Let Us Not Make an Idol of the Bible: Why Trusting the Holy Spirit Within is Often More Important
From far beyond, God speaks to us. He is an infinite, transcendent, inexplicable Creator beyond anything or anyone that our feeble minds can comprehend. Yet He loves us. We are His children and He wants us to know, experience, and trust Him. In antiquity, God appeared to men as pillars of flame and wisps of smoke, but this was not intimate enough. While the tribes of Israel knew of His might and power, and were rightly terrified, they also knew little of his compassion, love, and desire to be intimate with us.
It is not until Christ, the physical manifestation of that transcendent God, that humanity could suddenly see, hear, and experience their Creator. They longed to experience and be shown Father God. And this request was posed to Christ–for him to show them the Father.
“Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.” — John 14:8-11
Christ and the Creator Father are one, the Son being the perfect manifestation of the God that we so long to communicate with. When He walked on the earth, all sorts of people were drawn to Him. From His mouth poured the word of God—a perfect message for humanity. But it was not complete, He did not teach everything. Another manifestation of God needed to be sent, one which would teach, instruct, and convict more perfectly than Christ ever had. This was the “Counselor”, the Holy Spirit, which He promised before ascending into heaven.
“But now I am going away to Him who sent Me, and not one of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going? ‘Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you.” — John 16:5-15
It is through the Holy Spirit that the Early Church writers and leaders were instructed and through Him they wrote the ancient Gospels and Epistles which are now considered sacred Scripture.
But the men sitting in dark dungeons putting their ink dipped quills to paper had no idea that what they were writing would later be considered Holy Script. In many respects, many of these letters were personal encouragements meant to be read between Church families much as a pastor might write a book or a letter today to encourage the rest of the body.
What has made this revelation from God so unique and special?
Often Evangelicals revere and guard the Bible with great vigor. Any scholastic claim of corrupted texts or grammatical errors causes some well-meaning Christians to foam at the mouth and rampage through various monologues about how such people are “eroding the foundation of our faith.”
Let’s stop there. God, the transcendent being beyond space and time wants to talk to us. He walked with Adam and Eve. He spoke through various prophets. He became a man to interact with us. And He sent His Spirit to indwell us to teach and comfort.
The foundation of our faith is not the scripture—it is God himself in three-persons each trying to communicate and teach us.
The Scripture is one means by which God chooses to speak to us—and it is a text that is literally God-breathed. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” — 2 Timothy 3:16
However, many Evangelicals tend to idolize this text, putting the revelation in the place of the revelatory. It is not Father, Son, and Holy Bible. Rather it is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! It is by the Spirit that the Scriptures were written in the first place. And it is this Spirit which lives in each and every follower of Christ.
Too often Christians feel uncomfortable about trusting the Holy Spirit in others and in oneself. The sense of control is removed. One can not really know what the Holy Spirit is teaching in others apart from the gift of spiritual discernment. Nevertheless, we must learn to trust the Holy Spirit within us as He guides and leads us through life. He is God himself dwelling within us. And while the Scripture is His words poured out onto page and they are worthy of our trust—let us not forget the Author of those words in the first place. He lives within us and teaches us, often more perfectly than a dusty ancient and often cryptic book. The Bible is not irrelevant—by no means. But without the Holy Spirit, it is just a collection of unintelligible words to be studied like any other historical text. But through the power of the Teacher, Counselor, and Corrector, the Bible becomes Holy and quite relevant for our everyday lives. It is through Him that we are taught and experience God. Get sensitive to Him.
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