No One's Own Letting Loose
IN THE BEGINNING
As a Christian, what is your opinion of the Bible?
Some people, including those who may consider themselves Christians, feel that of all the holy books, the Christian Bible is the one that they are most comfortable with to claim as their most important influence.
Many Christians, meaning many who proclaim themselves as followers of Jesus, feel that the Bible has many parts that "speak to them." They feel that of all of Man's works, the Bible has many truths or many philosophies that they find attractive.
Others feel that the Bible contains the Truth we need, mixed in with things that the writers added. They may feel it is the only source for truth, but that it is up to people to decipher that truth. After all, men wrote it so it has to have error.
Some go as far as to believe that the Bible, as God's Word, is infallible regardless of the translations and transcriptions.
What, however, does the Bible testify of itself? What does it say it is, where does it say it came from?
John 1:1-2: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
"The same was in the beginning with God."
These two verses testify of what Scripture has to say regarding the concept that is called "the Word of God."
The word "Word" in this scripture is in the old Greek texts the word "logos." Young's defines "logos as "a word, speech, matter, reason."
"Reason" is "logic." "Logos" is the word we get "logic" from, and the suffix "logy" meaning "science. "Logos" is also defined as "communication," as in the communication of one's thoughts. This too is "reason."
"Logos" also connotes "communication," literally, "the communication of reason," hence, "a word, speech, matter, reason."
When John says here "In the beginning was the logos," he was saying that when all things were put together in the beginning, this reason, this logic, was there. This flowery speech also is telling us it was with an end being that God's reason would be communicated.
Then John records that this "logos," this rationale, was with God.
Well, of course it was. One hopes logic, reasoning, rationale is with oneself when one acts. God created all things in the beginning with reason, with logic.
"With" is the Greek word "pros," meaning "with" or "near." God did not do these things detached from a greater reason, and this reason will be communicated, will be made clear.
Then John goes on to record that this reason, this logic, was God.
Is your rationale a part of you?
Of course it is. God is as much His logic, His rationale as you are yours, and that rationale is as much a part of God as your reason is a part of you.
All this, God, His rationale, His desire to communicate it with others, all this was in the beginning with God. In two little verses, using precise language and figures of speech, John reveals enough information to perhaps fill a book all by itself.
We certainly find out that what we refer to as "the Word of God" contains God's rationale, and it contains His communication to us, and it contains the very purpose of Creation.
Whether the Bible contains pieces of this, or whether when originally given all the Scriptures were the Word, God seems to think His Word contains a great deal...if this Bible is true.
Does it not therefore behoove us to take the utmost care in deciphering the Bible to see if it truly contains this wonderful Word of God?
Psalms 12:6-7: “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
“Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
When silver is smelted, the dross, the impurities, carbonize and rise to the surface or sink to the bottom.
The top is scraped, the stuff on bottom is left in the smelter pot, the silver is purified.
God’s words are said to be purified seven times, that any impurities are removed.
Again, we see how seriously God takes not just His Word, His logos, but how seriously He takes the individual words in that Word.
Not only is the “big picture” of God’s Word important, the details are as well.
Jer. 26:2: “Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:”
“Diminish not a word,” God says. When we approach the Word of God, we are not even supposed to diminish a single word.
It does not simply say, “remove not a word.” We are not even supposed to diminish, to make less effective, even a single word. Does God seem to take even the details of His Word, His logos, seriously?
Psalm 138:2: “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
How highly does God think of His name?
Duet. 18:20: “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.”
He thinks so highly of His name that His people Israel could not speak falsely in His name, or in the name of false Gods.
But He said He has magnified His Word above His name.
If we are not to diminish a single word in that Word, is it not important for us to do our best to attempt to get as accurate an understanding of that Word as possible, even to the words it is made of?
THE WRITTEN WORD
Exod. 4:10-12: “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
“And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”
Moses was the first man known to have written down the Scriptures. While he was not the first man known to have received words from God, his walk with God was well recorded. How did he receive the words from God?
Moses was commanded by God to go to Israel as God’s spokesman. He complained that he wasn’t very eloquent.
God responded by saying, “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”
God told Moses He would teach Moses what to say.
Did God err? Was He not able to find someone who would parrot Him? That would not diminish even the words?
God said “I will be with thy mouth.” What a promise. “And teach thee what to say.” What a teacher!
Exod. 20:1 & 24:4: “And God spake all these words, saying…
“…And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
God spoke and Moses wrote.
Is that hard?
How many of the words God spoke in these four chapters did Moses write? This Scripture reveals he wrote “all the words of the Lord.”
Not some, not most, not all of them interspersed by commentary.
God spoke, Moses wrote. It was that simple.
Have you ever dictated a letter and had the person you were dictating to read it back so you could correct it?
If you can correct your writer, how much more can God?
Isa. 55:10-11: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
See? God promises He will cause the word that goes forth from His mouth to prosper.
It will accomplish what He pleases. Doesn’t that jibe with what we saw in John 1, that the Word was the “rationale” of the beginning, i.e., the Creation itself? According to God’s rationale?
Thus it is with the word that God gives to be written.
When Jehoiakim king of Judah burned the word of the Lord Baruch had written at the mouth of Jeremiah, what did God say to Jeremiah?
Jer. 36:27-28: “Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,
“Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.”
People want to say, “Men wrote it, so it has to have error.”
They are forgetting just Who is doing the dictating.
2 Pet. 1:19-21: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
“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.”
Peter recorded that Jesus had a sure word of prophesy assuring him he was who God had declared him to be. After all, a voice from Heaven declared, “This is my beloved son.”
But like a light shining through darkness, we have a more sure word of prophesy than even a voice from heaven, for the prophesy we have, the recorded word of God.
Why is this recorded word more sure?
Because it did not come by the will of men. Moses did not decide to write his memoirs, some of which recalled some of what God had said.
He was moved by the Holy Ghost. “The Holy Ghost” is “the pnuema hagion,” literally, by “the holy spirit.”
God is the Holy Spirit, and by Him saying “write such and such,” and then the people writing all God told them to write, we got the Word of God.
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
This is important. Regarding our opinion of Scriptures, we are to know what first?
The word “interpretation” is from the Greek “epiluso,” meaning, “letting loose.”
“Private” is from “idios,” meaning “one’s own.”
Literally, this says “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any one’s own letting loose, 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 Spirit.”
Genesis through Exodus did not come about because one day, Moses decided to “let it loose, let it out.”
God told Moses to write, and God told Moses what to write.
Jeremiah did not decide that he had a few good ideas how Israel should behave. God told him to write, and what to write.
Jeremiah wrote as he was “moved by the Holy Spirit.”
What about the New Testament?
Some say it isn’t accurate. Some say it is at best a little of God’s words interspersed with the early Church Fathers’ personal opinion.
Luke 1:1-3: “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
“Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
“It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,”
Luke says many were trying to write a declaration of the faith of the Church. They were, perhaps contrary to being moved by the Holy Spirit, they were writing by their own will, they were writing their “own letting loose.”
Luke, however, says his knowledge was “from the very first, Theophilus.”
So commentaries and preachers claim he felt more qualified because he was with Jesus from the very first.
But “Theophilus” is not the name of a single believer, it is a word meaning “beloved (philus) of God (theo.)” The words “from the very first” likewise are poorly translated. These four words are all translated from the Greek word “anothen,” which means “from above.”
Thus, we find “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from above, to write unto thee in order, most excellent beloved of God.”
He had perfect understanding. Where does perfect understanding come from? Not from one’s own experience.
Luke did not decide, like the others, of his own will to make a declaration of faith. It seemed good to him only because he had “perfect understanding from above,” because he was moved, like the Old Testament prophets, by the Holy Spirit.
No wonder some commentators want to tell us Luke was written long after Luke was dead. They tell us this because our oldest fragments are from a century later.
But we only have copies. Luke is either “from above,” or it is a lie from below. Remember Dueteronomy 18:20, that a prophet speaking falsely in the name of God should die?
But Luke was quoted by early Church Fathers as part of Scripture, and it was included as holy writ the same way.
Rom. 16:25-26: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”
Paul recorded that his gospel was by revelation of the mystery. He said it was made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets made known to all nations.
What prophets made the mystery made known?
Not the writers of the Old Testament Scriptures, because the mystery had been a secret to them.
This refers to the New Testament prophets, those that received their perfect understanding from above, and by revelation unveiled the mystery.
Gal. 1:11-12: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Paul said he got his information by “revelation of Jesus Christ.”
He either lied or he told the truth.
His works were either the pure words of God, or they were just another collection of stuff.
It certainly stands to reason that if they are indeed the word of God, that we should do our best to understand them not according to our convenience, but as God intended.
2 Tim.2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Study, it says.
You do it.
“Study” means “make diligent effort.”
To obey this word of God will take effort.
But it can be done.
Any honest work will admit there are obstacles.
As we have seen, the translations are not always accurate.
But there are tools to help us. There are Bible Dictionaries, Concordances, Interlinears, other works that allow you to “look up” the intended meaning that God gave us.
To say it cannot be done is to say God is a liar.
Psalm 100:5: “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
His truth endures to all generations. We have to make the effort.
Eph. 1:17-19: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,”
It is available for us to have wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.
We cannot do this, we cannot understand the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began, without God working in us.
With His spirit in us, as we obey and as we make a diligent effort, it is impossible that we will remain unlearned of His truth.
No wonder the unbelievers reject the holy Scriptures as myths and legends, as things made up, some man’s own letting loose, brought about by the will of fallible Man.
They cannot understand what it truly means.
1 Cor. 2:14: “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.”
But we have the spirit which is from God, if be that we have accepted Jesus as Lord and have believed that God has raised him from the dead.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”
God gave Paul this revelation of the mystery, this revelation of the secret, so that when we read, we of the Church, we can understand his knowledge.
Eph. 3:5: “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”
See? It is NOW revealed to His apostles and prophets, “now” starting with those of Paul’s day, which was shortly after the ascension of Christ.
Eph. 3:6-8: “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”
Did the Old Testament prophets understand that the Gentiles would share in the riches of Christ? No, it was kept secret. That is why Paul calls this secret “unsearchable riches.”
The extent of the outpouring of holy spirit on Pentacost, the Body of Christ, the true power of the resurrection, all these were secret, but now we can read and understand.
Eph. 3:9: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
We do not have to be blind of the truths, we can see. The fellowship of the mystery was hid, but now we can see.
It says these things were hid in God, who created all things. (The words, “by Jesus Christ,” are omitted in most texts because they were a later addition to Scriptural records, sometime in the 16th Century A.D.)
What was with God in the beginning, when He created all things?
His logos, His reasoning.
ETERNAL PURPOSE REVEALED
Eph. 3:10-11: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: “
NOW we can see the wisdom, the logic, the rationale that was with God in the beginning regarding the mystery, but kept hidden with Him until first revealed to Paul.
Eph. 3:12: “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. “
When God was putting together Creation, back in the beginning, He had an eternal purpose, a secret purpose. He had a secret wisdom, a hidden logic.
Regarding the secret now revealed, we can know. It has been given us.
We have tools to get past what Man has diminished in Scripture, plus most importantly, we have the gift of God, the holy spirit of promise.
John 16:12-13: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
The Old Testament was written so that natural men not having the spirit of God could adhere to its rules.
That written regarding the mystery can only make total sense to those walking in the spirit, familiar with it and familiar with the Christ it came through. Then, and only then, will we be guided to “all truth.”
Surely, being in this flesh, we still see darkly as through a glass, but we still can see if we only let the light of truth shine.
What will it be?
1 Tim 2:3-4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
The Bible is not merely a good book containing the words of wise men, it is the transcription of the holy Scriptures given to the prophets.
It did not come about because men felt it good, by their will, to write a declaration regarding the faith, but because holy men of God acted as they were moved by the Holy Spirit of God.
And while there have been translation and transcription errors we should be aware of, we saw some in this study, God’s Word is revealed to us through the Bible as we study it and obey it to our best ability.
How well you will do spiritually as a Christian will largely depend upon how willing you are to study to show yourself approved to God, and how willing you are to walk out on that which the spirit reveals to you.
R. Scott Stewart
Free Christian Ministry