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Sinclair Ferguson
The Holy Spirit & Inerrancy

John 14:15–17 (ESV)

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

(The Spirit who had dwelt in and on Jesus would come to the believers at Pentecost. There is no other Spirit who indwells the believer.)

John 14:15–31 (ESV)

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

 

John 15:26–27 (ESV)

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

John 16:12–15 (ESV)

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

John 17:8 (ESV)

8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The Scriptures Come to Us as a Gift of the Holy Trinity:

When our fathers spoke about the Trinity, they noted two basic truths of the Trinity’s communication to human beings & creation. When God does something all three persons of the Trinity are operative: such as in incarnation, the sending of the Spirit. The external works of the Trinity are indivisible.

Doctrine of the Appropriations: Each person of the Trinity engages in work in a unique way. Only the Son died; only the Father can be praised for sending him.

[[opera ad extra (Lat., works to the outside) Also, notae externae. Activities and effects by which the Trinity is manifested outwardly. They include creation, preservation, and government of the universe as a function of the Father; redemption as a function of the Son; and inspiration, regeneration, and sanctification as a function of the Holy Spirit.
opera ad intra (Lat., works to the inside) Also, notae internae. Immanent and intransitive activities of the Trinity or actions which the three persons of the Trinity exercise toward one another, such as the eternal generation of the Son and the Procession of the Holy Spirit. — Nelson’s Dictionary]]
The same principles apply to the creation of the Scripture.

The Appointment of the Apostles:

These men were called to be eyewitnesses to the acts of Jesus. They in particular received the Holy Spirit to become the prophets, the spokesmen of Jesus for the New Age: New Age, new prophets (the apostles).

Three Aspects of How Jesus Sends the Spirit to the Apostles; particularly in relations to their writing Scriptures.

First: The sending of the Spirit to the Apostles is for the purpose to give the Word to the Church. John 13 through the end is sometimes called the book of glory (as opposed to the book of signs). Calvin: the other gospels show us Christ’s body; John shows us Christ’s soul.

Judas has gone out into the night; Jesus can now bare his soul to those whom he will not lose.

Jesus tells the Apostles that he is sending the Spirit so that they can give the word of truth to the church. The Son will ask the Father to send the Spirit.

As Peter alludes in his sermon, Pentecost is the evidence of a hidden event of God: What they see is the Son asking the Father, who gives the nations to the Son, sending the Spirit.

When the Spirit comes he will take what the Father has given to the Son.

This passage in John shows not merely salvation but also bibliology.

Stage One: Jesus is giving them the Spirit to empower them to be his spokesmen. The Spirit will come to empower the apostles to his disciples.

Notice the Amen statement: 13:16 & 20,
John 13:20 (ESV)

20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

This is the pattern of a prophet: When Moses speaks, it is God who speaks. When Aaron speaks, it is Moses spokes.

Sheliam: (sending) was as the man himself.

This is seen in the story of those [the man] who went to Jesus for the Centurion’s servant. A man who spoke as sent for another spoke as the man himself — thus, that man himself spoke. Analogy: power of attorney.

The Apostles have the power of attorney (so to speak).

That is why we are not embarrassed at
John 20:23 (ESV)

23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

We see this in how Jesus relates to the Father: Jesus is sent as the representative of the Father. The Spirit is another parakelet, of the same sort as Jesus.

Stage Two: The Spirit comes to the apostles to give the New Testament to the Church.

John 14:26,

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

16:13, while he the Spirit not speak on his own authority? He is God. The pattern of sending.

16:12

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Jesus is going to speak to the apostles later through the Spirit.

Jesus is not speaking to us or about us at this time, because we were not there.

The Spirit is going to come and he is going to breathe out Scripture through you (not me).

There is an economic unity with the Spirit and the Son as to Scripture.

There are many things you still need to learn. My Spirit will be to you as I have been to you.

Stage Three: The Spirit comes as the Spirit of Truth: which guarantees the truthfulness, the inerrancy of what he gives to the Church.

Jesus repeatedly refers to the Spirit of Truth.

The Spirit of Truth who the world cannot know, receive.

The Spirit will bear witness about me.

As the Spirit of Truth he will lead the apostles into all truth.

Jesus sends the apostles into the world with the words.

The possibility that the Spirit lied to the apostles is the same possibility as the Father lying to the Son or the Son lying to the apostles.

Jesus affirms the inerrancy of the OT. He then sends his apostles to show that the OT prophecy was fulfilled in him. How could we possibly think that Jesus would send them to write an errant Scripture.

Think of the fact the Spirit killed those who lied to him (Acts 5): could he have possibly lied to the Church through the apostles. The Holy Spirit has no bad breath, my brothers.

Stage Four: It is this work of the Spirit that Jesus’ prayer in John 17 makes effectual in the apostles and in the world.

17:8, I am praying for them — the ones the Father has given to them.

What is it: I have given them the words
18: as you sent me into the world, with your words, so I have sent them into the world with my words.

And then asks for those who will believe in Jesus through the apostles’ words.

Stage Five: John understands that his Gospel is answer to Jesus’ prayer.

These things are written : gegrapthi, the language which is used of Scripture: the Gospel is calling itself Scripture.

Jesus gives the Spirit & the Word. These things are written that you may believe through this Word.

The idea that the apostles were ignorant of the fact that they were giving Scripture to the NT is utterly indefensible on the basis of the what NT says of itself.

What a moment it must have been for John as he was writing the Gospel: he is writing that Jesus’ prayer was answered through John’s Gospel.

Father to Son words, Son sends the Spirit to the apostles, who themselves the words started from the Father: he is writing and seeing Jesus’ prayer answered. What John as given to the Church is the word of Truth — which is as reliable as any word the Father has spoken to the Son.

The Scripture’s very existence is to depend upon a theology of inerrancy.

it is not just the integrity of the Scriptures is at stake; rather the very integrity of the relationships within the Trinity. The Father does not lie to the Son.The Son does not lie to the Spirit. The Spirit does not lie to the apostles. This knowledge underscores the authority of the apostles’ writing.

That is why Paul says that we can “take note of that person”. How does have that arrogance: it is not Paul’s authority but rather the Father’s, Son’s Spirit’s.

Application:

One’s conviction that the Scripture is God-breathed and utterly without error comes through in the way in which one preaches.

It transforms those who gaze through the unveiled words, the inerrant word.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof.

[His mother on why they could not have sugar on their porridge but rather had salt: Because that’s the way the English eat it.]

Inerrancy matters because it honors the Spirit who glorifies the Son who glorifies the Father.