The Eighteen Principles of Divine Revelation

Principle No. 3 The Direct Statement Principle

By Clifton L. Fowler

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


The Eighteen Principles of Divine Revelation rest upon the one foundation of faith. If a man approaches God’s Word in any other frame of mind, he displeases God for

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Heb. 11:6).

What a flood of light this. casts upon what God thinks of modernism. ‘The modernist frankly declares that his study of God’s Book is from the “skeptical,” “investigative,” “scientific” angles. Since it is impossible to please God without “faith,” the modernist is doomed to tragic failure by the mental attitude of which he glibly boasts. God is against him from the outset. He has started on the wrong basis. The product of such a beginning cannot be other than bad. Because of his faithless beginning the modernist’s “assured results” are inevitably abortive. The fact that modernism is today flooding the world with a soul-damning educated infidelity is but a demonstration of the faithless foundation on which modernism is built. As we study the Eighteen Principles our whole attitude is the opposite of skepticism. We recognize that faith is a pre-requisite to even the most elementary study of the Book God has given. By doubting God, man robs. himself of blessings both innumerable and incomparable. By trusting God, man steps through the open door of the Word to Gou’s richest and best.

The definition of the Direct Statement Principle is:


(a) Under which God says what He means and means ‘what He says.

The recognition of this principle is of paramount importance to the understanding of the Bible. That man who seeks to juggle God out of the Bible through human reasoning, by that act shuts himself away from ever apprehending the message of God's Book, When Jesus said, “Except a man become as a little child,” His words were fundamental. ‘The loving heart of God is warmed by faith. He waits for faith. He delights in faith. He honors faith, the faith of a little child. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”

This principle could very appropriately be called the polite principle for it is the principle under which the student comes to the Bible saying, “Dear Lord, 1 believe what you say, I do not regard you as a liar.” To refuse to accept the Direct Statement Principle is to say the Bible must be studied as other subjects are studied and its conclusions accepted as conclusions in other lines of thought are accepted,—only after demonstration, ‘This is not faith. This is not God’s method. Such a procedure in the study of God's Word is to insult the Father, to spit upon the Son, and do despite unto the Holy Spirit. ‘The Direct Statement Principle reveals that men may confidently take God at His word, It calls the Bible student to be at least courteous with Him Who is the Creator of all things.

The Bible is God's Word. It is but a half-truth to say it is a Book which contains God’s Word. ‘The words of the Bible are God's words. This is the fundamental assumption of these studies. This is the fact which we do not attempt to prove in discussing the Eighteen Principles of Divine Revelation. The Book of books is God’s revelation to man. This being assumed, the Direct Statement Principle is inevitable. If the Bible is God's Book then it is absurd to take any other position than that “He means what He says and says what He means.” This principle is necessary to any book which claims inspiration. The thought of the Bible is accurate. Its very words are true altogether. It is God's mighty and marvelous DIRECT STATEMENT to man,

Evidences of the presence of this principle in the Bible lie scattered from Genesis to Revelation, We supply in this article some of them. The student: may adduce many more in his own study of the Word.

One of the clearest statements demonstrating that this principle is in the mind of Him Who gave us this Book, is II Tim. 3:16-17:

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God andis profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Gaussen says, “This statement admits of no exception and no restriction.”

The revised translators, dominated by the infidel influence of modernism, gave this passage an absolutely incorrect rendering. They made it read, “Every scripture inspired of God is profitable,”1 thus putting in the passage the wicked implication that some Scripture was not inspired of God. Their translation is disloyal to the  Greek. The King James translation, which nearly all Christians use, and which we have quoted above, is correct, — "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," that is, — God-breathed. The passage simply declares that the whole Bible is God's Direct Statement to us men.

Another illuminating passage touching on this principle is found in I Cor. 2:13. This passage particularly refers to that portion of the Scripture given to us through the instrumentality of the Apostle Paul:

"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. * * * "

Paul declares that his teaching is not in THE WORDS which man's wisdom teacheth but in THE WORDS which the Holy Ghost teacheth. This is astonishingly explicit. Paul declared that his teaching (in the original) is couched in the very words of the Holy Ghost. Not the thoughts, nor ideas, nor ideals, but THE WORDS of God Himself. This is a convincing demonstration of the presence of the Direct Statement Principle. When we open God's Book, we are facing the Direct Statements of God. He is saying to us what He means and, be it remembered. He means what He says.

The Scriptures are a unit in bearing out the presence of this principle. The Holy Spirit fails not to reiterate that the Bible is the record of God's Words. It is very satisfying to the soul to read such statements as the following, which are chosen from the hundreds which God has scattered through the Book:

"These WORDS THE LORD SPAKE." (Deut. 5:22).

"According to all the WORDS which THE LORD SPAKE unto you. (Deut. 9:10).

"And Samuel told all of the WORDS OF THE LORD unto the people." (I Sam. 8:10).

"The WORD OF THE LORD came to Nathan." (II Sam. 7:4).

"The WORD OF THE LORD came to Solomon." (I Kings 6:11).

"The WORD OF THE LORD which He spake by the hand of His servant Ahijah the prophet." (I Kings 14:18).

"The WORD OF THE LORD came to Elijah." (I Kings 18:1).

"Unto whom the WORD OF THE LORD came." ( I Kings 18:31).

"The Lord said, (unto Jeremiah) Behold I have put MY WORDS in thy mouth." (Jer. 1:9).

"The commandment of the king by the WORDS OF THE LORD." (II Chron. 29:15).

"That the WORD OF THE LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled." (Ezra 1:1).


"The WORD OF THE LORD is right." (Ps. 33:4).

"Thou hast dealt with thy servant ACCORDING TO THY WORD." (Ps. 119:65).

"The WORDS OF THE LORD are pure words." (Ps. 12:6).

(They are) "bound in affliction and iron because they rebelled against the WORDS OF GOD." (Ps. 107:10-11).

"The entrance of THY WORDS giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple." (Ps. 119:130.)

"I am the Lord thy God * * * I HAVE PUT MY WORDS in thy mouth." (Isa. 51:15-16.)

"My Spirit that is upon thee and MY WORDS that which I have put in thy mouth shall not depart." (Isa. 59:21).

"Go forth * * * and proclaim THE WORDS that I shall tell thee and say, HEAR YE THE WORD OF THE LORD." (Jer. 19:2-3.)

"Thou Shalt speak MY WORDS unto them." (Ezek. 2:7).

"O, Daniel, SHUT UP THE WORDS." (Dan. 12:4).

"The WORD OF THE LORD came unto Hosea." (Hos. 1:1).

"The WORD OF THE LORD came unto Joel." (Joel 1:1).

"Hear this WORD THAT THE LORD HATH SPOKEN." (Amos 3:1).

"The WORD OF THE LORD came unto Jonah." (Jonah 1:1).

"The WORD OF THE LORD came unto Micah." (Micah 1:1).

"Oh, earth, earth, earth, hear the WORD OF THE LORD." (Jer. 22:29).

And there are many more.

What an array of passages. What incontestable proof. The presence of the Direct Statement Principle in the Bible is itself demonstrated by direct statements. The inquiring mind is satisfied and convinced that God does say what He means and means what He says. Repetition is employed to prove the Direct Statement Principle more than in any other subject discussed in the Bible. Repetition is heavenly understanding. With what joy we read a book that has been underscored by a friend. The Direct Statement Principle has been declared by the mouth of God and underscored by the hand of Him Who is man's best Friend.

The Direct Statement Principle is that principle of Divine Revelation which declares that the Bible is verbally inspired. The countless proofs of this fact, some of which have been given in the foregoing list, are of necessity either ignored or explained away by the devotees of modernism, for they reject the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. The Direct Statement Principle is the Inspiration Principle.

We have proved from the Word the existence of the Direct Statement Principle. But the proof only demonstrates its existence from the standpoint of a general application. This general application is indeed of primary importance but the full value of this principle is not known or understood until we see it active in certain specific practical Bible study realms. Consequently, we will leave the general application in order to observe it in several of its special applications.

The Direct Statement Principle Illustrated by God's Unabridged Dictionary

The Bible abounds in symbols. To many these symbols are a mysterious mass of unsolved enigmas. Some writers declare that the symbolic passages of the Bible were never intended to be understood. Because the Book of the Revelation is admittedly symbolic in character, its study is decried by many and actually denounced by some. There are symbolic passages of great beauty occurring in the Old Testament which are so universally neglected that their very existence is unknown to the average Christian. The Bible is a veritable garden plot of symbolism.

To every symbol God has given a meaning. The search for their meanings has been pursued by many scholars, following many methods. But the Bible reveals the one and only reliable method. "Comparing spiritual things with spiritual." In other words, the meanings of the symbols are to be found in the Bible itself. Some of these meanings are given in DIRECT STATEMENTS (others may be adduced by the First Occurrence or Context Principles). To seek outside the Bible for the meaning of the symbols is error. The Bible is God's unabridged Dictionary. The Bible is self-interpreting.

The meanings of the symbols do not change. When once the meaning of a symbol has been satisfyingly demonstrated, then the student may be assured that that symbol will always bear the same meaning wherever it occurs in Holy Writ.

One of the most familiar of all symbols employed is the "leaven." We mention it because of its very familiarity and the frequency of its use by religious writers. Leaven is said by many, to stand for the Gospel, while by others it is said to represent anything that is good. Is this position correct? Does the Bible endorse this thought? It does not. In the Bible, leaven stands connected with that which is evil. The Lord Jesus employs the Direct Statement Principle and says: —

"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Matt. 16:6.)

Was the Lord warning against the leaven of something good? Did He regard the Pharisees as righteous? In the twentythird chapter of Matthew He calls them "hypocrites," "children of the prophet-killers," "serpents," "generation of vipers." Oh, no, leaven stands unquestionably connected with evil and not good, according to the DIRECT STATEMENTS of the Lord Himself. Since the Pharisees and Sadducees were religious teachers, it is self-evident that Jesus was warning against their teaching.

But the disciples themselves did not at first, know the meaning of the symbol "leaven" which the Saviour had used in connection with their religious leaders, so they reasoned among themselves, saying:

"It is because we have taken no bread." (Matt. 16:7.)

What a natural and human mistake for them to make. When Jesus spoke of "leaven" or "yeast" (for that is the meaning of the word) they immediately thought of ordinary bread and their minds became tangleH and they could not understand His words at all. He quickly explains Himself.

"How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the DOCTRINE OF THE PHARISEES AND OF THE SADDUCEES." (Matt. 16:11-12.)

Here we have the Direct Statement Principle strikingly illustrated. Leaven is declared to mean false doctrine. The Bible is in very fact, its own unabridged Dictionary.

When Bible meanings are to be discovered, the place to hunt for them is in the Bible Itself. That which we have said so often we can say again with increased earnestness,— THE BIBLE IS SELF-INTERPRETING.

Another symbol concerning which the writers on theological subjects have utterly failed to agree, is "fire." What is the meaning of this symbol? It is employed throughout the Bible. With what does it stand connected in the mind of God? The Holy Spirit does not leave us in the dark. His reply to our inquiry is a Direct Statement!

"Our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:29).

Fire means the presence of God. This is the meaning placed on fire by the Bible Itself. We find from the study of the many passages where this symbol is used, that it may be the presence of God either accepting or rejecting and sometimes actually both, but in every case, fire is employed to set forth God's presence.

How this causes familiar Scripture passages to glow with fresh meaning! When fire burned on Jewish altars, that was the symbolic setting forth of the very presence of God accepting or rejecting the perfect offering of His Son. When Israel was led through the rough wilderness pathway by the "pillar of fire," that was the symbol-picture of the fact that God was their Guide. When the wonders of prophetic truth come before us, we find that at the termination of the Kingdom, Satan shall marshall a mighty army, Gog and Magog, to march against the camp of the saints, and "fire" shall come from heaven and destroy them. This is but a symbolic prophecy that God Himself shall fight for His own as He did in the "day of battle."

What a marvel that the meaning of the symbols should be so plainly given in the Bible, and yet there are those who ransack the resources of human wisdom and philosophy searching for these meanings and nil the while God's inspired answer to their questions is in their very hand.

Not all the meanings of Biblical symbols are demonstrable under this principle, but the two examples given are sufficient to illustrate the marvelous value of the Direct Statement Principle in Heaven's Inspired Dictionary of Biblical Symbolology.

The Direct Statement Principle Illustrated by the Summarizing Statements of Scripture.

This particular use of the Direct Statement Principle is made necessary by the limitations of the mind of man. God, in His great love, remembers our frame, and makes provision for our mental shortcomings by a simple, straightforward, summarization some place in the Bible, of the doctrines of outstanding importance.

The doctrine of grace is an example of this. Throughout the Old Testament, God is revealing through marvelous shadows and adumbrations, the fact that He purposed to save those who came to Him by faith, on the ground of the finished work of an acceptable substitute and not on the ground of their own works. The same truth is set forth in the gospels. In Paul's writings it is very fully developed, but in one passage this truth is reduced to the smallest compass, and is set forth in language which is a celestial challenge to contradiction. The passage is Ephesians 2:8-9:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast."

Here we find the Direct Statement Principle in one of its most valuable usages. Many a perplexed child of God has been permanently freed from a clouded mind by one of these striking summarizing statements, which God has placed in the Bible.

Another doctrine, concerning which man's mind has been puzzled, is the doctrine of the state of the dead. Several modern religions have arisen teaching that the souls of the dead are sleeping and that they shall not waken until the resurrection. This wicked heresy is nowhere taught in the Bible, but has nevertheless, found many devotees.

Throughout the Scriptures the most careful distinction is maintained between body and soul. At death the body is said to sleep, but the soul is invariably set forth as conscious. This is implied often and clearly indicated in many passages. In fact, the uniformity of the Scriptures on the subject does not once alter. This great truth is summarized in one remarkable passage by Paul:

" * * Absent from the body and * * present with the Lord." (II Cor. 5:8).

These brief words tell the whole story. ' Analyze this passage and see its amazing scope.

1. It teaches that the soul and body are separated after death.

"Absent from * * "

(This we see with our very eyes, for when we speak to the departed one after death the loved form does not respond, the soul is gone, the body only remains).

2. It teaches that the body is the forsaken thing, — darkness dissolution.

"Absent from the body * * "

(And we quickly take our dead and place them in the cold earth. We know that the horrors of putrifaction will in a very few hours come to that body which the soul has left behind).

3. It teaches that the soul is conscious after death.

"Present with the Lord."

For unconsciousness and death are incongruous to and incompatible with the "presence" of Him Who is Light and Life and Joy).

How illuminating and how refreshing to find one of God's wondrous truths thus stated in such simple language. It is the Direct Statement Principle in one of its most helpful manifestations.

Another truth which has been much discussed by men is the Premillennial Second Coming of the Lord. By the millennium we mean the personal reign of the Lord Jesus in His Kingdom. By Premillennial, we mean before the millennium. The truth taught in the Scriptures is that the Second Coming of the Lord is to take place at the beginning of the Kingdom. It is implied everywhere. Every teaching concerning the Kingdom presupposes and demands the personal presence of the King upon the earth, but God shows it with special clearness in a summarizing statement in I Cor. 15:23-25:

"But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet."

A careful analysis of these words reveals a plainly stated order of events.

1. The Resurrection of Christ.

"Christ the firstfruits," * * of the resurrection. (Between this event and the next named event, a known period of nearly two thousand years already exists. If a lengthy period occurs between the first two events named, a similar period could occur between subsequently listed events).

2. The Resurrection of Believers and the Second Coming.

"Afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." * * shall be resurrected. (This event is ahead of us. Judging from many significant facts, it is quite reasonable and scriptural to say that it seems to be JUST AHEAD, but to set a date is sin! )

3. The Personal Reign, the Millennium, the Kingdom.

"For He must reign until He has *put all enemies under His feet." (Thus we see the Spirit of God places the Second Coming before the personal reign; — indeed, how could it be otherwise?)

4. The Delivery of the Kingdom to the Father, and Resurrection of the Remaining Dead.

"Then cometh the end, * * (of the resurrection) when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father." This clear-cut passage is the Holy Spirit's answer to the cavils and the scoffings of the Post-millennialist. It is the DIRECT STATEMENT of God on the question of the Second Coming. The return of the Lord precedes the millennium. There are many more of these summarizing statements in God's Word, but the three examples which we have examined are sufficient to open before the eager Bible student a fruitful and profitable field of study.

The Direct Statement Principle Illustrated by Divine Guidance in Personal Problems

It is a sad fact that with many professing Christians, simple dependence on the Lord for leading in the problems of life is not regarded as a practical thing. But throughout the Bible God is constantly encouraging His people to lean harder upon Him in times of trial and tribulation, and to confidently expect Him to direct their pathways through darkness and through dangers to ultimate victory. "God is able" is comforting to the soul that finds itself confronted by obstacles which are seemingly insurmountable.

Does the human need for guidance open a field for the activity of the Direct Statement Principle? It does.

In a nearby city, not long ago, there lived a Christian woman of some means, ' and of deep consecration. She invited a Bible Class to meet once a week in her beautiful home. Within a short time she found that the joy of having public Bible Classes in her home was greatly reduced by the fact that her furniture was suffering many a scratch and that an astonishing amount of mud and sand was carried in on her rugs and carpets. She was about to tell the teacher of the class that some other meeting place would have to be secured, when she decided to take the question to God, asking for His guidance. This she did for several days without avail. During this period she was reading, at her devotional times, the book of Hebrews. The fact that her furniture was being injured finally became so pressing in her mind that she decided that some indication of God's will must be hid without delay. She went to God in special prayer appealing to Him for guidance. It came to her mind that the Bible was God's Word and that she had a right to expect definite help from that Book. She picked it up, saying, — "Lord, give to my soul from this Book, some simple word which will satisfy me as being your leading in this hour of perplexity. She resumed her devotional reading at Hebrews 10:32 where she had left off some hours before. In a moment her eyes were resting on these words, —

"Ye * * took joyfully THE SPOILING OF YOUR GOODS knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." ( Heb. 10:34).

Without hesitation she thanked God for His definite and direct answer from His Word and the Bible Class remained. It was an example of the Direct Statement Principle manifested in Divine guidance.

A few years ago in St. Louis, Mo., a young man was seated alone at his desk in a banking institution reading his Bible at the tenth of Romans. He had been a Christian only a few months. He had kept his conversion a secret from the worldly group of young bank clerks who were his associates. He knew he would become the subject of many a gibe if his' conversion became known, so he decided the easiest way out was to be a "secret disciple," and keep his testimony "under his hat." As he finished reading the tenth verse of that great chapter, he thought he heard a foot-step immediately behind him. The hot blood mounted to his cheek and brow. His heart thumped with fear and chagrin. In a flash he had slammed the Bible into the drawer of his desk, had banged the drawer shut, and had turned with assumed indifference to face the intruder. But there was no one there. With the consciousness of his cowardice cutting deep into his soul, he re-opened his Bible and began reading again. The very next words in the chapter were these:

"For the Scripture saith, whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." (Rom. 10:11).

It went home. He fell on his knees and told the Lord that men should know he was a Christian. Today he is a minister of the gospel. Men are safe, very safe, when they allow their lives to be guided by the DIRECT STATEMENTS of God's Word.

Another Christian young man became very much perplexed on the subject of personal work. He began to question the advisability of ever speaking to the lost about their soul's salvation. He argued with himself that to talk with a man about eternal things only brought about embarrassing situations and frequently ended in estrangement when a happy and easy-going friendship might have continued indefinitely. While in this frame of mind he met an earnest Christian worker, who soon discovered his spiritually depressed condition and raised this question:

"Do you think a man ought to faithfully do what the Scripture says to do?"

"Yes," was his quick reply.

"Then listen to the words of Jesus:"

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19).

The young man saw at once the fact that his position was contradicted by Jesus Himself, and gave himself to soul-winning without further parleying.

The realm of Divine guidance in the practical problems of life, is one of the most vita! realms in which the Direct Statement Principle is operative. Ah, that more men were willing to be guided by the direct statements of God's Word.

Young man, just beginning to realize the complexity of the problems of life, just beginning to sense the awful impact of this world's impurity upon your soul, there is a sure way to avoid mistakes; there is a sure ^vay to escape danger; there is a sure way to be victorious over sin. The Direct Statement Principle indicates it:

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according TO THY WORD." (Ps. 119:9.)

Take heed thereto according to God's Word. This ancient piece of inspired advice holds good today. No matter how rationalists may seek to strip the soul of its faith, or the Bible of its power, the Direct Statement Principle is still true, — God says what He means and means what He says.



1) The absurd rendering given II Tim. 3:16 by the revisors is rejected by such great scholars as Rotherham, Young, Nathaniel, West, Moffatt and Wermouth. When this passage is quoted by the early “Church Fathers. they “render it, “Every scripture is inspired.” This fact is a Body blow to the fanciful rendering of the Revision Committee.

Copyright 1923, Clifton L. Fowler