Our soul requires a deeper, spiritual understanding of the Word of God, to be healed and transformed into the image of God. The dead letter (literal, historical understanding) simply does not have the ability to do this. The Early Church (pre 325AD) were all in agreement on this matter. However, just understanding the deeper teachings of God’s Word is not the be all and end all. For our healing to take place, we have to allow the Word we are receiving to illuminate the hidden parts of our soul, discerning between the Spirit of God and our flesh. Only then, are we able to produce good works and move beyond the place of bondage, to an overcomer (Revelation 21:7).
Our soul, or inner being, is not of this natural realm, it is not visible to the naked eye – we cannot see, taste, touch, or smell it. If our soul is not of this natural realm, we must understand that it is incorporeal, meaning it is part of the spiritual realm. How then, can we expect the dead Letter of the Word (ref. 2 Corinthians 3:6), something that is of this natural realm, to penetrate something in the spirit realm? It cannot. That would be like us expecting to fight off a ghost with a baseball bat, it is simply not possible. We need the spiritual understanding of the Word of God to begin to penetrate our soul and circumcise our flesh (see Romans 2:28-29).
The apostle Paul warns that “the Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6), and to the Church of Rome He explains that the letter is the literal interpretation of God’s Word (Romans 1:11). Jesus said the Word of God is Spirit and it is life (John 6:63). In the following passage Paul gives us an understanding of what the Spirit of God really teaches:
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:6-12) [emphasis added]
According to verse ten, the Spirit of God reveals the deep things of God. The word for “deep” in Greek means mystery (1) and the secret, unrevealed purposes of God (2). By this, we understand that the Spirit of the Word is the deeper teachings, or the unveiled mysteries of the Word of God.
Second–third century Early Church Father Clement of Alexandria wrote the following, confirming Paul’s position:
“Those who possess the Spirit seek out the deep things of God, that is, the hidden secrets that surround prophecy.” (3)
In complete agreement Origen, another Early Church Father and in fact a pupil of Clement wrote:
“Only the Spirit can search everything. The human soul cannot do this, which is why it needs to be strengthened by the Spirit if it is ever going to penetrate the depths of God.” (4)
Both Clement and Origen uphold the same understanding of Apostle Paul, that the Spirit of God reveals the deeper teachings of the Word, and only by the Spirit (or understanding the deeper teachings) can we inherit the mind of Christ: But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:15-16) [emphasis added]
Praise the Lord we receive the Spiritual understanding of the Word of God in this ministry! However, we have to understand that simply knowing the deeper teachings is not enough. Believe it or not, we can be in a revelatory ministry, hearing the deeper, spiritual understanding of scripture and our character not transforming. If we are not allowing the Word to penetrate our soul and not continuing to measure our character (our soul) against God’s character (Spirit), we will remain stagnant and eventually become hard-hearted towards the Lord.
According to Proverbs 20:27, the spiritual understanding of the Word is the lamp that illuminates our heart:
“The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.”
In Hebrew thought, the heart is also interchangeable with the soul. (5) The Spirit discerns the thoughts and intents of our heart according to Solomon, and according to Paul, who wrote:
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
In the natural sense, light shines in darkness to reveal the unseen. The Spiritual understanding of the Word of God shines in our soul to reveal what is hidden, whether God’s character or not. Our soul is our seat of emotions and passions, (6) our thought processes and what controls our actions. Through the Spirit of the Word, we are able to inspect our soul (our thoughts, desires) to see the areas we are lacking in God’s character. Where we see the nature of the beast (Ecclesiates 3:18) we strive to change those mindsets through actively seeking the Lord, co-laboring with Him to receive the transformation of our soul. If we only hear the Word and do not actively inspect our inner thoughts, we cannot produce the good works that lead to salvation. (see Philippians 2:12, Matthew 16:27).
Clement of Alexandria, writes:
It is well-pleasing to Him that we should be saved. And salvation is effected through both well-doing and knowledge. (7)
Clement confirms that well-doing, or good works, must accompany knowledge in order for us to receive salvation. Knowledge is not enough, just like scripture tells us “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
Additionally, Early Church Father, St. Clement of Rome wrote:
Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those that wait for Him, in order that we may share in His promised gifts. But how, beloved, will this be done? It will be done only by the following things: If our understanding is fixed by faith towards God. If we earnestly seek the things that are pleasing and acceptable to Him. If we do the things that are in harmony with His blameless will. And if we follow the way of truth, casting away from us all unrighteousness and iniquity. (8)
St. Clement writes that “understanding is fixed by faith”. This means that our understanding of the deeper teachings is only established by our faith, or our action. Scripture confirms that faith, without works is meaningless:
“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:17-18)
Clement writes that we must do what is in harmony with the Lord’s blameless will. When we understand His will, the deeper teachings, we are required to walk in His nature. If we do not allow the teaching to reveal the areas in our soul that are not of His nature, we cannot begin to do His will.
The Early Church were all in agreement with Scripture, that the Spiritual understanding, or deeper teachings of the Word of God is required for our salvation. Here, at the Voice of Healing we have access to a plethora of revelatory and prophetic teachings, but we can become ‘comfortable’, forgetting that knowing the Word in a deeper way is just the first step to becoming overcomers. We must actively allow the Spirit to illuminate the hidden places of our soul and seek to manifest Christ. It is an ongoing process, of us actively working with the Lord to come to perfection (see James 1:4, Matthew 5:48).
- Strong’s Bible Dictionary: ‘Deep’ (G899)
- Complete Word Study Dictionary: ‘Deep’ (G899)
- Clement, Stromata, Book 2, Ch II
- Origen of Alexandria, Commentary on 1 Corinthians
- Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible: ‘Soul’ (H5315)
- Brown Driver Briggs Dictionary: ‘Soul’ (H5315)
- Clement, Stromata, Book 6, Ch XV [emphasis added]
- St Clement of Rome, The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Chap. XXXV. [emphasis added]
All scripture references from The Holy Bible: New King James Version: NKJV. Thomas Nelson, 2010.