It must be made very clear, first of all, that the believers in the local churches hold the Word of God in supreme honor. We do not value the writings of any person as equal to or above the Holy Scriptures. However, from the time the Bible was written and began to be translated, many notable Bible expositors have been raised up by God to interpret the Scriptures and thereby, to further open the believers’ eyes to see and apprehend the riches in the Bible. These faithful servants of God have progressively advanced our understanding of the Bible’s revelation. Because of the great help they have rendered to us, many of us in the local churches read and value their writings.
Although we do receive much spiritual enlightenment from the writings of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee (Witness Lee’s senior co-worker in China), the believers in the local churches also draw from a variety of resources in their study of the Bible. Vine’s Expository Dictionary, Wuest’s Word Studies, and Vincent’s Word Studies provide invaluable help for the careful and serious student of the Bible. The illuminating writings of Andrew Murray, J.N. Darby, Mary McDonough, G.H. Pember, and C.H. Mackintosh are just a few of the works that have enriched the believers in the local churches. We also profit from the spiritual experiences conveyed in the biographies of exemplary Christians throughout church history. Furthermore, we gain a crucial perspective from examining the Lord’s move through the New Testament age in our reading of books on church history.
Both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee often expressed gratitude for the enlightenment and inspiration they had received from other Christian authors. In fact, they gave credit for many of the insights in their writings to the works of others and said they were “standing on the shoulders of all those who had gone before.” In this way, they instilled within the believers in the local churches a keen appreciation and healthy esteem for Christian writings from the Church Fathers, the Reformation, the British Brethren, the inner-life believers, and other evangelical and fundamental Christians. They often encouraged us to study the writings of the above-mentioned and other Christian teachers and also promoted the use of reference materials (e.g., word studies, lexicons, and Bible dictionaries) in our study of the Bible.
In conclusion, the believers in the local churches not only highly value the writings of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee, but also enjoy and employ the rich heritage of truth based on the faithful labor and insightful interpretation of many Bible students and teachers throughout the last two millennia.
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