Life-Study of 1, 2, & 3 John, Judeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
With this message we begin the Life-study of the Epistles of John. We trust in the Lord to open up the Scriptures to us again and speak a fresh word to us all.
This message is an introductory word concerning the writings of John. John’s writings include his Gospel, his three Epistles, and his Revelation. These writings occupy a particular and striking place in the full revelation of God in the Bible. In his Gospel, Epistles, and Revelation John writes of things that are mysterious. These things are mysterious because they are divine. Therefore, we need to see that John’s writings are altogether a revelation of divine things. Here I would emphasize two words: revelation and divine.
The entire Bible, of course, is the holy revelation of God. The Bible was not written according to man’s mind or according to human thought. Rather, the whole Bible is the divine revelation written in human language. Nevertheless, it is important for us to realize that this is especially true of John’s writings, writings that are concerned with divine things.
Because John writes about divine things, it is necessary that these things be revealed to us. It is not possible for the natural human mentality to guess or infer what John’s writings unveil to us. Whatever is revealed in the writings of John is far beyond our human comprehension. Hence, there is no room here for guessing or inference. Our mentality cannot grasp, lay hold of, the divine things revealed in John’s writings. The Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John, and the book of Revelation reveal matters that are beyond our ability to imagine. We cannot even conceive of these things, much less make inferences regarding them. Because John’s writings are of what is divine, we cannot with our natural mentality imagine what they contain. Only through divine revelation can the divine things in John’s writings be revealed to us.
As we read the writings of John, it is not adequate merely to exercise our mentality. We need much prayer. We also need to believe that today the divine Spirit is within us, in our spirit. We should trust in this indwelling Spirit to give us the revelation of the things contained in John’s writings, and also the wisdom to grasp, lay hold of, the things we see in our spirit as a result of this revelation. Like the apostle Paul, we need to pray for a spirit of wisdom and revelation: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17). It is not sufficient simply to read John’s writings or meditate on them. Neither is it sufficient only to exercise our natural understanding. When we come to the writings of John, we should not trust in our reading, meditating, or understanding. On the contrary, we should pray, “Lord, I depend on You to grant me a revelation of what is contained in these writings. Lord, I do not trust my natural ability to understand Your word.”
The entire book of Revelation is a revelation. This is why it opens with the words, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him” (Rev. 1:1). The word “revelation” denotes the opening of a veil. Revelation is a matter of opening a veil to show us something mysterious hidden behind the veil. We all need such an unveiling. Many marvelous divine things have been concealed, but we may experience an unveiling and have these things revealed to us.
Along with revelation, we also need understanding. We may see certain things, but we may not understand what we see. For example, suppose you visit a large factory and look at various kinds of machines. You see the machines, but you may not understand anything about them. Although the machines have been revealed to you, you still need understanding. The principle is the same with divine things. In addition to revelation, we also need wisdom for understanding. For this reason, Paul prayed for a spirit of wisdom and revelation.
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