Church of Christ
Mission USA

Holy Spirit: Study Guidelines And Scholars

(Part 2, Holy Spirit series; will be intermittent)

by Perry Sexton

            Please recall that I had asked a brother the following question back in February 2010: “Please explain exactly how the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits.”  His statement was in the context of him “proving” the personal indwelling.  From his forthcoming commentary, part of the brother’s copied answer was: “The Spirit leads by his inspired word (Eph. 6:17), and by the mysterious “nudgings” of providence (cf. Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9).”  I had asked you to “Please study his statement and verses.”  I had concluded the verses cited by him by no means prove what he states.  I trust that you came to the same conclusion; I know that many of you did by your answers to me by email.

            Brethren, there is a great danger of us taking a scholar’s word for a matter without ever looking at his proof texts for ourselves.  It may be someone (or a school) we have great respect for and has a great name in the brotherhood, but that by no means releases us from the divine edict to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).  Sometimes I think what some brethren say is “proof” enough for some among us.  I was made especially aware of this about a year ago when exchanging emails with a fellow preacher who holds to the personal indwelling view.  He kept on referring to his “mentors.”  The bottom line is he never did answer all of my questions and arguments as he agreed to do up front.  In fact, he answered very little.  As I asked him: Must we be Greek scholars to understand God’s Word?  He did not answer, but my answer is NO.  I believe doctrinal matters can be proven without the use of Greek.  Can the Greek help?  Yes, when used correctly.  Must we rely on “our scholars” for the answers to our questions?  No, we all have God’s Word which can be understood.  If we must have scholars before we can know the truth on a matter, then how do we know who the real scholars are and of their integrity?  And for one to proclaim another to be the brotherhood’s scholar is completely irresponsible.  Are some scholars among us trying to take the Bible from us?  Advocating, ever so subtly, that we cannot understand the Bible without their help (cp. 2 Cor. 11:13,14; Phil. 3:2; Titus 1:10; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:13, etc.).   

            Let us consider some verses and points that every one of us would do well to remember and always employ whenever we study any subject:

1)      Search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), don’t just assume the references cited prove the writer’s point, etc. 

2)      Have a strong desire for truth (1 Peter 2:2; 3:18; Mat. 5:6; 7:7; 2 Tim. 2:15).

3)      “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).  Of course, by the Word of God.

4)      “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; …” (1 Peter 4:11), not quoting some scholar.

5)      “… learn not to go beyond the things which are written; ….” (1 Cor. 4:6 ASV 1901); compare:

         “… learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, ….” (1 Cor. 4:6 KJV).

6)      “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us …” (Deut. 29:29).  We would do very well to remember this.

7)      Never add to or take away from the word of God. Never allow others to do it for you! (Rev. 22:18,19).

8)      We must have authority for everything we do and teach (Col. 3:17): book, chapter, and verse (BCV).

9)      We must know who is speaking and to whom and how it applies to us.

10)  We must remember that Bible times were miraculous times – from cover to cover!  It seems many brethren forget this, willingly or otherwise, and thus get caught up in error, especially concerning the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

11)  As much as we appreciate what the restoration preachers did and the great debt we owe them, we must realize they are not the standard of authority and that they were coming out of denominational error.  In my opinion, the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit is one error some never overcame. 

12)  Having studied the Word of God correctly and understanding it, we then must have the courage and love of God to obey Him in all things even if it means standing against brethren and our “scholars.” 
 
         We should desire unity (Eph. 4:3), but never at the expense of sound doctrine!  Remember: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).  ♥
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2010, 7 SW    The Fruits Of Error On The Holy Spirit    (Part 1, Holy Spirit series; will be intermittent)
 
2010, 10 SW    Where Is The Bases For The Holy Spirit Personally Indwelling The Christian?    (Part 3, Holy Spirit series; will be intermittent)