|Volume 19 Number 2 February 2017||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Second Samuel 23:2 reads, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue” (NKJV). This statement asserts “direct and immediate inspiration” and “directly inspired” words (Clarke). The apostle Peter claimed no less “direct and immediate inspiration” and “directly inspired” words for the Old Testament prophets, and by implication for the New Testament prophets as well. “…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” (2 Peter 1:20-21). In particular, Jesus Christ validated the Holy Spirit inspired prophetic words of David (Matthew 22:41-45; Mark 12:35-37), which includes 2 Samuel 23:2. The apostle Peter also specifically authenticated David as a divinely inspired prophet (Acts 2:25-36).
The declaration, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue,” teaches verbal, plenary, divine inspiration for even the original language words that comprise the Bible. The same omnipotence by which God conveyed His Word to humanity is amply competent to preserve it for posterity, too, in the contemporary dialects of mankind today. Not every Bible translation, though, fairly and accurately represents God’s message to humankind.
“One’s understanding of inspiration is critical to the understanding of Scripture…” (O’Dell 1), but proper appreciation for divine inspiration is no less important among those who collaborate to render into modern languages the Holy Word of God. On this count, some of the popular translations of the Bible available today are on bad footing at the outset, and the production is only to be received with extreme caution and with justifiable suspicion.
Both testaments of the Bible overflow with verses of Scripture that justify confidence in the divinely inspired word choice and completeness of the Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God regularly and ordinarily throughout the centuries “spoke through the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70).
The very words to deliver God’s message to men were preselected by the Almighty. “…These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:6). “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12). “…The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak” (Numbers 22:38; 23:12).
Therefore, when one has the appropriate respect for the inspiration of the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ will be viewed neither as a dead letter nor as merely a collection of optional suggestions. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God…” (1 Peter 4:11). When a preacher or a teacher presents a Scripture-filled lesson where the verses are applied faithfully, those who properly revere the Word of God will acknowledge Bible teaching as the Word of God rather than simply the opinion of some contemporary presenter or perhaps the uninspired personal viewpoint of the biblical writer. “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). If we have a correct view of biblical inspiration, we will admit that it is a trustworthy proclamation of God’s Word when we hear it—whether we like it or not (2 Timothy 4:2). If we have sufficient courage and conviction, we will apply the Word of God to our lives (Luke 6:46) and persuade others with it also (2 Corinthians 5:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:2).
Clarke, Adam. Clarke’s Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.
O’Dell, Barry. “Prompted by God.” Fulton County Gospel News. September-October 2015. Vol. 49, No. 5. 1-2.
Forget Not All His Benefits
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
The Psalmist of long ago declared, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2). Surely one of the great themes of the Psalms is praise and adoration. I love to study the wonderfully inspired Psalms because each time I do, my heart is filled with a greater desire to thank God and praise His great name. The above Psalm reminds us to “…forget not all his benefits.” The word “benefits” as is used here refers to “that which has been given.” On a daily basis, God “…loadeth us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19). Surely one of the greatest tragedies would be to forget the benefits or blessings that God gives. Hezekiah made that terrible mistake, and God’s wrath was kindled against him for his forgetfulness (2 Chronicles 32:25). Nine lepers that were healed by Jesus forgot to praise and thank the Master as well, and Jesus took note (Luke 17:15-18). Our lives are truly loaded with daily benefits! Consider with me just a few…
Firstly, there is the daily benefit of help. Life upon earth, at times, can be very difficult. Without help, life can be unbearable. However, we have the guarantee that God’s help is available to the faithful. David, when faced with great trouble, declared, “Behold God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul” (Psalm 54:4). Interestingly, David was writing of a time when the Ziphites betrayed him out to Saul (1 Samuel 23:19; 26:1). David felt as though he had no help, no encouragement, and yet, he realized that God was his help. The writer of Hebrews boldly reminded his readers, “…The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what men shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). Paul encouraged Timothy with this very thought as well. “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Timothy 4:16-17). To know and be assured that God will always be there for us, no matter what comes our way, is a daily benefit that should thrill our very souls!
Secondly, there is the daily benefit of hope. Sadly, I meet people day by day that have no hope, nothing for which to look forward. To the Christian, however, he lives each day filled with hope! The hope of knowing that my sin is forgiven is a great benefit. Guilt and shame inundate the lives of those who have never been forgiven. However, those who have met the blood of the Savior, can “look the world in the eyes” because their sins are “remembered no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34). God reminded His people of old, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV). Paul commanded that we “rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12). To enjoy the daily benefit of hope not only makes tomorrow bearable, but makes tomorrow enjoyable (Romans 15:13)!
Thirdly, there is the daily benefit of home. Surely one of the greatest joys in life is to have a place to call home. No matter how difficult the day, happiness ensues when we arrive at home. However, this home on earth is only temporary. Can you imagine the happiness that will overwhelm us when we get to our permanent home? Jesus spoke of this home to calm His anxious disciples (John 14:1-4). The patriarchs of old remained faithful because they desired a better home (Hebrews 11:16). When you go on vacation, although the trip may be enjoyable, the destination is what keeps you motivated. Similarly, the Christian life, although filled with daily benefits, pales in comparison to the destination above. Sometimes I grow homesick for heaven and the glories I there shall behold. What a joy it will be when my Savior I see in that beautiful city of gold! The daily benefit of home keeps us on the journey.
We serve an amazing God! He cares and provides for our daily needs. He extends mercy when we fail. The Psalmist knew that God was worthy to be praised. Dear readers, the God that the Psalmist praised is the same God whom we should praise. As you pillow your head tonight, oh please, “forget not all his benefits”! Thank you God for all you do!