The Spirit and Believers -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 06:1 (Summer 1997)
Article: The Spirit and Believers
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

The Spirit and Believers

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.1

His Teaching Ministry

An Exposition of John 16:12–15


A very common and down-to-earth question among spiritually interested people finds its answer here. It is the question, “How may I understand the Bible?” And the answer that Jesus gives is a simple one, “By my teaching ministry, which I shall provide through the Holy Spirit. He shall take of the things that belong to me, the central figure of the Word of God, and show them to you” (cf. John 16:12–15).

Many years ago in the early days of Dallas Theological Seminary Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer used to take the four chapels of the first week of the opening Fall semester. He spoke to the entire student body each year, and his subject was always the same. Essentially, to speak technically, the subject of the four sessions was biblical epistemology, or how does one understand the Bible. In the early days the faculty sat on a platform behind the pulpit, so that the students were able to see all of the faculty during the chapel sessions. In those days there were about a dozen faculty members. Dr. Chafer, who also led the singing in the opening part of the chapel hours, then would address the student body from the pulpit, in those days simply a small lectern. His opening statement every year was the same. With the faculty of about a dozen men in full view of the students Dr. Chafer would begin by making this startling statement, “At Dallas Theological

Seminary we have a faculty of one.” From that abrupt beginning he would unfold for us throughout the week the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit and the necessary conditions for understanding and receiving it. It was always one of the highlights of the year, although many of us heard the messages many, many times. John sixteen always was an important part of the biblical text.

This teaching ministry of our Lord through the Spirit is part of our Lord’s unfinished work. Students of the Scriptures are well acquainted with the fact that our Lord’s work is both finished and unfinished. The basis of our redemption has been laid in the blood that was shed on Calvary’s cross. Once in the end of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (cf. Heb. 9:26). This once and for all offering and bearing of our sins, however, is followed by His appearance in the presence of God for us (cf. H...

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