The Absolute Necessity of the Holy Spirit’s Divine Light

Psalm 119:105; Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:130; Psalm 36:9
       Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
       The commandment of the LORD is pure enlightening the eyes.
       The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
       For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): If there be such a light in the Scriptures, what need is there of the Spirit? I answer, the Scriptures are the means of light, the Spirit is the Author of light; both together enlighten the eyes. These two must be taken in conjunction, not in exclusion.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential to an understanding of the Scriptures. I don’t care who are nor what you are, if you are not enlightened by the Holy Spirit you will not understand the Scriptures. You cannot; it’s impossible!

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Indeed, how should it be otherwise, for God being a Spirit, He cannot communicate Himself any otherwise than in a spiritual manner to the hearts of men; and consequently if we are strangers to His Spirit, we must continue strangers to His Word, because it is altogether like Himself, spiritual.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): If men understand it not, the veil is not drawn over it, but over their hearts, 2 Corinthians 3:15.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant.

THOMAS MANTON: There is a literal understanding of the Scriptures and a spiritual understanding, I Corinthians 2:14. Now, as to the spiritual understanding of them, there needs the Spirit; for the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit; so that here is a fair correspondence between the Word and the Spirit.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: It was the want of the assistance of this Spirit, that made Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, and a ruler of the Jews, so utterly ignorant in the doctrine of regeneration: for being only a natural man, he could not tell how that thing could be: it was the want of this Spirit that made our Saviour’s disciples, though He so frequently conversed with them, daily mistake the nature of the doctrines He delivered; and it is because the natural veil is not taken off from their hearts, that so many who now pretend to search the Scriptures, yet see no farther than into the bare letter of them, and continue entire strangers to the spiritual meaning couched under every parable, and contained in almost all the precepts of the book of God.

JOHN TRAPP: A man may look upon the letter, and never understand the sense, any more than the Philistines did Samson’s riddles: there may be a well of water hard by him, and he perceive it no more than Hagar did, till God had opened her eyes. “Have you not read? and did you never read?” saith our Saviour to the scribes, Matthew 12:3; 14:14; 21:16,42. Yes, none more; but they searched not into the heart of the sense, but stuck in the back of the letter.

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): The bare letter of the New Testament will no more produce faith and obedience in the souls of men, than the letter of the Old Testament does among the Jews, 2 Corinthians 3:6,8.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Bibles alone will not convert men, excellent as they are, but as the spirit, life, and power of the Scriptures is brought home to the heart; it is otherwise but a dead letter to them that are “dead in trespasses and sin.”

GEORGE OFFOR (1787-1864): The unawakened sinner has no pleasure in the Holy Scriptures; they are to him like old, rent, torn law parchments, which are written in a language that he cannot understand.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The Bible is a sealed book, till the heart be awakened; and then, he that runs may read.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): Persons, after their conversion, often speak of religious things as seeming new to them; that preaching is a new thing; that it seems to them they never heard preaching before; that the Bible is a new book: they find there new chapters, new psalms, new histories, because they see them in a new light.

WILLIAM FAREL (1489-1565): Now everything presents itself in a new light. The Scriptures are made clear, the Prophets are opened, the Apostles shed great light upon my soul. A voice, hitherto unknown, the voice of Christ my Shepherd, my Master, my Teacher, speaks to me with power.

J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): Immediately that, by the power of divine grace, a poor sinner turns to the Lord, the Spirit of revelation removes the veil off the Scriptures, and off his heart. Have we not found it so? What a sealed book was the Word of God once to us! How we read or heart without one real ray of light to illuminate the dark page; and what a thick veil was there of ignorance, unbelief, prejudice, self-righteousness, and impenitence on our heart. But the gracious Spirit of revelation took this double veil away, and by giving us the light of life, made the Word of God a new book, and gave us a new heart; and ever since the day when the entrance of His Word gave us light, God’s Word has been a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.

THOMAS BRADBURY (1831-1905): The Bible is God’s Word, God’s testimony. It is unlike every other book. In the hands of the blessed Spirit it is quick and powerful.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): There is in the conversion of sinners, an immediate, real, powerful, and peculiar work of the Spirit that accompanies the Word…It is a distinct work of the Spirit, distinguished and separable from the Word; though it goes along as He pleases with the Word, yet it is not as if there were some power infused into the Word, and went always and necessarily along with the Word, which is the foolish and groundless conceit of some…Wherever faith is begotten, these two go together: the Word without, and the power of grace within, the one of which is distinct from the other.

JOHN OWEN: He that would utterly separate the Spirit from the Word, had as good as burn his Bible.


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