The Greatest Teacher: The Holy Spirit
- Summary: I was ordained an Ephesians 4:11 Bible teacher in 1975, at Anchorage’s Abbott Loop Christian Center. I am humbled and thankful to the Lord for the privilege of representing Him in that ministry capacity. I have great respect for my fellow Bible teachers, Sunday School instructors, teaching pastors, and others who preach, teach, and share the holy Word of God. But there is one supremely great Teacher over all of us who handle God’s Word and over all believers, and that is the Holy Spirit. Every minister and student of the Word must be fully subject to the Spirit’s teaching and guidance as we handle the Scriptures.
Nehemiah 9:20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.
Referring back to God’s many blessings of the nation in their wilderness wanderings and afterwards, Israel confessed: “You gave your good Spirit to instruct them.” With respect and deference to their human leaders (originally Moses and Aaron), they looked beyond even those notable men to the one Great Teacher, the perfect Instructor of God’s people—the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity. As co-equal with the Father and Jesus the Son (“the Word” - John 1:1), the Holy Spirit was and always is uniquely and perfectly qualified to impart the mind, heart, and wisdom of God to His people. That is still true today. Caution: I’m not saying He will inspire new Scriptures today; He won’t. But the divine Inspirer of the Bible that we do have is the only One fully capable of illuminating us as to exactly what God is revealing in those holy writings.
2 Peter 1:20-21, NKJV …knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Peter firmly declared that Scripture did not come by any man’s private interpretation. No, but rather “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” We have the 66 books of the Bible — the Old (39 books) and New Testaments (27 books) — because the Spirit of God “moved” upon the likes of Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the apostles John, Peter, Paul, and others. These Bible writers were “instructed” by God’s Spirit, they were “moved” upon and “spoke from God” (NIV) those 66 books of Scripture that are God’s written revelation to us.
Ponder this truth: if the Holy Spirit perfectly inspired the Scriptures, He is by definition the Perfect Teacher qualified to instruct us in their true meaning. And He will faithfully do this in two God-ordained ways:
1) He will use spiritually gifted, God-called ministers (who themselves are listening to the Spirit) to help God’s people learn and grow in God’s revealed Word:
- Ephesians 4:11-13 And He [Christ] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
2) He will directly illuminate the Scriptures to each individual Christian, as we read and study God’s Word with a heart and mind open to the Spirit’s teaching, while setting aside our preconceptions, biases, and private interpretations.
- 1 John 2:20, 27b But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth… [27b] But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
In sum: The Holy Spirit of God is the great Instructor of His people. It was He who inspired holy men of God to write down the Scriptures as they “were moved by the Holy Spirit.” And the Spirit of God will help each of us to learn God’s revealed Word and grow in maturity through its beneficial influence in and upon us. We can receive this Holy-Ghost illumination two ways: 1) through Spirit-anointed ministries who continually seek divine illumination to preach and teach God’s Word; and 2) in our own personal Bible reading and study, as we open our hearts, minds, and spirits to the Holy Spirit’s perfect teaching of the Scriptures He perfectly inspired. It’s not just one or the other, but the combination of the input of godly ministries plus your own diligent study, that allows the Holy Spirit to function in your life as the Greatest of All Teachers.
In conclusion: My wife and I have both been saved and have studied the Bible for 50+ years. Even more now than ever before, we are acutely aware that we need the Holy Spirit’s illumination every time we open God’s Word. In fact, before any reading of the Scriptures I always pray Psalm 119:18 or similar words: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” I encourage each of you to pray the same. The results will bless you!
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©2020, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible
Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.