Invisible Piggybacks

Written by Drew on September 3rd, 2009

Words are powerful. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” says Solomon (Prov. 18:21). But the power is not in the words themselves. Take them to a lab, put them on the table, dissect them, and what do you see? Nothing but a combination of letters, phonics coordinated for a language.

The power of words is in the ideas they represent. Words symbolize concepts, emotions, strategies, and arguments. They serve as signposts to an inner world. As Charles Wright put it, “The visible carries all the invisible on its back.” Without visible, concrete words, we would not be able to tap the invisible world that is the real driving force behind our lives.

The apostle Peter presents the reverse of Wright’s image, stating, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). Peter’s men, who were “carried along by the Holy Spirit,” were the inspired writers of the Bible. The process he describes is not simply one where the “visible carries all the invisible on its back,” but this time the invisible Spirit carries visible men, empowering them to record the divine will in human language.

Paul describes inspiration as being a verbal process; that is, God revealed not just his thoughts but the very words he wanted man to learn. 1 Corinthians 2:10 says, “These things [the truths revealed to the apostles, D.K.] God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” He then continues, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (vv. 12-13, emphasis added). This is significant. The Spirit did not stop at revealing the thoughts of God, leaving it up to the biblical writers to come up with the right words. The results would have been disastrous. Humans have trouble putting their own thoughts into words, let alone the thoughts of God. To ensure that we would have everything pertaining to life and godliness, the apostles were given the right words to symbolize the things needed to build our faith.

With these things in mind, we should make the Bible our authority in every religious matter. Being the Word of God in every sense, it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Words are powerful because of the concepts they carry. But when those concepts originate in human hearts, they are always flawed. Not only that, but they can become lost in translation, as they move from the soul to the page. But in one instance, an invisible God fused a saving message to visible, readable, understandable words. We are the beneficiaries of that message, so that when we read, we may receive insights into the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:4).


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