Understanding The Word

What explains Scripture? It is the Spirit of God alone. His power can unfold any part of the Word of God. Do you ask if I mean to say that it is of no importance to know languages, understand history and so on? I am not raising a question about learning; it has its use. But I deny that history is the interpreter of Scripture.

And if there are Christians who know the history of the world, or the original tongues of Scripture, it is the Lord Jesus Christ that has to do with their spiritual intelligence, and not their knowledge or learning. Besides, even if men are believers, it does not necessarily follow that they understand all Scripture.

Real entrance into God’s mind, in Scripture, supposes that a person watches against the “old man,” desires the glory of God, has full confidence in His Word, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The understanding of Scripture is not a mere intellectual process. The mind is only the vessel, not the power. The power is the Holy Spirit, acting upon and through the vessel; but it must be the Spirit that gives one to know the things of God (1 Cor 2:11). “They shall be taught of God.”

There is a great difference in the measure of the teaching, because there is much difference in the measure of dependence upon the Father. The important thing is to bear in mind that the understanding of the Word of God depends much more upon what is moral than what is of the mind; upon a single eye to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit can never give us anything to save us from the necessity of dependence and waiting upon our Father, but that He does give us.

We find Daniel expressing in humbleness of mind his unfitness for receiving such communications. First, one like the similitude of the sons of men touches his lips, and he is instructed to speak unto the Lord. He confesses his weakness, that there is no strength left in him. But “there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, and said, “O man, greatly beloved, fear not. Peace be into thee; be strong, yea, be strong.”

Men, until they are thoroughly established in peace, until their hearts know the real source of strength, are not capable of profiting by the Word of God. Here we find Daniel set upon his feet, his mouth opened, his fears hushed, before the Lord can open out the Word to him. His heart must be in restful peace in the strength of the Lord, and in the presence of his Father.

Anxiety of spirit, the want of settled peace, has more to do than people think with the little progress that they make in understanding much of God’s Word. It is not enough that a man have life and the Spirit of God; but there must be a breaking down of the flesh (flesh - old man; sinful nature – NC) and simple, peaceful resting in the Lord Jesus – the knowing of who and where we are in Him.

- W M Kelly