Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – Sunday
Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. – 1 Corinthians 2:13.
To the end that His Word and Gospel may be preached on earth until the last day, Jesus, having prayed to His heavenly Father, chose twelve from among His disciples, whom he also called Apostles. They were the following: Simon Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James (the son of Alphaeus), Simon (called Zelotes), Judas (the brother of James), and Judas Iscariot (the traitor)—Luke 6:12–16. After the sad end of Judas Iscariot, Matthias took his place (Acts 1:26).
These men, who had been with the Lord during His earthly ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, were to be His witnesses to all the earth of those things which they had seen and heard—especially as witnesses of His resurrection (Acts 10:40–42; 1 Corinthians 15:4–8). Later St. Paul, who had received special revelations from the risen Savior, was added to their number (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:11‒12).
These men, by word of mouth and by their writings, were to proclaim the Gospel, the Word of Jesus, to all the world. In order to accomplish this work, the Holy Ghost moved and directed them in their teaching so perfectly that the things which they spoke and wrote were not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, as our text above says. This is known as verbal inspiration—God inspired the exact words used by the Apostles and Evangelists just as He had done for the Prophets in the Old Testament.
So in the writings of the Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles, as we have them recorded and preserved in the Bible, we have the very Word of God, the Word of Jesus, just as divinely pure, unalloyed, and certain as if Jesus, our Lord, stood before us and preached. And this we are to hear and read with reverence and gladness.
PRAYER. – I give thanks unto Thee, merciful God and Father, that in the Bible Thou hast given me Thy Word, Thy Gospel, so that I may know my Savior aright, believe in Him, and through faith obtain salvation. I pray Thee, grant to me Thy grace, that by the power and operation of the Holy Ghost I may always hold Thy Word sacred, and gladly hear and learn it, and be confirmed in faith, until in eternal joy and bliss I shall then see what here I have believed. Graciously do this for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
Lord, open Thou my heart to hear,
And through Thy Word to me draw near;
Let me Thy Word e’er pure retain,
Let me Thy child and heir remain.
Thy Word doth deeply move the heart,
Thy Word doth perfect health impart,
Thy Word my soul with joy doth bless,
Thy Word brings peace and happiness.
Hymn 5, vv. 1–2 (TLH)