TWO PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE TO VIEW THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT
- I Corinthians 2:12-14 in part one.1 John 2:20 "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (20)
vs 27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
- ESV 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie——just as it has taught you, abide in him.
- NASV 27As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide
What do these verse teach? "You all know it.:" i.e. you all know that you have an anointing from the Holy One. And vs 27 "you have no need that anyone should teach you, and his anointing teaches you concerning all things."
These verses illustrates three of the most important rules of exegesis: CONTEXT, CONTEXT AND CONTEXT. Only if we ignore the context can we construe a meaning that generalizes this text.
This text is always used by many people to say, "We need only the Holy Spirit to teach us what the meaning of the Scripture is."
Vs 20 would seem to indicate that what the believers know by personal experience is their anointing. I would take that to mean this is the inner witness of the Spirit; they recognize that the Spirit ministers to them in an immediate way, and convincing them of their relationship to God (Rom 8:16) If Paul is saying that no one should teach them anything at all, why then does he teach them in this letter? Therefore, this text is teaching something different.
What is the context around this verse? What is the context around this "anointing" Paul is contrasting these believers with heretics who have removed themselves from the believing persons. (2:19) Paul emphasizes what these believers know; that Christ has come in the flesh, that he will come again, and that they are the children of God. He also punctuates how these believers discern the essential truths of the faith: they have the Spirit of God. He is persuaded that they will stay true to the faith - that they will abide - because "greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. (4:4).
HERE IS THE KEY TO THIS IDEA OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN US:
1 John 2:20 and 27 DOES NOT indicate the Holy Spirit bypasses the interpretive process. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit DOES work on our hearts, convincing us of the essential truths of the faith. One who does not have the Spirit of God cannot believe such truths and consequently cannot know them experientially.
Example: When I studied on the text of I Corinthian 2:12-14 and 1 John 2:20, 27, I spent a great deal of time in the interpretive process of trying to know what the verses are saying. Then when I was preaching the text, the Holy Spirit worked on my heart and mind to convince me of the truth in the text. So I had to go though the process of studying the text and then the Holy Spirit convinced me of the truth of the text. I could not bypass the process of the study of the passages
THE CONNECTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO INTERPRETATION
- Fundamentally, the work of the Spirit’s is in the area of conviction rather than cognition. And it’s true that one’s convictions do influence one’s perceptions. So it seems that the Holy Spirit may be said to facilitate (aid) our interpretation, even if the role of the Spirit is limited to that of conviction. How?
- Experiential knowledge has a boomerang (to have the opposite effect from the one intended; backfire.) (a mistake in calculating) effect on intellectual comprehension. When reading a text, we might have had the experience of what has been suggested, and we can comprehend it.
- Interpretation of the text can be mislead by disobedience to the Scripture. While saying we respect its authority (well at least in lip service), we can distort the text. For example: if you believe a sexual behavior is right, you might say "The Bible is a book about God. The Bible is not a book about human sexuality." "The Biblical authors are silent about sexual orientation as we know it today." They neither approve it nor condemn it. (Homosexual) Therefore as I have said many times. To the degree that one is obedient to the Scripture, you will be in a better position to understand it and deal with it honestly.
- Sensitivity to the biblical writer will open up understanding of the Scripture. And when one is a believer you already have an approval of what is going to be said. The reason so many interpreters misunderstand the text is because they lack the desire to understand. For example: I have a high regard for John MacArthur, as a person and as an author, thus his messages or writing have an impact on me. On the other hand, anything that Joel Osteen says has little impact on me.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, and Proof Checked by Charity Whisnant