God Still Speaks!
That was news to me.
My teachers taught me that God stopped talking as soon as the last words of the Bible were penned by John and that today God speaks only through his written Word. If true we must now depend on commentaries, friends, or teachers to tell what God’s saying.
The thinking behind this understanding was that if God spoke to us, we would have to call it “divine revelation” which by definition meant that it would be right up there with the Bible.
Human reasoning goes like this – since the Bible has been completed, you must conclude that God doesn’t any longer speak. Is that line of reasoning based on fact? I don’t think so.
Why God Speaks to you personally
limiting God’s voice only to the written Word doesn’t end the confusion about how to live the Christian life or when to do what.
the Bible from beginning to end is a collection of stories about people who were led by the Spirit or not led. The stories were written down so we can see what a difference being led of the Spirit makes. Paul tells us that we have those stories specifically to show us what we need to know about how to live (1Corinthians 10:11).
If we can’t connect with the Spirit, how are we to make any sense of those stories? Basically, the stories often provide examples of how our best ideas of what to do apart from God hearing God’s voice only brings failure.
But if God doesn’t show us how to see and discern, then we are left to “our own understanding” (Proverb.3:5) which is exactly what gets us into trouble in the first place!
A lot of Christians seem to think that if you are applying Biblical principles to your life then you aren’t leaning on your own understanding. The thing is you are still depending on your human powers of reasoning.
It takes a lot more than good teaching in order to live well. Because even when armed with good teaching we still have to rely “on our own understanding” in order to make the necessary judgment calls. On the other hand, what if we could enter into Conversational Prayer. We now have a Mentor to ask for help? Then we would listen to God’s wisdom in regard to what to do.
Jesus was clear about the ministry of the Holy Spirit as a mentor for life (John 16). As he prepared his disciples for the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus made it plain that His mission to train them was not over, and he was passing that task of mentoring on to the Holy Spirit.
In context, there is no way to reasonably interpret those promises as a description of the Bible only. The disciples still needed personal attention. Today we are in need of a mentor as they were.
if the Bible is our only source of God’s word, then what about the Christians in the world who don’t have Bibles? Since that’s the case, in what way does His promise to be with his people and guide them make any sense at all?
Did Christians need the invention of the printing press (around 1436) in order to begin to grow spiritually?
This is not of little importance. When my husband I were in West Africa, out in the bush, even if they had a Bible they couldn’t read.
We associate God’s word to the printed text only, don’t we? But millions of Christians don’t have access to Bibles.
Jesus spoke to this issue with the religious leaders of His day. Having no other direct source at the time, they were looking to the Scriptures for every detail on how to live.
Jesus pointed out that the purpose of the Scriptures was to point to Jesus himself, and that life was something that came from engaging with him, not something that could be extracted from the printed page alone (John5:39).
Sounds like Conversational Prayer to me.
How are we to make sense of John 5:39 if his aim was to point us back to the written Word as our only source on how to live?
Yes, the Bible is “living and active” but it doesn’t work automatically. People read the Bible all the time and in fact are unchanged. Nearly every Christian I know started a devotional life. They go through periods where reading the Bible seemed more like doing homework. Argh!
I don’t want to fault the person involved. I’ve been there myself. We need divine help in order to quicken the Word to our heart and mind. Most of us weren’t taught how to participate with the Holy Spirit in this way.
Finally, the Christian life is not just about knowing the correct answers. It’s not about memorizing Scripture. And knowing how to make good choices is not the only reason for having His Word.
Our needs go way deeper than knowing the correct answers about what to do. We need to have a conversational relationship with God.