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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit: How He Works

Don Stewart :: What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Relation to Interpreting the Scripture?

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What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Relation to Interpreting the Scripture?

The Holy Spirit: How He Works – Question 4

The Holy Spirit is not only the ultimate author behind Scripture, He is also the divine interpreter of Scripture. Who better to interpret a book than the one who wrote it? A number of observations need to be made about this important point.

The Holy Spirit Would Help the Disciples Remember and Understand the Teachings of Jesus

We are told that Jesus promised His disciples that there would come a time when they would remember and understand everything what He had taught them. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus made the following statement to them.

But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you (John 16:4 NRSV).

They would remember the words He had told them.

This remembrance would come about through the direct work of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised the following.

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:25, 26 TNIV).

Thus, one of the ministries of God’s Spirit was to remind Jesus’ disciples of His exact words and deeds.

The Holy Spirit Must Interpret Scripture

The Apostle Paul also emphasized that the Holy Spirit must be the One to interpret the things of God. Paul wrote.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God’s deep secrets. No one can know what anyone else is really thinking except that person alone, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means (1 Corinthians 2:9-14 NLT).

According to this passage it is the Spirit of God alone that can take the things of Christ and make them understandable and meaningful to the believer. Those without the Holy Spirit will consider the truth of God as something foolish.

Consequently, to properly interpret Scripture the guidance of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. Indeed, without Him there can be no proper interpretation.

The Holy Spirit Reveals Jesus Christ

The work of the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of Scripture always leads people to see Jesus Christ. Jesus told the religious leaders of His day.

You search the Scriptures, because you think you will find eternal life in them. The Scriptures tell about me (John 5:39 CEV).

The Scripture is all about Jesus Christ. Consequently the Bible is more than a history book, or a source of information on the past. The primary purpose of the Bible is to reveal Jesus Christ to humanity. This is accomplished through the work of God the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Holy Spirit points people to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, every subject in Scripture, whether it is history, morality, or theology, must be understood in relation to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, only the work of the Holy Spirit can assure us that our understanding of Jesus is accurate.

Summary – Question 4
What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Interpretation of Scripture?

The Bible stresses that Holy Spirit was the ultimate author behind the books of the Bible. Indeed, all Scripture ultimately derives from Him.

In fact, Jesus promised His disciples that they would remember His exact words because the Holy Spirit would supernaturally bring them back to their remembrance. In other words, they would have total recall of everything Jesus said and did. Then they could pass His words along accurately to others. All of this would be the work of the Holy Spirit.

Consequently, the Holy Spirit, as the ultimate source of the words of Scripture, is also the One who is the best interpreter of Scripture. Indeed, only He can accurately interpret the things that He divinely inspired the authors to write. Therefore, proper interpretation of the Bible should be the work of the Holy Spirit and Him alone.

We also discover that the proper interpretation of the Bible should have Jesus Christ at the center. He is the theme of the entire Bible. It is all about Him. Thus, only through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit can we properly interpret the Scriptures which speak of Jesus Christ and His central place in the history of God’s dealings with humanity.

How Did the Holy Spirit Work in Relation to the Authorship of Scripture? ← Prior Section
How Did the Holy Spirit Work during the Old Testament Period? Next Section →
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