The Holy Spirit and Interpreting the Bible

The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, and He also helps us understand it.  But how does He do that?  If the Spirit helps us understand the Bible, does that mean that we don’t need to study the Bible?

The Holy Spirit plays an indispensable role in our reading and our interpretation of the bible.  As fallen sinners, we’re in spiritual darkness until the Holy Spirit brings the light of Christ into our minds.  As Christians, we depend on the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds as we read the Scriptures.  He awakens us to its truth.  He alerts us to its promises, and challenges us with its commands.  In fact, the Holy Spirit is involved in every single aspect of our reading of the Scriptures.

Now, normally the Holy Spirit does not give us special revelations about the meaning of the Scripture.  He generally does not whisper in our ears the correct interpretation of specific verses.  When the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible He did so by working through the minds of the prophets and apostles who wrote it.  In the same way, the Holy Spirit works through our careful and diligent study of the Scripture.  Indeed, the Bible explicitly commands us to study with diligence.

If we keep this in mind, we will not make the mistake of assuming that any sudden insights we get into the meaning of the Bible are infallible revelations from the Spirit.  Nor will we let anyone tell us that interpretations of the bible must be accepted because the Holy Spirit revealed this to them.

While we should look to the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth of Scripture, this is not substitute for careful study.  And might I add that before I became a Christian, reading the Scriptures was like reading someone else’s mail — but now that I’ve become a believer, whenever I read the Scripture it’s like God is speaking specifically to my heart.

On the Holy Spirit and the interpretation of the Bible, that’s the CRI Perspective.  I’m Hank Hanegraaff.

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