The hand of the Lord” was with the disciples (Acts 11: 21).

All these thoughts are brought out in John 21. Ownership is claimed when Christ speaks of “My sheep.” Authority is heard in Christ’s commands to “cast,” to “come,” and to “follow”; and His power is evidenced when He caused 153 great fishes to be caught in the net.
    Peter learned his lesson to recognise Christ as Lord, for in his first epistle (3:15, RV.), he urged those to whom he wrote to “sanctify Christ as Lord” in their hearts.

II. What a Scripture Contains

The contents of John 3:16 have been called “the Bible in miniature.” Like the gates of the New Jerusalem, there are twelve entrances to this temple of Truth.

  1. The greatest possible need is in the conjunction “For.” It takes us back to the previous verses which speak of the necessity of Christ’s death because of man’s sin.
  2. The greatest possible Being is made known in the second word of the verse — “God.” The One Who is Love, Light and Spirit, and Who in His being is Holiness, Justice, Goodness, Righteousness, Mercy, Truth, and Wisdom.
  3. The greatest possible word is found in the “So.” “So loved.” This is the shortest word in the Bible with the greatest meaning. There is no sounding to the depth of this ocean, and no possible attainment to its height.
  4. The greatest possible love is reached in this “God so loved.” Love is revealed in its highest form, in its greatest giving, in its broadest width, in its deepest depths, and in its unscaleable heights.
  5. The greatest possible place — “The world.” The world with its sins and sorrows, the world sanctified by the feet of Christ, Who walked upon it for our advantage, and where He shed His precious blood for its benefit.
  6. The greatest possible gift — “He gave.” We cannot estimate what it cost when He gave His Best. That giving pierced into the heart of His being, and into the pleasure of His purpose. This gift is the treasure trove in which all His gifts are found.
  7. The greatest possible One — “His only begotten Son.” The Object of His soul’s delight, the Express Image of His Deity, the Eternal Son of His partnership, the Visibility of His personality, and the One of His holy
  8. equality.

  9. The greatest possible offer — “Whosoever.” There is no stint in His offers, no limitation in His love, no barriers in the way of His invitations, and no favouritism in His willingness to bless the unloving and unlovely.
  10. The greatest possible power — “Believeth.” Faith is an act of the will putting us into touch with the Infinite. The electric power of God’s energy flows into the grasp of faith’s receiving.
  11. The greatest possible union — “In” (into) “Him.” The preposition “Eis,” not only brings to the Lord, but into Him, and makes one with Him, even as the bud engrafted into the tree makes it one with it.
  12. The greatest possible doom — “perish.” Hell is in this word. The hell of a lost soul, an outer darkness of despair, the marring of the whole being, and the impossible helplessness by being held in the grasp of the sins, in which the individual died.
  13. The greatest possible blessing — “Eternal Life.” This is more than eternal existence. It is eternal felicity with Him Who is eternal in His love and holiness. Forever in the circle of His being, in Whom is all well-being.

The roots of all truth are found in this root of God’s planting, for this verse reveals God in His giving love, Christ in His atoning sacrifice, the Spirit in His quickening life, the Grace of God in its saving work, the wisdom of God’s eternal purpose, the energy of faith in its assimilating process, the eternalness of heaven’s glory, and the throb of love’s forming ministry.

III. What a Scripture Suggests

There are several sentences of auxiliary comment in John’s Gospel. “It was winter” (10:22), the Spirit says when Christ was receiving a cold reception from the Jews. “It was night” (13:30), we read in association with the dark purpose in Judas Iscariot’s deed of betrayal. “It was cold” (18:18), it is said as Peter warmed himself at the fire. He was cold in his soul, and that is the reason it was winter in his body. “Judas, not Iscariot” (14:22), called Jesus “Lord,” but Iscariot did not do so. How we address the Lord reveals the dress in which our inner life is clothed.
    How suggestive is the “I Am” which occurs in John’s Gospel. At least twenty times we find “I Am” occurring. Sometimes we read, “I am He,” the “He” is in italics, and should therefore be omitted. Sometimes the “I am” is coupled with additional words, such as “I am the Way.” The “I am” takes us back to what Jehovah said to Moses, “I AM that I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Pondering these suggestive I am’s we can see how much they suggest and contain.

  • The Unparalleled Speaker — “I that speak unto thee Am” (4:26).
  • The Unique Food — “I Am the Bread of Life ” (6:35).
  • The Heavenly Manna — “I Am the Bread from heaven” (6: 41).
  • The Bread of Life — “I Am that Bread of Life” (6:48).
  • The Living Bread — “I Am the Living Bread” (6:51).
  • The Wonderful Illuminator — “I Am the Light of the world” (8:12).
  • The Revealing One — “I Am from above ” (8:23).
  • The Independent Lord — “If ye believe not, I Am” (8:24).
  • The Dependent Son — “Ye shall know I Am, and that I do nothing of Myself” (8:28).
  • The Eternal Lord — “Before Abraham was, I Am” (8:58).
  • The Darkness Dispeller — “As long as I Am in the world, I AM the Light ” (9:5).
  • The Sheeps’ Protector — “I Am the Door of the sheep” (10:7).
  • The Saving Mediator — “I Am the Door… Saved” (10:9).
  • The Good Shepherd — “I Am the Good Shepherd” (10:11,14).
  • The Pledging Resurrection — “I Am the Resurrection” (11:25).
  • The Glorifying Life — “I Am the Life” (11:25).
  • The Master and Lord — “Ye call Me Master and Lord… I Am”(13:13).
  • The Self-Existing Jehovah — “When it is come to pass… I Am” (13:19).
  • “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” — “I Am” to each (14:6).
  • The True Vine — “I Am the True Vine” (15:1).
  • The I AM — “I Am” (18:5,8).

If we meditate upon the setting of these sentences, muse upon their meaning, and think on their application, we shall have to say:

Without the Word, there is no Speaking.
Without the Bread, there is no Feeding.
Without the Light, there is no Shining.
Without the Door, there is no Keeping.
Without the Death, there is no Saving.
Without the Grave, there is no Rising.
Without the Life, there is no Living.
Without the Way, there is no Going.
Without the Truth, there is no Knowing.
Without the Vine, there is no Growing.
Without the Lord, there is no Serving.
With the I AM, Eternal Glowing.

IV. When a Scripture was Written.

One of the earliest of the Epistles, if not the earliest, is Paul’s letter to the Church in Thessalonica. It is generally agreed that this Epistle was written A.D. 54 to 56. We are sometimes told that these earlier epistles do not give us the larger view that the later ones do, but is that so? We shall find in these letters the ten great truths of the Bible, namely, the doctrines of God, the Bible, Christ, the Holy Spirit, man, sin, salvation, the Church, Angels, and the last things. We can only hint at these, and must leave the Bible student to work them out.

Doctrine of God

“God the Father… God our Father” (1:1), “Election of God” (1:4), “Your faith to Godward” (1:8), “Turned to God… the Living and True God” (1: 9), “The Gospel of God” (2:2,8,9), “Allowed of God” (2:4), “God trieth the hearts” (2:4), “God is witness” (2:5), “Walk worthy of God” (2:12), “Please not God” (2:15), “Minister of God” (3:2), “We render to God” (3: 9), “Before our God” (3:9), “God Himself and our Father” (3:11), “In holiness before God” (3:13), “Please God” (4:1), “Will of God” (4:3), “Know not God” (4:5), “God hath not” (4:7), “But God” (4:8), “Taught of God” (4:9), “Will God” (4:14), “Trump of God” (4:16), “God hath not” (5:9), “The Will of God” (5:18), “God of peace” (5:23).

Doctrine of the Bible

“Our Gospel came not in word only” (1:5), “Received the Word” (1:6), “The Word of the Lord” (1:8), “The Gospel of God… The Gospel” (2:2,4,8,9), “The Word of God” (2:13), “The Gospel of Christ” (3:2), “The Word of the Lord” (4:15).

Doctrine of Christ

“The” and “Our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:13; 2:19; 3:11,13; 5:9,23,28), “The Lord” (1:6,8; 3:8; 4:6,15,15,16,17,17; 5:2,12,27), “His Son” (1:10), “Christ” (2:6; 3:2; 4:16), “In Christ Jesus” (2:14; 5:18), “The Lord Jesus” (2:15; 4:1,2), “Jesus” (4:14).

“In the Holy Spirit” (1:5), “Joy of the Holy Spirit” (1:6), “Given unto us His Holy Spirit” (4:8), “Quench not the Spirit” (5:19).

Doctrine of Man

“Manner of men” (1:5), “Man” (3:3), ” Spirit” (self-consciousness), “Soul” (life-consciousness), ” Body” (sense-consciousness) (5: 23).

Doctrine of Sin

“Idols” (1:9), “Deceit, uncleanness, guile” (2:3), “Flattering words, coveteousness” (2:5), “Killed” (2:15), “Please not God” (2:15), “Sins” (2:16), “Fornication” (4:3), “Lust of concupiscence” (4:5), ” Defraud” (4:6), “Uncleanness” (4:7), “In darkness” (5:4), “Evil” (5:15,22).

Doctrine of Salvation

Salvation includes the things which accompany it (Hebrews 6:9). “Grace, peace” (1:1), “Thanks, prayers” (1:2), “Work of faith, Labour of love, Patience of hope” (1:3), “Election” (1:4), “Assurance” (1:5), Faith (1:8; 3;2,5, 6,7,10), Serve (1:9), Delivered” (1:10), “Walk worthy” (2:12), “Effectually worketh” (2:13), “In Christ Jesus” (2:14), “Saved” (2:16), “Joy” (2:20), “Establish” (3:2), “Comfort” (3:2) “Afflictions” (3:3), “Live, stand fast” (3:8), “Praying” (3:10), “Love” (3:12), “Holiness” (3:13; 4:7), “Walk and please God” (4:1), “Commandments ” (4:2); “Sanctification” (4:3,4), “Brotherly love” (4:9), Study to be quiet (4:11), Work (4:11), Walk (4:12), “Comfort one another” (4:18), “Watch and be sober” (5:6), “Hope of salvation” (5:8,9), “Edify” (5:11), “Be at peace” (5:13), “Support and be patient” (5:14), “Follow that which is good” (5:15), “Rejoice evermore” (5:16), “Pray without ceasing” (5:17), “Give thanks” (5:18), “Quench not the Spirit” (5:19), “Hold fast, prove all things” (5:21), “Abstain” (5:22), “Sanctify” (5:23), ” Blameless” (5:23).

Doctrine of the Church

“The Church” (1:1), Brethren (1:4; 2:1,9,14,17; 3:7; 4:1,10,13; 5:1,4,12, 14,25,26,27), “Ensamples” (1:7), “Your Faith” (1:8), “Witnesses” (2:10), “Followers” (2:14).

Doctrine of Angels

“Satan hindered us” (2:18).

Doctrine of the Last Things

“Hope” (1:3), “Wait for His Son from Heaven” (1:10), “Crown of rejoicing… at His coming” (2:19), “The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (3:13), “Them that sleep will God bring with Him” (4:14), “Unto the coming of the Lord” (4:15), “The Lord Himself shall descend” (4:16), “Dead in Christ shall rise” (4:16), “Caught up together” (4:17), “For ever with the Lord” (4:17), “Day of the Lord” (5:2), “Salvation” (5:9), “Be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord” (5: 23).
    All these vital and vitalising truths were known in this early Church, therefore, knowing when they were written we can see their importance and significance.

V. To Whom a Scripture was Written.

Paul’s pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus are wise and weighty, and the Christian worker does well to give heed to what he says to these younger fellow-labourers. His letter to Titus may be divided into seven sections.

  1. Personal Salutation (1:1-4) .Paul’s personal address to his own son in the faith speaks of his personal responsibility to the Lord as a servant of God, acting at the command of God, reminding his friend of their common interest in God’s purpose in relation to them in the grace and mercy and peace which come from the Father and the Lord Jesus.
  2. Personal Supervision (1:5-9). A true bishop acting under the authority of the Spirit has authority to adjust matters which relate to the Lord’s service, as “the steward of God.” First, he is to see that he is qualified in his personal life; hence he is to be blameless in character, not self-willed, of an even temper, free from intoxicants, not to retaliate when injured, not to love money, and in relation to others he is to be a lover of hospitality, of good men; and as to his personal fitness for his office, he is to be sober, just, holy, and temperate, and to hold tenaciously to the Word which is committed to his care.
  3. Powerful Subjugation (1:10-16). Titus is reminded that he will come against those that profess great things, but deny the Lord in their inconsistent character and conduct. He is not to allow these to question the truth of God, but to rebuke them sharply to the end that they may be “sound in the faith.” Thus Paul reminds Titus that he is to set in order those who are vain talkers.
  4. Practical Shepherding (2:1-10). Paul tells Titus what his attitude is to be to those to whom he ministers; hence he is to speak those things which become “sound doctrine,” and to shepherd the aged men, the aged women, the young men, the young women, servants, and masters, and in all things to be a pattern of good works himself, and thus pastor and people are to adorn the doctrine of God in all things.
  5. Precious Supplies (2:11; 3:1-9). Titus is instructed by the apostle as to his teaching. He first reminds him of the seven golden links in the chain of grace which are summarized in the salvation which grace bestows; the instruction which grace gives; the hope that grace begets; the price which grace has paid; the end which grace had in redeeming from all iniquity; the acquirement which grace obtains in making God’s people his own; and the zeal which grace inspires. Paul charges Titus to see that he speaks and exhorts and rebukes with all authority, and ever to recognise the love of God and the renewing work of the Holy Spirit.
  6. Perverted Sinners (3:10,11). Titus is instructed how to deal with heretics. Toleration is not allowed when the truth of God and the ways of God are in question. Heretics are to be kindly admonished, but they are to be faithfully dealt with too.
  7. Partners Serving (3:12-15). Titus is reminded what his conduct and thought is to be in relation to his fellow labourers. Several of them are mentioned by name, and good works are to characterise one and all.

From this brief outline it will be seen how important it is to recognise the letter that Paul wrote to Titus, and how it illustrates the importance of recognising to whom a Scripture was written.

VI. Why a Scripture was Written.

The Spirit tells us in John 20:31 why the Gospel of John was written. “But these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in His Name.” There are four things to ponder in these pregnant words: the root, the tree, the blossom, and the fruit.

  • The Root. “But these are written.” The “signs” and things which are “written” in the Gospel of John are many. There are several fibrous roots found in what had been “written.” The Revelation of Christ’s Divine Personality as the Word (1:1-5); the Incarnation of Christ’s Becomingness in dwelling in the tabernacle of His humanity (1:14); the Exhibition of His manifested glory as seen in what He did (2:11); what He revealed (3:16) and promised (14:3); The Instruction He gave as identified with the double “verilys” of His utterance (1:51; 3:3,5,11; 5:19, 24,25; 6:26,32,47,53; 8:34,51,58; 10:1,7; 12:24; 13:16,120,21,38; 14:12; 16:20,23; 21:18); The impartation of the many gifts He bestowed as found in “My flesh (6:51), My peace (14:27), My glory (17:22,24); and the Expiation of His finished work on the Cross (3:14; 12:12-33); and the Might of His Resurrection (20:1-9). Here are roots from which the gigantic tree of Truth grows.
  • The Tree. What is said of Christ’s personality is the tree. It is said, “That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” The “Jesus” of Nazareth is the Sent One, and the Saviour of the world (3:16-18). He is “The Christ,” the Messiah of the Old Testament (4:42), the Anointed One with the Spirit (3:34), and the Sent One of the Father; and He is also “The Son of God,” God the Son, in His eternal existence, and as the Only Begotten One in His love, grace, power, the Embodiment of Deity.
  • The Blossom. The blossom is faith. The things were written that we might “believe” what is said about Christ. Faith embodies the assent of the mind, the consent of the will, and the accent of the life. Faith by the act of the will unites us to Christ, hence it is more than believing Christ, it believeth into Him. Faith in Him brings us to God, and God to us.
  • The Fruit. The fruit is life, Eternal Life. “His Name” stands for Himself, therefore, believing through His Name puts us in association with Him. The “life” of which the Apostle speaks, finds its Source in God, its Spring in Love, its Embodiment in Christ, its Power in the Holy Spirit, its Sustenance in the Word, its Sequence in Holiness, its Confession in Service, its Consummation in Glory, and its Channel in Faith.

How important it is to understand why the Word or any section was written. Pascal says, “There is light enough for those who wish to see.” Denison Maurice, writing to Charles Kingsley in 1849, declared, “The Bible is the history of a Deliverer… The Book brings us to the root of things, and there — is nothing, or there — is God.”

There arc certain claims the Scriptures make, and requirements for which they call.
    The first requirement is, The Recognition of the Bible being Inspired. The claim of the Book is, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16). Scripture means sacred writing. When we claim the Scripture is inspired we do not mean translations. Translators have made mistakes. We mean the original Scripture was the product of the Holy Spirit, and not the evolution of man’s thought. “Inspired of God” means “God-breathed,” or “God breathing.” The late Dr. Bishop, of America, once said, in speaking of the Bible itself being the greatest proof of its Divine origin, “The Scriptures are their own self evidence. We take the ground, the sun needs no critic — truth no diving bell. When the sun shines, He shines the sun. When God speaks, His evidence is in the accent of His words.”
    Throwing overboard all theories about inspiration, we must accept the fact of it. The contents of the Book prove Him Who wrote it, and the words are “Words which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (I Corinthians 2:13) Even those who have been tinged with modernism have to own there is that which is Divine. The late Archdeacon Farrer acknowledged “There are over a million and a quarter words in the New Testament and only about 1,300 of which are considered doubtful words. There are 17,000 in Matthew, and on a rough calculation only 17 of these are doubtful, leaving, 16,983 absolutely genuine words. In Matthew 24 there are 830 words in Greek, and only 5 of these are disputed words, thus leaving 825 words, respecting which there is little room for dispute or difference of opinion”; and the same writer affirms, “No disputed word is so vitally important, as to destroy the sense of Scripture.” Another critic owned to his students, “Take all we can away, there still remains the fact, it is the only message that meets human need.”
    As the greatest evidence of Christianity is the Christ, so the greatest proof of the Bible is the Bible.
    The second requirement is, we must have spiritual life to have the capacity to understand the Book. Illumination within is essential to comprehend the inspired Book without. We need eyes to see the sun, to see the sun that shines. Caroline Fry, out of her personal experience, was able to pen this testimony: “The Scriptures are good for me in sadness, for they are full of encouragement; good for me in doubt, for they are full of promise; good for me in carelessness, for they are full of warning; good for me in contrition for they are full of mercy; nay, they are good for me in any case, for they are full of Jesus.” When we know Him in faith, we receive spiritual life, and then we find we need His Word that the life may be nourished.
    The third requirement is a spiritual condition in the saint to understand the spiritual Book. For that spiritual Book is for a spiritual people to develop their spiritual life. Paul had to say to the unspiritual Christians in Corinth, that they were carnal, hence he had to remind them, “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. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:9,10). There is a minute form of life, called a Rotifer, which cannot be seen with the naked eye, but when the drop of muddy water, which is the world in which it lives, is placed under a microscope and a powerful light is turned upon it, the Rotifer is seen to be a perfect form of life, and is so transparent that its heart can be seen beating. As that minute form of life can be seen by means of the illuminated microscope, so as we walk in fellowship with God, He reveals His secrets to us, as He did to Moses, “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel ” (Psalm 103:7). They only knew His ways by His acts, but Moses knew God’s ways before He acted.
    The fourth requirement is, we need to see the Christ in the Book, to understand the Book of which the Christ speaks. We read of the disciples more than once, that not knowing the Scriptures, they did not understand the words and acts of Christ (John 2:22; 20:9), and after His resurrection He explained to the two disciples and the eleven, that His death and resurrection were but the fulfillment of the Scriptures (Luke 24:27,45), and John writing of the events associated with the death of Christ, again and again said of those events, they were that the Scripture might be fulfilled (John 19:24,28,30,36,37), and Christ’s own testimony was, “They are they which testify of Me.”
    What the notes are to music, what the egg is to the shell, what the kernel is to the nut, what the diamond is to the ring, what the life is to the tree, what the heart is to the body, what the sun is to the moon, so Christ is to the Bible. If He is taken away we have nothing but an empty sepulchre.
    There was once an artist who made a wonderful shield, and worked his own name so cleverly into it, that it could not be removed without destroying the shield. The Bible is like that shield, Christ is so identified with it, that the one cannot be taken away without destroying the other. The Living Word and the Written Word are so identified the one with the other that they cannot be separated. As we cannot have music without notes, eggs without shells, kernels without husks, diamond ring without ring, tree without life, body without heart, light of moon without sun, neither can we have the Christ apart from the Bible.
    This is proved if we call to mind one fact, namely, that which is applied to Christ is designated of the Bible.

“His name is called the Word of God” (Revelation 19:13).
“Pressed upon
Him to hear the Word of God” (Luke 5:1).

“I will be unto her a wall of fire” (Zechariah 2:5).
“My word like as a fire” (Jeremiah 23:29).

“His name shall be called Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6).
“Thy testimonies are wonderful” (Psalm 119:129)

“Worship Him that liveth for ever” (Revelation 4:10).
“The Word of
God liveth for ever” (I Peter 1:23).

“My Beloved… is chiefest among ten thousand” (Song of Solomon 5:10).
“The law of Thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72).

“A bone of Him shall not be broken” (John 19:36).
“The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

The fifth requirement is to be taught by Him Who inspired the Book. Three essential things are connected with and supplementary the one to the other, namely, the Christ explains God, the Word explains Christ, and the Spirit explains the Word. Of the Scriptures, Christ, and the Prophets, we read, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Peter 1:10,11). The prophets did not understand until they were taught, and when they were taught they knew. A personal acquaintance with the Author of the Book will give us to understand the contents of it. To know Him is to find them.
    The sixth requirement is to believe the Spirit resides in the Scriptures. An old Puritan has said, “The Holy Spirit always rides in the chariot of His Word.” Christ said of His words, “The words which I speak unto you they are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Professor Godet comments, “Christ’s words are not merely the means of communicating life, but the Holy Spirit is resident in the words.” The Word of God is living (Hebrews 4:12), therefore if we would have the life of the Word, we must be in touch with the Word of Life.
    The seventh requirement is a wholehearted study and search to know the meaning of the Scriptures. There are three words that have been translated “search” in the New Testament. The word “search” in John 5:39 and 7:52 means to seek out and is used of a lion which scours the country and traces the footsteps of the man who had robbed it; and is associated with Him Who is the Searcher of hearts, and the Spirit Who “searcheth the deep things of God” (Revelation 2:23; I Corinthians 2:10). The word “search” in Matthew 2:8, means to examine in order to verify, and is used of those who “enquire” to find out (Matthew 10:11), and also of one who wishes to “ask” about anything, that he may know (John 21:12). The third word is found in Acts 17:11, where there were Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily,” and means to divide, to make a distinction, to judge, to sift, and which results in a decision. This word is rendered “Examined” in Acts 28:18, “Discerned” in I Corinthians 2:14, “Asking question” in I Corinthians 10: 25, and “Judge” in I Corinthians 4:3. On the human side, it will therefore be seen, there has to be careful study, whole-hearted diligence, and spiritual discernment. A great leader of a religious organisation defined sin as follows: “Sin consists in doing that which we know to be wrong, inwardly or outwardly, or in not doing that which we know to be right.” He could not have put man’s consciousness of sin, if he had known that “sin is a missing of the mark of God’s requirement, or any want of conformity to the will of God,” and that the law said, “Though he wist it not, yet is he guilty.”
    The eighth requirement is to count upon the Holy Spirit to make true in our experience what is true for us in the Word. Professor Bonney, in speaking of the study of Geology, says: “The study of Geology has added much to the happiness of my life; it has taught me to appreciate more fully the beauties and marvels of nature; it has often restored me, when weary and jaded, to bodily health; it has helped me to bear those trials which are the common lot.”
    In a deeper and more satisfying sense, the child of God can say: “The reception of the Sacred Word by the Holy Spirit, has been the medium of the joy of my life; it has revealed to me the beauty and satisfying perfection of my Lord; it has ever been the channel of blessing in every condition; and it has ministered comfort and power as I have received it from Him, Who is its Author.”
    The ninth requirement is a consistent practice of what we have been taught, to enjoy what we know. This must be if we remember, “The Word” is the Bestower of Life (I Peter 1:23), the Revealer of Christ (John 5:39), the Giver of Assurance (I John 5:13), the Imparter of Joy (Jeremiah 15:16), the Inspirer of Prayer (John 15:7), the Sword of Victory (Ephesians 6:17), the Sanctifier of the Heart (John 17:17), the Feeder of the Soul (I Peter 2:2), the Equipper of the Servant (Acts 8:4), and the Plan for Guidance (Exodus 40: 16,19,21,23,25,27,29,32).

When thou hast read what Heaven hath writ,
Let thy best practice second it,
Then twice the precept read shall be,
First in the Book, and then in thee.”

Lastly, the spiritual truths of the Book can only be communicated by means of the Spiritual Power of the Spirit. “Comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Corinthians 2:13) has been rendered, “communicating spiritual things by means of spiritual power.” The live wire which communicates its power and moves the car, is only alive as it is connected with the powerhouse. The same principle holds good in the Lord’s service. Christ not only told His disciples to preach the Gospel, but to tarry till they were endued with power, that the Spirit might communicate it to others. Labour must be “in the Lord” or else it will be “in vain,” but it can never be “in vain” if it is “in the Lord.” The Spirit needs the work and us, but He needs us for His work, even as the cog wheels need each other to move the train on the Swiss mountain railway.
    What a different world there would be if we always followed the Inspired Scriptures and the Inspirer of them. What a different Church there would be if its behests were obeyed; and what different individuals we should be if we knew the Scriptures experimentally.
    We say of the Book what J. Cooke has done, “A nation would, indeed, be truly blessed, if it were governed by no other laws than those of this blessed Book. It is so complete a system that nothing can be added to it or taken from it. It contains everything needful to be known or done. It affords a copy for a king, and a rule for a subject; and gives instruction and counsel for a senate, authority and direction for a magistrate. It cautions a witness, requires an impartial verdict of a jury, and furnishes the judge with his sentence. It sets the husband as lord of the household and the wife as mistress of the table; tells him how to rule, and her how to manage. It entails honour to parents, and enjoins obedience to children. It prescribes and limits the sway of the sovereign, the rule of the ruler, and the authority of the master; commands the subjects to honour, and the servants to obey; and promises the blessing and protection of the Almighty to all that walk by its rules. It gives directions for weddings and for burials. It promises food and raiment, and limits the use of both. It points out a faithful and eternal guardian to the departing husband and father — tells him with whom to leave his fatherless children, and in whom his widow is to trust, — and promises a father to the former, and a husband to the latter. It teaches a man how to set his house in order, and how to make his will; it appoints a dowry for his wife, and entails the right of the firstborn, and shows how the younger shall be left. It defends the right of all, and reveals vengeance to every defaulter, over-reacher and oppressor.
    “It is the first Book, the best Book, and the oldest Book in the world. It contains the choicest matter — gives the best instruction; affords the greatest pleasure and satisfaction that ever was enjoyed. It contains the best laws, and the most profound mysteries that were ever penned. It brings the best tidings, and affords the best of comfort, to the enquiring and disconsolate. It exhibits life and immortality from everlasting, and shows the way to glory. It is a brief recital of all that is past, and a certain prediction of all that is to come. It settles all matter in debate, resolves all doubts, and eases the mind and conscience of all their scruples. It reveals the only living and true God, and shows the way to Him, and sets aside all other gods, and describes the vanity of them, and all that trust in such. In short, it if a Book of laws, to show right and wrong; a Book of wisdom, that condemns all folly, and makes the foolish wise; a Book of truth, that detects all lies, and confutes all errors; and a Book of life, that shows the way from everlasting death.
    “It is the most compendious Book in the world — the most authentic, and the most entertaining history that ever was published. It contains the most ancient antiquities, strange events, wonderful occurrences, heroic deeds, unparalleled wars. It describes the celestial, terrestrial, and infernal worlds, and the origin of the angelic myriads, human tribes, and devilish legions. It will instruct the accomplished mechanic and the most profound artist. It teaches the best rhetorician, and exercises every power of the most skilful arithmetician; puzzles the wisest anatomist, and exercises the nicest critic. It corrects the vain philosopher, and confutes the wise astronomer. It exposes the subtle sophist, and makes diviners mad. It is a complete code of laws, a perfect body of divinity, and unequalled narrative — a Book of lives — a Book of travels, and a Book of voyages. It is the best covenant that ever was agreed on — the best deed that ever was sealed — the best evidence that ever was produced — the best will that ever was made, and the best testament that ever was signed. To understand it, is to be wise indeed, to be ignorant of it, is to be destitute of wisdom.
    “It is the king’s best copy, the magistrate’s best rule, the housewife’s best guide, the servant’s best directory, and the young man’s best companion. It is the schoolboy’s spelling book, and the learned man’s masterpiece. It contains a choice grammar for a novice, and a profound mystery for a sage. It is the ignorant man’s dictionary, and the wise man’s directory. It affords knowledge of witty inventions for the humorous, and dark sayings for the grave, and is its own interpreter. It encourages the wise, the warrior, the swift, the overcomer; and promises an eternal reward to the excellent, the conqueror, the winner and the prevalent. And that which crowns all, is that the Author is without partiality, and without hypocrisy, ‘in Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.'”
    So we say of this wondrous Book,

Yes, ’tis a mine of precious jewelry,
The Book of God; a well of streams divine!
But who would wish the riches of that mine
To make his own; his thirst to satisfy
From that pure well; must ear, eye, soul, apply;
On precept, precept scan, and line on line;
Search, ponder, sift, compare, divide, combine,
For truths that oft beneath the surface lie.
Yes; there are things which he who runs may read
Nor few there are, which yield a harder part,
To mark, discern, and know. With cautious heed,
‘Tis God’s command, survey the safety’s chart;
Lest arduous things, distorted, death-ward lead
The mind unlearn’d, and the unstable heart.

This page Copyright © 1998 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: https://www.peterwade.com/. Check out our Bookstore.

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