Posted On January 13, 2016

In Proposition 9, George Peters states:

“The nature of, and the things pertaining to the kingdom, can only be ascertained within the limits of Scripture.”

This proposition is intimately connected with proposition 5 in which Peters declared that the doctrine of the kingdom is based on the inspiration of the Word of God. Thus, since Scripture is the inspired Word of God, it then goes to say that in order to grasp the nature of and truths of anything related to the doctrine of the kingdom, one must go to Scripture. Certainly there are a number of godly individuals throughout history who have penned valuable words regarding this doctrine. With that said, the root of what we determine as truth regarding the kingdom must be found in Scripture and Scripture alone. It is the gold standard if you will by which we understand this issue, especially since Peters has already noted the various other doctrines which the doctrine of the kingdom is connected at the proverbial hip.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 9 is the following:

“All believers admit that in the study of the Scriptures there must be, to secure success, a reverent, prayerful spirit maintained, a reliance upon the Divine guidance into truth. There must be a moral preparation (John 8:47) to appreciate their force and beauty (Ps. 119: 12, 18). Such a direction, although given by God Himself (James 1:5, Luke 11:13, etc.), loses some of its weight in the estimation of unbelief, since parties the most antagonistic in doctrine and practice profusely profess to have poured forth earnest prayer, and to have been guided b the Spirit in their expositions. A modest student, and one too who really prays and is morally aided, will scarcely set up such a standard, or refer to Him in such a connection. Prayerful study of the Scriptures will evidence itself, not in profession, but in fruits. It, too, will be found that error may be conjoined with even fervent prayer, if the Bible is neglected, if the simplest rules are rejected for ascertaining its meaning, if the grammatical sense is violated, if reason is not properly used, if intellectual activity is not combined with faith, and if the formulas of men are substituted for the Word. Prayer is a help, but not so directly that we need not search for the truth. So also mistake may be connected with the assumed guidance of the Spirit; for it a man expects “direct spiritual illumination” or an “intellectual light” by which he can know the truth without an acceptance and patient study of that which the Spirit has already given, he only shows that he is self-deceived. Prayer and the Spirit indeed are of great avail in their moral bearing, in preparing us for the perception and reception of the truth, but they are not given to supersede the searching of the Scriptures (John 5:39), the reasoning out of the Scriptures of God (Hebrews 5:14), the taking heed unto the Word given (2 Peter 1:19), the daily receiving and study of Holy Writ (Acts 17:11). Indeed the fact of our dependence upon the Spirit to enlighten us and enable us to savingly appropriate truth, to trust and to rejoice in it, does not allow us to neglect the means of enlightenment which He has already furnished in the presented Word. It forbids a passivity of our mental faculties, and enjoins upon the man of God, in order “to be perfect, thoroughly furnished,” to let both mind and heart receive “all scripture,” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).”

In other words, grasping the truth of Scripture does not come about by osmosis or simply praying that God will teach us truth without ever cracking open the Bible. It just does not work that way. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. Peters is not saying prayer is to be disregarded nor is he saying that studying is to be disregarded. Both are essential and required to be a workman that needs not be ashamed. I greatly appreciate Peters statement that a sound approach to engaging Scripture “forbids a passivity of our mental faculties”. We are to engage our brains and to be on our knees. Be careful to not avoid either activity.

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