Once the new man is in God’s family, he has but one Master, one Shepherd and runs from all others. Jesus said, “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:4-5). Those who ‘speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent’ and thus speak only as the oracles of God understand this principle. Paul understood this principle. He said, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12). Paul listened strictly and only to the words of God. The creeds and manuals of men add to and take from the word of God. The Lord commanded that no man should add to or take from anything in the Old Law. He said, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2). Peter and all the prophets understood this principle. Peter said, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20-21). If all the prophets spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, then they did not speak their own words and thus did not give their own interpretation to the word of God. They were faithful to speak and write only those things in which they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The prophecy they spoke was never given by their own will (the will of man), but only the will of God. Those who interpret God’s word today simply ignore what God said and speak their own words. When asked why they would interpret when the Lord plainly informs us that it is not allowed, some dare to change the word of God saying it should not read “interpret” but it should read “no private origin.” Virtually every literal translation except the paraphrase translations (like the TLB) translate the word ‘epilusis’ as interpret. There is absolutely no manuscript listed in the Greek manuscripts (Nestles or UBS) that has anything but ‘epilusewV’ in that verse. What justification could any man have for changing the word of God? When the scriptures disagree with our theories it is time to change the theories, not the word of God.
Consider God’s faithful prophets and apostles regarding adding to or taking from the word of God. Paul said “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” (1 Cor. 2:13). Plainly he states that he did not use words which man’s wisdom teaches. God inspired Paul to congratulate the Thessalonians because they understood this principle. He said, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). They did not receive the words from Paul as the words of men (as Paul’s words), for they were not Paul’s words, but God’s words, inspired by His Holy Spirit. Timothy understood this principle. “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17). Paul taught the same thing in every church and Timothy was no different.
Jesus followed the principle excellently. “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10). The very words Jesus used were not his own. He makes it even clearer when he uses each different kind of Greek word which refers to the ‘word.’ “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words (rhema – utterance), hath one that judgeth him: the word (logos—something said) that I have spoken (laleo—talk, utter words), the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken (laleo—talk, utter words) of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say (epo—to speak or say), and what I should speak (laleo—talk, utter words). And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak (laleo—talk, utter words) therefore, even as the Father said (ereo—speak or say) unto me, so I speak (laleo—talk, utter words)” (John 12:48-50).
The Holy Spirit followed the same principle. Jesus foretold how the Holy Spirit would reveal the word of God to the apostles. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit did not speak of himself. What he heard from Jesus is what he spoke to the apostles. We have already seen that Jesus spoke only what he heard from the Father and the next two verses (John 16:14-15) say the same thing. The Holy Spirit searches the depths of God (1 Cor. 2:10-11) but He is still faithful to speak the words of God which he hears, and nothing else.
No man on earth is greater than the apostles, the Holy Spirit or Jesus; yet, men exalt themselves to speak their own words. Commenting on and giving examples of man’s work in rejecting the commands of the apostles and Jesus is not adding to the word of God. It is exposing the folly of speaking one’s own words. If any man speak, he is to speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11), not as some who claim to speak, ‘in harmony with the word of God.’