Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Holy Spirit and the Scriptures (1)

I take a fairly simplistic approach to the scriptures. I just assume that the Holy Spirit got everything that he wanted into the book.

He gave the authors lots of freedom. Their writing style reflected their personalities. They put in lots of personal stuff and bits of their family history that are not very important. However, the Holy Spirit ensured that they got the key stuff right.

The actual text was written by humans, so understanding the objectives and culture of the author may sometimes be helpful for translating and interpreting the Bible. For example, it is helpful to understand that Matthew used the expression Kingdom of Heaven because he was writing for Jewish readers.

My key question when interpreting the scriptures is “What is the Holy Spirit saying in this passage?” This question leads to real insights.

The Holy Spirit's meaning is not limited to the understanding of the author. The Holy Spirit sometimes put ideas in the author’s heads that they did not fully comprehend. They sometimes thought they understood what they were writing, but the Holy Spirit was using them unwittingly to communicate something they did not understand.

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