In part 2 I looked briefly at some of the factors affecting the relationship between Word and Spirit in relationship to the inspiration of Holy Scripture. During the debates of the 1970’s I noticed a tendency by some to turn the doctrine of Scripture into an arid intellectual system, this is a problem that one can easily fall into. It is therefore important to look at the relationship of Word and Spirit as this applies to our daily reading of Scripture. The core text for any discussion of inspiration is 2Timothy 3 but so often there is a failure to move onto what Paul is saying Scripture is there for. We need to look briefly at this passage because Paul’s main intention is not to teach a doctrine of inspiration, but shows us how the inspired Word applies to our lives.
2 Timothy 3 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Notice first the redemptive purpose of Scripture, the Scriptures are given to make us wise for salvation, if we think about this in the context of New Testament teaching we will affirm that we cannot come to know the Saviour without a prior work of the Holy Spirit. we are at once reminded that the Holy Spirit has inspired the word of God so that he can use them to reveal Christ. Without the Holy spirit opening our eyes we would not come to acknowledge the saving grace of God. So at the very outset we can see that Paul’s teaching about scripture contains a dynamic view with regard to the relationship of Word and Spirit. The Spirit uses the Word he has inspired to lead people to the Saviour.
But the passage does not stop there but rather goes onto to show how the Word of God is to be practically applied but again the inspired Word cannot equip us to lead a righteous life or correct us without the working of the Holy Spirit it is therefore vital that we approach the scripture not as a textbook but as the Word of God in a prayerful manner. We need to grasp the importance of the Holy Spirit’s illumination of the text of Scripture if we are to avoid a sterile intellectualism. We do need to wrestle with the intellectual issues but not because we seek to deal with these as ends in themselves but rather because we acknowledge that a deeper understanding should lead to a deeper discipleship.
Recently there have been some really helpful studies published which deal with the nature of Scripture among the best is Kevin Vanhoozer’s book, “First Theology” also very helpful on this subject is Michael Horton’s ” The Christian Faith” especially his chapters on the doctrine of revelation.