by E.W. Bullinger
Philologos Religious Online Books
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How to Enjoy the Bible
E. W. Bullinger
I. The One Great Object of the Word
The first great and essential principle which must be ever present with us, when we study the Word of God, as a whole, is not to treat it as something which we have to interpret, but as being that which God has given in order to interpret Himself and His will to us.
i. This applies to Christ; as the Living Word.
When we speak of the "Word" we can never separate the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; and the written word, the Scriptures of Truth.
Each of these is called the "Word," because the Greek word Logos is used of both.
Logos means the spoken or written word, because it makes manifest, and reveals to us the invisible thoughts.
It is used of Christ, the Living Word, because He reveals the invisible God. "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, He being in the bosom of the Father, This one [hath] declared [Him]" (John 1:18).
It is not that we have to explain Christ, but that His mission is to explain God to us. He interprets the Father. And we have to believe Him.
The word "declare" in John 1:18 is important in this connection, and deeply interesting. It is from ek (ek), out of, or forth, and hgeomai (hegeomai), to lead. Hence the whole compound verb means to lead forth, to make known, to guide, interpret, unfold, reveal, and expound (Luke 24:35).* It is from this verb that we have the cognate noun Exegesis which means Exposition. Wycliffe renders it "He hath told out." The best Meaning is to make known.
* The word occurs only in Luke 24:35; John 1:18; Acts 10:8, 15:12,14, 21:19.
This is why Christ is called "The Word of God," because He makes known, reveals, and explains the Father.
This is why the Scriptures are called "the Word of God," because they make known the Father and the Son, by the Holy Spirit, the author of the Word.
Christ is "the Way" to the Father (John 14). He makes God known to us in all His attributes, will, and words. "I have given them Thy Word." It is always "THY Word" (John 17:8,14,17).
ii. In like manner the Written Word, the Scripture, is given in order to interpret, and to testify of Christ; and this is why (as we shall see as our next essential principle) Christ is the one great subject of the Word.
This is why the Holy Spirit is the interpreter of both. His mission is to glorify Christ (John 16:14). He receives and shows the "things of Christ" (John 14:15). But He shows them in the Written Word (1 Cor 2:9-14). And this is why it must be He and He alone who enables us to preach that Word.
Thus we have the Word in three manifestations:—
The Incarnate Word,
The Written Word,
The Preached Word.
There is no other. Christ reveals the Father. The Scripture reveals Christ. The Spirit reveals both in the written and in the preached Word (1 Cor 12:7,8).
How wonderfully does this magnify the preached Word; and show the solemnity of the charge in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the Word."
It shows how small and worthless are all the schemes, tricks and contrivances of present-day evangelists and mission preachers with their ever-new fashions and modern methods, when we see what a high and dignified place God has given to the Preached Word.
How careful should we be that nothing in our manner or matter should lower that dignity, or imply in the slightest degree that the Written Word has lost any of its power; or needs any handmaids or helpmeets.
"I HAVE GIVEN THEM THY WORD"
is the all-sufficient assurance of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to the Father. He did not say I have given them Aids to devotion. He did not say I have given them a Hymn-book, or I have given them thy Word AND something else.
He did not give anything instead of, or in addition to, that Word.
And that being so, we are assured that the Word which He gave is all-sufficient, in itself, to accomplish all the purposes of God.
The Word that is preached makes known the Written Word; the Word that is written makes known Christ the Living Word; and Christ makes known God our Father.
iii. Hence it is, that the same things are stated of both the Living and the Written Word, as it is well put by Joseph Hart:—
The Scriptures and the Word
Bear one tremendous name,
The Living and the Written Word
In all things are the same.
This may be seen by noting carefully, in our reading, how precisely the same things are predicated of both one and the other.
We give a few by way of example:—
SIMILAR PREDICATES OF "CHRIST" AND "THE SCRIPTURES."
"His name is called THE WORD OF GOD," Rev 19:13.
They "pressed upon Him to hear THE WORD OF GOD," Luke 5:1.
The Prince of PEACE, Isa 9:6.
The Gospel of PEACE, Rom 10:15.
Jesus said,..."No man cometh unto the Father, but BY ME," John 14:6.
"Make me to go in the PATH of Thy Commandments," Psa 119:35.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am THE WAY," John 14:6.
"Teach me, O Lord, THE WAY of Thy statutes," Psa 119:33.
"I am...THE TRUTH," John 14:6.
"Thy Word is TRUTH," John 17:17.
Christ—"Full of grace and TRUTH," John 1:14.
"All Thy Commandments are TRUTH," Psa 119:151.
"These things saith He...that is TRUE," Rev 3:7.
"The Judgments of the Lord are TRUE," Psa 19:9.
"Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal LIFE," 1 John 5:20.
"Holding forth the Word of LIFE," Phil 2:16.
"A bone of Him shall not be broken," John 19:36.
"The scripture cannot be broken," John 10:35.
"I am the Living Bread...if any man eat of this Bread he shall LIVE for ever," John 6:51.
"Man shall not LIVE by bread alone, but by every Word of God," Luke 4:4.
"With Thee is the FOUNTAIN OF LIFE," Psa 36:9.
"Thy Law...is a FOUNTAIN OF LIFE," Prov 13:14.
Jesus said, "I am the LIGHT of the World," John 8:12.
David said, "Thy Word is a LIGHT unto my path," Psa 119:105.
"The Life was the LIGHT," John 1:4.
"The Law is LIGHT," Prov 6:23.
"Thou art my LAMP, O Lord," 2 Sam 22:29.
"Thy Word is a LAMP unto my feet," Psa 119:105.
"I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of FIRE," Zech 2:5.
"Is not My Word like as a FIRE? saith the Lord," Jer 23:29.
"The Light of Israel shall be for a FIRE," Isa 10:17.
"I will make My Words in thy mouth FIRE," Jer 5:14.
"To you which believe, He is PRECIOUS," 1 Peter 2:7.
"Exceeding great and PRECIOUS Promises," 2 Peter 1:4.
"My beloved is...chiefest among ten THOUSAND," Song 5:10.
"The Law of Thy mouth is better unto me than THOUSANDS of gold and silver," Psa 119:72.
"His Mouth is most SWEET," Song 5:16.
"How SWEET are Thy Words unto my taste," Psa 119:103.
"His Name shall be called WONDERFUL," Isa 9:6.
"Thy Testimonies are WONDERFUL," Psa 119:129.
"Christ, the POWER OF GOD," 1 Cor 1:24.
"The Gospel is the POWER OF GOD," Rom 1:16.
Lord, "Thou art GOOD, and doest Good," Psa 119:68.
"GOOD is the Word of the Lord," Isa 39:8.
"Ye have known Him that is FROM THE BEGINNING," 1 John 2:13.
"Thy Word is true FROM THE BEGINNING," Psa 119:160.
"From Everlasting to EVERLASTING Thou art God," Psa 90:2.
"The righteousness of Thy Testimonies is EVERLASTING," Psa 119:144.
"Thy throne, O God, is FOR EVER AND EVER," Heb 1:8.
"Thy testimonies,...Thou hast founded them FOR EVER," Psa 119:152.
"The Lord shall ENDURE for ever," Psa 9:7.
"The Word of the Lord ENDURETH for ever," 1 Peter 1:25.
"Christ ABIDETH for ever," John 12:34.
"The Word of God...ABIDETH for ever," 1 Peter 1:23.
"Worship Him that LIVETH for ever," Rev 4:10.
"The Word of God LIVETH for ever," 1 Peter 1:23.
Christ's Kingdom "shall STAND FOR EVER," Dan 2:44.
"The Word of our God shall STAND FOR EVER," Isa 40:8.
The STONE..."on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder," Luke 20:18.
"Is not my Word...saith the Lord, like a HAMMER that breaketh the rock in pieces?" Jer 23:29.
Christ, "A STUMBLING Stone," Rom 9:33.
They "STUMBLE at the Word," 1 Peter 2:8.
"Lo, I am with you ALWAY, even unto the end of the world," Matt 28:20.
"Thy commandments...are EVER WITH ME," Psa 119:98.
"Christ may DWELL in your hearts by faith," Eph 3:17.
"Let the Word of Christ DWELL in you richly," Col 3:16.
Christ said, "ABIDE in me, and I IN YOU," John 15:4.
"If... my Words ABIDE in you," John 15:7.
"Hereby we know that He ABIDETH in us," 1 John 3:24.
"The Word of God ABIDETH in you," 1 John 2:14.
Christ called, "FAITHFUL and true," Rev 19:11.
"Thy Testimonies...are very FAITHFUL," Psa 119:138.
"Out of His mouth goeth a sharp SWORD," Rev 19:15.
"The Word of God...is sharper than any two-edged SWORD," Heb 4:12.*
* Heb 4:12 probably refers to both the Living Word and the written Word also.
"The Lord TRIETH the Righteous," Psa 11:5.
"The Word of the Lord TRIED him," Psa 105:19.
Christ a "TRIED Stone," Isa 28:16.
"The Word of the Lord is TRIED," Psa 18:30.
SIMILAR EFFECTS ATTRIBUTED TO "CHRIST" AND "THE SCRIPTURES."
We are "BORN OF God," 1 John 5:18.
"BORN...by the Word of God," 1 Peter 1:23.
"BEGOTTEN...by...Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 1:3.
BEGOTTEN...through The Gospel," 1 Cor 4:15.
"The Son QUICKENETH whom He will," John 5:21.
"Thy Word hath QUICKENED me," Psa 119:50.
"You hath he QUICKENED who were dead," &c., Eph 2:1.
"Thy Precepts...with them thou hast QUICKENED me," Psa 119:93.
"He that eateth me, even he shall LIVE by me," John 6:57.
"Desire the sincere milk of The Word, that ye may GROW thereby," 1 Peter 2:2.
"Christ hath made us FREE," Gal 5:1.
"The Truth shall make you FREE," John 8:32.
"The Blood of Jesus Christ...CLEANSETH us from all sin," 1 John 1:7.
"YE are CLEAN through the Word which I have spoken," John 15:3.
Christ "is able also to SAVE them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him," Heb 7:25.
"Receive...the engrafted Word, which is able to SAVE your souls," James 1:21.
"SANCTIFIED in Christ Jesus," 1 Cor 1:2.
"SANCTIFIED by the Word of God and prayer," 1 Tim 4:5.
"SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all," Heb 10:10.
"SANCTIFY them through THY TRUTH. Thy Word is truth," John 17:17.
"Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us WISDOM," 1 Cor 1:30.
"The Holy Scriptures...able to make thee WISE unto salvation," 2 Tim 3:15.
Christ "HEALED them," Matt 4:24.
"He sent His Word and HEALED them," Psa 107:20.
"Striving according to His Working which WORKETH in me mightily," Col 1:29.
"The Word of God which effectually WORKETH also in you that believe," 1 Thess 2:13.
"The Lord Jesus Christ...shall JUDGE the quick and the dead," 2 Tim 4:1.
"The Word that I have spoken...shall JUDGE him," John 12:48.
"I will go unto God, my exceeding Joy," Psa 43:4.
"Thy Word was unto me the JOY and rejoicing of my heart," Jer 15:16.
Thus we see that the Living Word and the Written Word cannot be separated. And we can understand also why they cannot be separated in the preaching of the Word.
To preach the Written Word without preaching Christ is not preaching at all. Neither is it done in the power of the Spirit.
When Paul went to Thessalonica, he ("as his manner was") "reasoned with them out of the SCRIPTURES" (not as is done to-day, out of the newspapers, or out of the preacher's own head or experience); but he did not end there. We are immediately told that this preaching consisted in "opening and setting forth that CHRIST (the Living Word) must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ (the Messiah)" (Acts 17:1-3).
If the Living Word and the Written Word cannot be separated, we learn that in sitting down to the study of the Word and Words of God it is to hear His voice, to choose that "better part"; to sit at Jesus' feet, and hear HIS word (Luke 10:39).
And it is only a "part." The best is to come; when we shall "behold His glory" (John 17:24), the glory of our Ascended Lord; as the glory of our Incarnate Lord was beheld when on Earth (John 1:14). Then, in the future, as in the past (as now by the Holy Spirit), the wonderful "Word"—our Glorified Lord—will continue the blessed work which He began as our Risen Lord, "expounding in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself"; and will declare and make known the Father to the Saints, who shall then have been gathered together unto Him (2 Thess 1:10, 2:1).
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