Faith and Theology: Dr. John MacArthur Q&A

Devotional

What should a believer’s relationship be to the Word of God?



In Colossians 3.16, Paul says to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” This is Scripture, the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, the word of revelation He brought into the world. “Dwell” means “to live in” or “to be at home,” and “richly” may be more fully rendered “abundantly or extravagantly rich.” Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and control every thought, word, and deed (Ps. 119.11; Matt. 13.9; Phil. 2.16; 2 Tim. 2.15).

This concept is parallel to being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5.18 since the results of each are the same. In Ephesians 5.18, the power and motivation for all the effects is the filling of the Holy Spirit; here it is the word richly dwelling. Those two realities are really one. The Holy Spirit fills the life controlled by His Word. This emphasizes that the filling of the Spirit is not some ecstatic or emotional experience, but a steady controlling of the life by obedience to the truth of God’s Word.



“Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (v. 17). The early church sang the Psalms. Old Testament psalms put to music, primarily, but the term was used also of vocal music in general. “Hymns”—perhaps songs of praise distinguished from the Psalms which exalted God, in that they focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. “Spiritual songs”—probably songs of personal testimony expressing truths of the grace of salvation in Christ. “With grace in your hearts to the Lord”—not just public, but private.

The Lord Himself is both the source and the object of the believer’s song-filled heart. That such music pleases God can be seen in the account of the temple dedication, when the singing so honored the Lord that His glory came down (2 Chr. 5.12, 14).