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Invite God's Spirit to Teach You

March 31, 2021

by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Illumination means that since you and I have a book—a God-book and a human book, written by men who were expressing their thoughts and while doing this they were writing down the Word of God—only the Spirit of God can teach it to us.

Although we can get the facts of the Bible on our own, the Spirit of God will have to open our minds and hearts if we are to understand the spiritual truth that is there. 

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. –1 Corinthians 2:9-10 

Verse 9 sometimes goes to a funeral. The minister implies that the one who has died didn’t know too much down here, but now he will know things he did not know before. While that probably is true (we will get quite an education in heaven), that is not what the verse says. Long before you get to the undertaker, there are a lot of things down here you and I can’t learn through natural means. The Holy Spirit has to be our Teacher.  

You see, we are studying a book that is different from any other book. It is not that I just believe in the inspiration of the Bible, I believe that it is a closed book to you unless the Spirit of God will open your heart and make it real. When Jesus returned to Jerusalem at that time, He continued teaching the disciples: 

Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Luke 24:44 

Notice that He believed Moses wrote the Pentateuch; He believed the prophets spoke of Him and that the Psalms pointed to Him. Now here is the important verse: 

And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. –Luke 24:45 

And, friend, if He doesn’t open your understanding, you’re just not going to get it, that’s all. That is the reason we ought to approach this book with great humility of mind, regardless of how high our IQ is or the extent of our education. 

In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul says: 

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:13, 14 

I am never disturbed when an unbeliever, even if he’s a preacher, comes along and says he no longer believes the Bible is the Word of God. (He never did believe it, to tell the truth.) After all, if he is not a believer, he cannot understand it. Mark Twain, who was no believer, said that he was not disturbed by what he did not understand in the Bible. What worried him were the things he did understand. There are things an unbeliever can understand, and it’s those which cause many to reject the Word of God. It was Pascal who said, “Human knowledge must be understood to be loved, but Divine knowledge must be loved to be understood.” 

Only the Spirit of God can open your mind and heart to see and to accept Christ and to trust Him as your Savior. How wonderful! I have always felt as I entered the pulpit how helpless I am because, believe me, Vernon McGee can’t convert anyone. But I not only feel weak, I also feel mighty—not mighty in myself, but in the knowledge that the Spirit of God can take my dead words and make them real and living.

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My Turn

When you read your Bible, you’re not alone. The Holy Spirit abides in you, ready to stir your heart, illumine your mind, and direct your life. What a thought!

If you want your Bible reading to have more impact, consider doing these two things every time.

Pray before you read God’s Word. The Holy Spirit knows your heart’s desire and is able to translate anything you say accordingly. Perhaps you can start with something like:

Lord, please give me a deeper desire to read Your Word.

    Increase my ability to understand Your Word.

    Show me more of Jesus Christ in Your Word.  Amen. 

Make a habit to read God’s Word about God’s Word:

  • Humble yourself and pray Luke 18:38, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Stay close to the grace and truth of God’s forgiveness and mercy.
  • Read James 1:22 and ask God, “Make me a doer of Your Word and produce genuine change in my life.”
  • Ponder Psalm 119:18 and ask God to open your spiritual eyes to the wonder of your life in Christ, things you can’t see by yourself.