Our God is a communicating God. He has made himself supremely known through his Word, the Personal Word – who is Jesus Christ, and through his written Word, the Bible. Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the Word – the Logos of God. Knowing him means knowing the Father.
“Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father?'”” (John 14:9)
It means God’s will is personal. It is to do with heart relationship, not just head knowledge. The purpose of the Word is personal that we might know him and whenever we read the Bible we are able to say, “He walks with me and he talks with me. I can hear him speak to my heart!” It is a two-way relationship through the Word.
The Bible is the full and infallible record of God’s Word to man. Just as Jesus, the Incarnate God’s Word to man, has two natures – fully God and fully Man – so there are two characteristics of the written Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God, but it is also the Word of God through man.
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)
The writers of the Bible wrote under the inspiration and empowering of the Holy Spirit not man’s imagination. Therefore, what was written was exactly what God intended to be written.
That is why we call the Bible God’s Word. The Bible contains 66 books written by over 40 different authors over a period of up to 1,600 years.Yet, it speaks with one clear authentic voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit.When looking for prophetic guidance, go to the Bible.You will never get a surer word from God than the Scriptures. It contains principles to cover every aspect of life:
“… and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
All Scripture is God-breathed. It has all been given by the breath of his lips – the Word of his mouth. It means we cannot pick and choose according to your own opinion, accepting this and rejecting that. You cannot judge God’s Word: it judges you! This means all scriptures are useful. The practical use of the Bible is fourfold:
# Teaching God gives the standard by which everything is measured.
# Rebuking God shows you where you have gone wrong.
# Correcting God sets you back on the right path.
# Training in righteousness God shows you how to stay on the right path.
If the Scripture completely equips Christian leaders for every aspect of ministry or life, you can be sure that it speaks into every area of your life. The Bible can adequately guide you and can be trusted as the final and supreme authority. Never depart from it – read it, study it, meditate on it, believe it and do it!
The Living Word
The Bible is not merely an external rule book, or simply words on a page. It is living and active:
“The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any twoedged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrew 4:12)
This means that the Bible operates from within your heart. The Holy Spirit guides you through the Word. He will never ignore what he has written and has protected over many centuries, despite the efforts of men to destroy it.Voltaire, the eighteenth century French author and philosopher, arrogantly predicted that in his generation the Bible would no longer be read. But hundreds of years after his death, Bibles were distributed from his house. God affirms his Word. He takes it and personalises it, so that it becomes part of your very being.
“I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)
The Holy Spirit, then, speaks through the Scriptures, but does this mean he will never say anything other than what God has already said in the Bible?
When I tried to find a verse that would tell me whether or not should I take up the call to ministry in London, I could not find one. Nowhere does it say, “Colin, do (or do not) go to London.”You too will face decisions that are not covered in detail in the Bible. Suppose you are offered two jobs which are equally valid biblically. It is not enough to choose the job that will give you the best influence as a Christian. How can you know what influence you may have? You need God’s wisdom. One of those jobs may look outwardly promising. The other may appear to give you less opportunities as a Christian than another job, but it could mean that you lead the next Billy Graham or Reinhard Bonnke to the Lord! You cannot rely on outward appearances or human wisdom in matters like that. Neither can you say, “God hasn’t made it clear, so I’ll do what I want!” The Bible says:
“The Lord will guide you in all your ways.” (Isaiah 58:11)
The Holy Spirit is your Helper. He will lead and guide you in a personal way, not just doctrinally. Many Christians are sound in their doctrine and yet are powerless to live for God because they have not understood that doctrine is not solely a matter of the mind or intellect. John Calvin, the great theologian of the sixteenth century taught that no doctrine has been fully learned until it has been appropriated by your whole being. That is why we need the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears and He will tell you what is to come.” (John 16:13)
You need to know the Word. The Holy Spirit will never contradict it. But you also need to know the Holy Spirit, directly and personally. My life and ministry were transformed when I learned to listen to the Holy Spirit. I realised that the most dangerous thing I can do is to ignore his voice, however he speaks into my heart or life. When Jesus left this earth, he said that he would send us another Counsellor, or Comforter, who would be with us forever, to lead and to guide us. To follow the Holy Spirit means to follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit is here to reveal Jesus to us so that we can get to know him intimately. Do you know him like that? Learn to accept the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit in all things.