THE SPIRIT OF SCRIPTURE
2 Corinthians 3:6 NKJV: who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Here, the scripture reveals to us that there is the ‘letter’ of scripture and there is the ‘spirit’ of scripture.
The letter is the syntax—the physical, literal meaning of the words written.
The spirit is the semantics—the meaning and understanding in the mind of the author who is using the syntax figuratively or allegorically to convey his message.
For instance, the Lord Jesus said:
John 6:54 NKJV: Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Of course, the letter of scripture here would mean we should become cannibals: eating human flesh and blood!
However, the spirit of this scripture is that we should believe on the Lord Jesus and His Words in the Bible, meditate on them, confess them and act on them.
‘Eating’ and ‘drinking’ here are used figuratively as they are in
Proverbs 4:14-17 NKJV: Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. (15) Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. (16) For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. (17) For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
The Lord Jesus applies here the spirit of the Word in Proverbs 4:17 to tell us how to use His blood and His Word to receive eternal life.
So He says in
John 6:63 NKJV: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
The ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ here are spiritual and not physical.
It is the ‘spirit’ of scripture that God backs up with His life and power; not the letter.
Many times, Christians try to act on and obey the letter of scripture rather than the spirit and so do not have backing of the life and power of God on what they are trying to do.
So the letter kills, instead of the Spirit giving life.
It takes revelation to ‘see’ the spirit behind the letters of scripture.
The letter of scripture without the revelation of the Holy Spirit is a closed book.
Luke 24:32 NKJV: And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
In fact God has hidden the majority of what He is saying to us in the spirit of scripture and not in the letter.
Proverbs 25:2 NKJV: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
1 Corinthians 2:7 NKJV: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the HIDDEN wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
Why does God hide His wisdom?
1. So that only the honest and humble in heart will get it.
Proverbs 11:2 NKJV: When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 14:6 NKJV: A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, But knowledge is easy to him who understands.
2. It is the only way God could compress ALL His manifold wisdom (Eph. 3.10) into one book for ALL MEN for ALL ages.
Colossians 2:2-3 NKJV: that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, (3) in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Revelation 22:19 NKJV: and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things, which are written in this book.
Psalms 40:7 KJV: Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
How do we get the ‘spirit’ of scripture?
By revelation and growing up spiritually to where you can see God ‘face to face’:
Ephesians 1:16-18 NKJV: do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: (17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, (18) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
1 Corinthians 13:10-12 NKJV: But when that which is perfect has come, then that, which is in part, will be done away. (11) When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (12) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
2 John 1:12 NKJV: Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
Exodus 33:11 NKJV: So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
John 16:12-13 NKJV: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. (13) However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
The Holy Spirit has many things to say to us that cannot be written explicitly in the letter of scripture but will ONLY be revealed to us in the spirit of the scripture.