Pristine Grace

A Humble Learner
by Octavius Winslow
A Humble Learner

“And take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  - Ephesians 6:17

    The Bible was not given as a textbook of human science, but as a divine revelation of God's will.  It was not designed to make skillful debaters or dry theologians, but converted sinners and holy Christians; not to merely inform the mind, but to renew and sanctify the heart.  Above all blessings, then, seek large degrees of grace, influence, and teaching of the Holy Spirit in the study of the Bible; apart from this, the Word of God, with all the human knowledge you can bring to it, will remain only a sealed book and an unrolled scroll.  Remember, there is a gracious influence and operation fo the Holy Spirit that is separate from, though in harmony with, the written Word.  Without that influence, you cannot understand the Bible, nor will its revelations come to you with a quickening, saving power.  "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (2 Cor. 3:6).

    Do not dishonor and grieve the Spirit by supposing that He brings to bear on the mind no influence other than what the mere letter of the written Word contains.  There are those who hold this doctrine, to the leanness of their souls and to the denial of the Spirit.  If this doctrine were true, how could our Lord, the great Prophet of His people, promise on His departure to glory that He would send the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who should guide us into all truth?  If the written Word were enough, why promise such a guide?  Why send the Holy Spirit?  Why encourage us to ask for His bestowment and seek His teaching?  Only the Spirit quickens and unseals the Word!  The Spirit takes the things of Christ, and shows them to us.

    The Word is the "sword of the Spirit"; He makes the word effectual.  Without the wielding of His arm, it is only a passive and powerless weapon, despite its polished blade, sharp edge, fine point, and beautiful ornament.  It does not pierce, wound, or slay; there is no "dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow," nor is there any "discrenment of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb 4:12).

    Perhaps until now you have been baffled and confounded in your attempts to understand the Scriptures, Have you come ot the study of God's Word as to a mere human production?  Instead of humbly bringing the Word to the teaching of the Spirit, have you proudly brought it to your reason?  Have you attempted to fathom the fathomless, to measure the illimitable, to know what God has not made known, to comprehend what He has not revealed, such as hidden purposes, mysteries, and methods that must always remain concealed in His own infinite mind, forgetting that "secret things belong unto the LORD our God" (Deut. 29:29)?  Trace your difficulty in understanding the sacred Word to its real cause, and see if you do not find secret pride of intellect restraining the prayer for the direct teaching of the Holy Spirit.

    Oh, let our fervent petition from this moment be, "Teach me, Lord, Thou who alone teaches to profit!  Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law!  Waiting on Thee, eternal, creating Spirit, I will be found daily seeking, as a little child and a humble learner, that annointing that teaches everything."