Wednesday, November 23, 2011
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26 KJV).
During Christ’s earthly ministry, there were no New Testament Scriptures. In fact, according to Luke 24:44, the only Scripture at that time was “the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms” (Old Testament). But, God’s Word still needed 27 other books—what we call the New Testament—in order to complete His revelation to man.
In today’s Scripture, Jesus explains to His apostles that the Holy Ghost will later bring to their mind the words He spoke to them. It is generally agreed that the first New Testament books written may have been the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), written no more than 40 years after Calvary. These four books record the very words that Jesus Christ spoke during His earthly ministry.
During the 40-year period between Calvary and A.D. 70, the Holy Ghost revealed the New Testament Scriptures. For instance, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 12:1). Paul understood that Jesus Christ would appear to him at later times to reveal further information (see Acts 26:16).
Moreover, the spiritual gifts of Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10,28-31 held together the early Body of Christ, until the canon of the Scripture was completed. The term “canon” (from the Greek “kanon,” meaning “rule”) collectively describes the 66 books of the Bible. Consequently, the 39 Old Testament books and the 27 New Testament books comprise the Biblical canon.
There would come a point, however, when that spiritual gift program would cease operation, as God’s full revelation (the completed Bible) would be accomplished (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Colossians 1:25). Once Paul wrote 2 Timothy, the Bible was completed (see 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Thus, revelations from God have stopped. Today, illumination is the method whereby God the Holy Spirit, through His written, completed Word, teaches us (1 Corinthians 2:9-16; 1 Corinthians 14:37; Ephesians 3:4).