I have read the Bible from beginning to end a couple of times but like many Christians, I have primarily been a reader of the New Testament. Christians think of the New Testament as “their book,” not giving much thought to the value of the Old Testament, maybe not acknowledging that it was the Bible that Jesus read.
As a Methodist, I have always known of a Christian education class called Disciple Bible Study but my church never offered it. It is a thirty-four week study and it requires at least four study periods per week in preparation for the weekly meetings, which usually last at least one and a half hours. Quite a commitment.
Finally, we had a pastor who decided he would lead a Disciple study and I enrolled. I will never forget when we got to the book of Isaiah. Here you have a Hebrew prophet foretelling details of the suffering of Jesus Christ more than 700 years before the suffering took place.
I was flabbergasted and immediately changed my view of the Old Testament. I can’t think of a better word than flabbergasted to describe me when I read passages like those from Isaiah 53, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
How could this be? I had had some very important personal experiences where I felt God intervened in my life but now I could see the special nature of His book for the first time. Maybe I should have believed in the power of The Book before this time, but I just wasn’t sold. Suddenly, I could see solid evidence of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, in the words of the prophet Isaiah. Suddenly for me, the Bible became a God-breathed, Holy Spirit-inspired book.
The truth is that when one is looking for daily Holy Spirit inspiration, one need not look any further than the Bible. Pastor Billy Graham states “The Bible is a constant fountain for faith, conduct and inspiration from which we [can] drink daily.” Isaiah is only one example of the Holy Spirit in The Bible. The Spirit spoke to David who penned the Psalms. God also spoke through the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Jesus stated in John 14: 26 that “The Holy Spirit. . .will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Graham says that statement embraces the Gospels. John 16: 13 “He will guide you into all the truth” takes in all the books from Acts to Jude and “He will disclose to you what is to come [John 16: 13]” encompasses the Book of Revelation.
“We do not know exactly how He imprinted His message on the minds of those He chose to write His Word, but we know He did lead them to write what He wanted” [Graham, 36]. “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” [2 Peter 1: 21].
That pastor who led the Disciple Bible Study may have been amused at the awe I expressed in his class, but that class was just the beginning for me. I have continued to read the Bible as a book inspired by God. A Book that was written by those who were led by the Holy Spirit. More and more examples of His touch have jumped out at me from the pages over the years. When Paul declares “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” [2 Timothy 3:16] those words mean something special for me now.
Reading the Bible is not merely reading a book; it is the Holy Spirit speaking to me from God’s word.
My source of Holy Spirit inspiration…