But God hath revealed them unto us - A manifest proof that the apostle speaks here of the glories of the Gospel, and not of the glories of the future world.
For the Spirit searcheth all things - This is the Spirit of God, which spoke by the prophets, and has now given to the apostles the fullness of that heavenly truth, of which He gave to the former only the outlines.
Yea, the deep things of God - It is only the Spirit of God which can reveal the counsels of God: these are the purposes which have existed in His infinite wisdom and goodness from eternity; and particularly what refers to creation, providence, redemption, and eternal glory, as far as men and angels are concerned in these purposes. The apostles were so fully convinced that the scheme of redemption proclaimed by the Gospel was Divine, that they boldly asserted that these things infinitely surpassed the wisdom and comprehension of man. God was now in a certain way become manifest; many attributes of his, which to the heathen world would have for ever lain in obscurity, (for the world by wisdom knew not God), were now not only brought to light as existing in him, but illustrated by the gracious displays which He had made of himself. It was the Spirit of God alone that could reveal these things; and it was the energy of that Spirit alone that could bring them all into effect - stamp and seal them as attributes and works of God for ever. The apostles were as truly conscious of their own inspiration as they were that they had consciousness at all; and what they spoke, they spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
But God hath revealed them - That is, those elevated views and enjoyments to which people everywhere else had been strangers, and which have been under all other forms of religion unknown, have been communicated to us by the revelation of God - This verse commences the “third” part of this chapter, in which the apostle shows how these truths, so full of wisdom had been communicated to Christians. It had not been by any native endowments of theirs; not by any strength of faculties, or powers. but solely by revelation from God.
d Unto us - That is, first to the apostles; secondly, to all Christians - to the church and the world through their inspired instructors; and third, to all Christians by the illuminating agency of the Spirit on their hearts. The connection shows that he did not mean to confine this declaration to the apostles merely, for his design was to show that all Christians had this knowledge of the true wisdom. It was true that this was revealed in an eminent manner to the apostles, and through their inspired preaching and writings; but it is also true, that the same truths are communicated by the agency of the same Spirit to all Christians; John 16:12-14. No truth is now communicated to Christians which was not revealed to and by the inspired writers; but the same truths are imparted by means of their writings, and by the illumination of the Spirit to all the true friends of God.
(1) That people by nature are not able to discover the deep things of God - the truths which are needful to salvation.
(2) that the apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit; and if so, then the Scriptures are inspired.
(3) that all Christians are the subjects of the teaching of the Holy Spirit; that these truths are made known to them by his illumination; and that but for this, they would remain in the same darkness as other men.
For the Spirit - The Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God; see 1 Corinthians 2:11.
Searcheth - This word does not fully express the force of the original ἐρευνᾷ ereunaIt means to search accurately, diligently, so as fully to understand; such profound research as to have thorough knowledge. So David uses the Hebrew word חקר chaaqarin Psalm 139:1. So the word is used to denote a careful and accurate investigation of secret and obscure things, in 1 Peter 1:11. Compare John 7:52; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23, where it is used to denote that profound and accurate search by which the desires and feelings of the heart are known - implying the most profound knowledge of which we can have any conception; see Proverbs 20:27. Here it means, that the Holy Spirit has an intimate knowledge of all things. It is not to be supposed that he searches, or inquires as people do who are ignorant; but that he has an intimate and profound knowledge, such as is usually the result of a close and accurate search. The result is what the apostle means to state - the accurate, profound, and thorough knowledge, such as usually attends research. He does not state the mode in which it is obtained; but the fact. And he uses a word more emphatic than simple knowledge, because he designs to indicate that his knowledge is profound, entire, and thorough.
All things - All subjects; all laws; all events; all beings.
The deep things of God - He has a thorough knowledge of the hidden counsels or purposes of God; of all his plans and purposes. He sees all his designs. He sees all his councils; all his purposes in regard to the government of the universe, and the scheme of salvation. He knows all whom God designs to save; he sees all that they need; and he sees how the plan of God is suited to their salvation - This passage proves:
(1) That the Spirit is, in some respects, distinct from the Father, or from him who is here called God. Else how could he be said to search all things, even the deep purposes of God? To “search” implies “action, thought, personality.” An attribute of God cannot be said to search. How could it be said of the justice, the goodness, the power, or the wisdom of God that it “searches,” or “acts?” To search, is the action of an intelligent agent, and cannot be performed by an attribute.
(2) the Spirit is omniscient. He searches or clearly understands “all things” - the very definition of omniscience. He understands all the profound plans and counsels of God. And how can there be a higher demonstration of omniscience than to “know God?” - But if omniscient, the Holy Spirit is divine - for this is one of the incommunicable attributes of God; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 139:1; Jeremiah 17:10.
(3) he is not a distinct being from God. There is a union between him and God, such as may be compared to the union between a man and his soul, 1 Corinthians 2:11. God is one; and though he subsists as Father, Son, and Spirit, yet he is one God, Deuteronomy 6:4 - This passage is, therefore, a very important, and a decisive one in regard to the personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit.
If it were possible for created beings to attain to a full understanding of God and His works, then, having reached this point, there would be for them no further discovery of truth, no growth in knowledge, no further development of mind or heart. God would no longer be supreme; and men, having reached the limit of knowledge and attainment, would cease to advance. Let us thank God that it is not so. God is infinite; in Him are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” And to all eternity men may be ever searching, ever learning, and yet they can never exhaust the treasures of His wisdom, His goodness, and His power. 5T 703.1
God intends that, even in this life, truth shall be ever unfolding to His people. There is only one way in which this knowledge can be obtained. We can attain to an understanding of God's word only through the illumination of that Spirit by which the word was given. “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God;” “for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” And the Saviour's promise to His followers was: “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.... For He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” 5T 703.2
God desires man to exercise his reasoning powers; and the study of the Bible will strengthen and elevate the mind as no other study can do. It is the best mental as well as spiritual exercise for the human mind. Yet we are to beware of deifying reason, which is subject to the weakness and infirmity of humanity. If we would not have the Scriptures clouded to our understanding, so that the plainest truths shall not be comprehended, we must have the simplicity and faith of a little child, ready to learn, and beseeching the aid of the Holy Spirit. A sense of the power and wisdom of God, and of our inability to comprehend His greatness, should inspire us with humility, and we should open His word, as we would enter His presence, with holy awe. When we come to the Bible, reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself, and heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM. 5T 703.3Read in context »
Because they cannot fathom all its mysteries, the skeptic and the infidel reject God's word; and not all who profess to believe the Bible are secure from temptation on this point. Says the apostle: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Minds that have been educated to criticize, to doubt and cavil because they cannot search into the purposes of God, will “fall after the same example of unbelief.” It is right to study closely the teaching of the Bible, and to search into “the deep things of God,” so far as they are revealed in Scripture. While “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God,” “those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children.” But it is Satan's work to pervert the investigative powers of the mind. A certain pride is mingled with the consideration of Bible truth, so that men feel defeated and impatient if they cannot explain every portion of Scripture to their satisfaction. It is too humiliating to them to acknowledge that they do not understand the inspired words. They are unwilling to wait patiently until God shall see fit to reveal the truth to them. They feel that their unaided human wisdom is sufficient to enable them to comprehend the Scripture; and failing to do this, they virtually deny its authority. It is true that many theories and doctrines popularly supposed to be the teaching of the Bible have no foundation in Scripture and, indeed, are contrary to the whole tenor of inspiration. These things have been a cause of doubt and perplexity to many minds. They are not, however, chargeable to God's word, but to man's perversion of it. But the difficulties in the Bible do not reflect upon the wisdom of God; they will not cause the ruin of any who would not have been destroyed if no such difficulties had existed. Had there been no mysteries in the Bible for them to question, the same minds would, through their own lack of spiritual discernment, have found cause of stumbling in the plainest utterances of God. 5T 701.1Read in context »
To acknowledge that we cannot fully comprehend the great truths of the Bible is only to admit that the finite mind is inadequate to grasp the infinite; that man, with his limited, human knowledge, cannot understand the purposes of Omniscience. SC 108.1
Because they cannot fathom all its mysteries, the skeptic and the infidel reject God's word; and not all who profess to believe the Bible are free from danger on this point. The apostle says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12. It is right to study closely the teachings of the Bible and to search into “the deep things of God” so far as they are revealed in Scripture. 1 Corinthians 2:10. While “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God,” “those things which are revealed belong unto us.” Deuteronomy 29:29. But it is Satan's work to pervert the investigative powers of the mind. A certain pride is mingled with the consideration of Bible truth, so that men feel impatient and defeated if they cannot explain every portion of Scripture to their satisfaction. It is too humiliating to them to acknowledge that they do not understand the inspired words. They are unwilling to wait patiently until God shall see fit to reveal the truth to them. They feel that their unaided human wisdom is sufficient to enable them to comprehend the Scripture, and failing to do this, they virtually deny its authority. It is true that many theories and doctrines popularly supposed to be derived from the Bible have no foundation in its teaching, and indeed are contrary to the whole tenor of inspiration. These things have been a cause of doubt and perplexity to many minds. They are not, however, chargeable to God's word, but to man's perversion of it. SC 108.2
If it were possible for created beings to attain to a full understanding of God and His works, then, having reached this point, there would be for them no further discovery of truth, no growth in knowledge, no further development of mind or heart. God would no longer be supreme; and man, having reached the limit of knowledge and attainment, would cease to advance. Let us thank God that it is not so. God is infinite; in Him are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3. And to all eternity men may be ever searching, ever learning, and yet never exhaust the treasures of His wisdom, His goodness, and His power. SC 109.1Read in context »
Peter had expressed the faith of the twelve. Yet the disciples were still far from understanding Christ's mission. The opposition and misrepresentation of the priests and rulers, while it could not turn them away from Christ, still caused them great perplexity. They did not see their way clearly. The influence of their early training, the teaching of the rabbis, the power of tradition, still intercepted their view of truth. From time to time precious rays of light from Jesus shone upon them, yet often they were like men groping among shadows. But on this day, before they were brought face to face with the great trial of their faith, the Holy Spirit rested upon them in power. For a little time their eyes were turned away from “the things which are seen,” to behold “the things which are not seen.” 2 Corinthians 4:18. Beneath the guise of humanity they discerned the glory of the Son of God. DA 412.1
Jesus answered Peter, saying, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” DA 412.2
The truth which Peter had confessed is the foundation of the believer's faith. It is that which Christ Himself has declared to be eternal life. But the possession of this knowledge was no ground for self-glorification. Through no wisdom or goodness of his own had it been revealed to Peter. Never can humanity, of itself, attain to a knowledge of the divine. “It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” Job 11:8. Only the spirit of adoption can reveal to us the deep things of God, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.” “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him;” and the fact that Peter discerned the glory of Christ was an evidence that he had been “taught of God.” Psalm 25:14; John 6:45. Ah, indeed, “blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee.” DA 412.3Read in context »