Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Can any man understand the Scriptures without the Spirit of God helps him? Jesus Christ must open our understanding to understand the Scriptures, and the Spirit of God must take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us.
GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): In our day, as well as in former times, He is the teacher of His people. The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before ―that the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our state by nature, show us the need of a Saviour, enable us to believe in Christ, and explain to us the Scriptures.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Let no man hesitate to acknowledge, that he is incapable of understanding the mysteries of God, any further than he has been illuminated by Divine grace…All Scripture is profitable: as indeed experience showeth us, if the fault be not in ourselves.
THOMAS GOODWIN (1600-1679): There must be light to accompany the truth if we are to know it. The experience of all gracious men proves this.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Have you not found yourself reading a passage of Scripture which you have read many times before, which you thought you knew, and suddenly finding that it becomes alive to you and speaks in a way in which it has never done before? We must all have had this kind of experience many times.
JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible than I could well tell how to stand under, and yet at another time the whole Bible hath been to me as dry as a stick; or rather, my heart hath been so dead and dry unto it, that I could not conceive the least drachm of refreshment, though I have looked it all over.
THOMAS GOODWIN: What is the reason that you shall see some things in a chapter at one time, and not at another; have some grace in your hearts at one time, and not at another; have a sight of spiritual things at one time and not at another? The eye is the same, but it is the Holy Ghost that openeth and shutteth this dark lantern, as I may so call it; as He openeth it wider, or contracts it, or shutteth it narrower, so do we see more or less: and sometimes He shutteth it wholly, and then the soul is in darkness, though it have never so good an eye.
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Unless our souls are living in communion with God, the Scriptures will not yield us their strength and nourishment.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and that wait on Him continually; to these He will shew His covenant, not notionally, but experimentally. A few minutes of the Spirit’s teaching will furnish us with more real useful knowledge, than toiling through whole folios of commentators and expositors: they are useful in their places, and are not to be undervalued―but it will be our wisdom to deal less with the streams, and be more close in applying to the fountain head. The Scripture itself, and the Spirit of God, are the best and the only sufficient expositors of Scripture. Whatever men have valuable in their writings, they got it from hence; and the way is as open to us as to any of them. There is nothing required but a teachable humble spirit; and learning, as it is commonly called, is not necessary in order to this.
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Believe one who is speaking from experience…the Bible cannot be understood simply by study or talent; you must count only on the influence of the Holy Spirit.
GEORGE MÜLLER: It was my beginning to understand this latter point in particular, which had a great effect on me; for the Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the Word of God and studying it. The result of this was, that the first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. But the particular difference was, that I received real strength for my soul in doing so.
JOHN NEWTON: We learn more, and more effectually, by one minute’s communication with Him through the medium of His written Word, than we could from an assembly of divines, or a library of books.
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): None can teach like God.
MARTIN LUTHER: Your first duty, then, is to begin with prayer. Entreat the Lord that He will in His great mercy deign to grant you the true knowledge of His Word. There is no other interpreter of the Word of God than the Author of that word according as it is said, “They will all be taught of God,” John 6:45.
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” Psalm 119:18. David was not blind, his eye was not dim. He could read the Bible from cover to cover, and yet he felt he needed more light. He felt that he needed to see deeper, to have the eyes of his understanding opened. He felt that if he had nothing but his own eyes and natural understanding, he would not discover the wonders which he panted to see. He wanted Divine teaching—the eye-salve of the Spirit; and therefore he would not open the Bible without the prayer, “Open thou mine eyes.”―Do any of you feel your need of Divine teaching? Oh, run to Him; cry, “Open thou mine eyes.”
BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): You have got Bibles, read them. You cannot understand them unless the Holy Spirit teach you—therefore, pray for the Holy Spirit.
JOHN BUNYAN: Pray and read, and read and pray; for a little from God is better than a great deal from men…There is nothing that so abides with us as what we receive from God; and the reason why Christians at this day are at such a loss as to some things is, because they are content with what comes from men’s mouths, without searching and kneeling before God, to know of Him the truth of things. Things that we receive from God’s hand come to us as things from the minting house, though old in themselves, yet new to us. Old truths are always new to us if they come to us with the smell of heaven upon them.
MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): Oh, dear friend, pray over your Bible, that this same blessed Spirit—may unfold to your mind the precious truths it contains.