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Sabbath School Insights
2017 Quarter 1: Jan. - Mar
Insight #1 January 7, 2017
First Quarter 2017 Adult Sabbath School Lesson
"The Spirit and The Word"
January 7, 2017
The lessons this quarter can be summed up regarding the Holy Spirit, His Personhood and His work. Our lesson before us this week is about His role in inspiration and revelation. Revelation – inspiration is not a word for word dictation by the Holy Spirit, except on rare occasions such as in the giving of the ten commandments by God – in both speech and written form. Another exception is in the inspired time prophecies as revealed in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
The Ten Commandments were spoken by God Himself, and were written by His own hand. They are of divine, and not human composition. But the Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that 'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us' (John 1:14). 1SM 25.
Revealed truth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, does not exclude the human element in the process of revelation – inspiration. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in conveying His thoughts to chosen men and women, who in turn communicate these messages from God to other humans both by word and by written form. It is the Holy Spirit who declares to man “what is His thought” (Amos 4:13, KJV). His thoughts are joined to human language and thus are the inspired word of God revealed to us. This involvement of the Holy Spirit in inspiration and revelation reveals that He is a Person.
There are three faculties a person must possess. These are: intelligence, emotions, and will. A thing or an influence lacks these. The Holy Spirit is neither a thing nor an influence because He has intelligence, emotions, and will:
1) The Holy Spirit knows the things of God. This takes intelligence (1 Cor 2:10–11). Paul also speaks of “the mind of the Spirit” (Rom 8:27);
2) The Holy Spirit has emotions. He can be grieved (Eph 4:30);
3) The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts “as He wills” (1 Cor 12:11).
The Holy Spirit does possess the characteristics of a person. And as a Person He is directly involved in inspiration and revelation. He inspires prophets to speak and to write the thoughts He gives them. His thoughts are revealed in human words. A word is simply a thought made audible. Creation, as well as Scripture, expresses God’s thoughts of love, mercy and compassion. In addition, the thought of God is revealed in Christ Jesus who is “the Word of God” (John 1:1, 14). He is God’s audible thought as stated in The Desire of Ages: “He was the Word of God,--God's thought made audible” (p. 19). What we have, in this paragraph, God’s threefold library of revelation – nature, Scripture and Jesus. Jesus clearly is the supreme revelation of God’s thoughtful mind and is testified to both in nature and Scripture.
Again, in regard to Scripture, God’s thoughts are “conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.” (1SM 26). The phrase “imperfect expression” acknowledges that revealed truth (truth inaccessible to humans apart from direct revelation), may be conveyed adequately. Revealed truth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, does not exclude the human element in the process of revelation – inspiration.
Think of this! Man’s imperfect language is used by sinful persons for sinful purposes, yet the Spirit of God condescends to place His thoughts within our language in order to communicate His thoughts thus purifying the minds of believers. This same union, of the divine with the human, is revealed in the incarnation of Christ. He took our flesh of sin which is used for sinful purposes and condemned sin in our flesh in order that the righteousness of His holy law might be fulfilled in us as we walk according to the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:3-4).
We will conclude this Insight with an application. As the Bible is believed and accepted by a lost sinner, this inspired word of the Holy Spirit brings about a spiritual “new birth” experience (1 Peter 1:23; John 3:5). This is a change inside the believer. This change is then seen in his outward behavior. As the believer grows in grace he knows personally that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) as revealed to him. Have you responded positively to the Holy Spirit and His revelation – inspiration? If not, why not do so now?