The Need for Spirit-Led Bible Study

I want to cover a topic that is sometimes overlooked or at least under-emphasized when discussing Bible study.  That is the fact that proper interpretation is a matter of spiritual guidance, not just grammar, syntax, and context.  Even a thorough knowledge of the original languages of the BIble (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) is no substitute for the active work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.  Perhaps the best passage for this truth from the Bible is the following:

1Corinthians 2:12-14 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Verse 14 really captures the heart of it.  We cannot depend upon the “natural man” as a guide to the Bible.  The natural state of all human beings is imperfection and sin (Romans 3:10; 3:23; 5:12).  It is for this reason that some people who have formal training in Bible go so wrong in their theology.  The mind of God is vastly different from the mind of humans.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I am not implying that an understanding of language arts and its rules are not necessary.  I am also not saying that learning and using Bible study methods is of no benefit.  All I am saying is that they are not enough.  The Holy Spirit of God has been given to every believer and He is our Guide for recognizing truth (John 16:13).  When reading and interpreting Scripture, the child of God must be prayerful, seeking the Spirit’s leading in understanding what God has spoken.