August 9, 2015

Speaking Where, When, and How The Bible Speaks – Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The first part of 1Peter 4:11 reads, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God…” Though the preceding verse and the rest of this one focuses on stewardship- employing the special gift(s) given by God to be used to the benefit of others and to His glory, the portion quoted emphasizes the need for authority in our speech.

The speaking referenced here is not casual conversation (which is covered in Ephesians 4:29ff), but speech that is spiritual in nature and content. Therefore, speech that pertains to spiritual matters should be true to the Book, so to speak. These things should go without saying, but how often do “spiritual discussions” actually reference a book, chapter, and verse anymore? Many people talk about spiritual matters and what they think, feel, or believe, but when pressed, will quickly admit that they have very little actual Bible knowledge. How can we have any real spiritual convictions about God, life, and eternity without knowledge of God’s word? Those willing to speak of their own minds instead of relying on the revelation of God’s mind to us in the Scriptures (cf. 1Corinthians 2:6-16) are certainly NOT speaking where the Bible speaks.

We must also speak when the Bible speaks. If God’s Word says something is a sin, or even an abomination (utterly vile and disgusting) to Him, we should be willing to stand up and “speak, as it were, the utterances of God” on the matter without compromise or apology. God’s word is not silent about pre-marital or extra-marital sex, divorce for any reason, homosexuality, pornography, lying, stealing, cheating, gossip, slander, hypocrisy, and a whole litany of other sins. Why are so many who claim to speak for and follow Him having such a hard time simply quoting what God has said on these matters? Entire denominations (and their leaders and preachers) have become silent on matters about which God has clearly spoken! Why?

Because it isn’t popular to do so? “Truth” is determined by God’s word, not by what is popular, John 17:17.

Because they fear offending individuals or groups? Jesus was not partial to any individual or group with the truth, Luke 20:21; we shouldn’t be either, Acts 10:34-35.

Because they fear governmental reprisals? When “the government” told the Apostles not to preach the truth of Jesus anymore, they simply replied, “We must obey God rather than men,” Acts 5:29.

Those speaking for God must “stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of life,” Acts 5:17- not just those portions that are popular, give no offense, and are acceptable to the government. To do less is to fail to speak when the Bible speaks.

We should likewise speak how the Bible speaks. Motivated by compassion, Jesus saw the multitude as “sheep without a shepherd” and “began to teach them many things,” Mark 6:34. Speaking where and when the Bible speaks is not a license to ignore how the Bible speaks. We should speak “the truth in love,” Ephesians 4:15, and in keeping with God’s desire for “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” 1Timothy 2:4. It is easy to use the Bible to tell someone else they’re wrong. It is another matter entirely to desire them to be right enough to tell them they’re wrong in a way that encourages them to become right. It is just as important to “exhort with great patience and instruction” as it is to “reprove” and “rebuke” when speaking where the Bible speaks, cf. 2Timothy 4:2. Colossians 4:5-6 dictates that our “speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” Jesus’ speech was described as “gracious,” Luke 4:22, but not at the expense of “truth” when He provided three examples to demonstrate the sinfulness of His audience, Luke 4:23-27. Neither truth nor graciousness will suffer if we speak how Jesus spoke and the Bible speaks.

Let’s resolve to get back to the Book and speak where, when, and how the Bible speaks. There really is no viable substitute for it! What I, you, or anyone else thinks or feels is impotent to save souls, but the gospel “is the power of God for salvation,” Romans 1:16. Never be afraid or ashamed to say what God has said when and how He has said it.  You surely can’t go wrong when doing so!

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