Flashback Friday: How Do We Hear The Holy Spirit?

In honor of the Truth Matters Conference on the sufficiency of Scripture, I thought this article  from August 31, 2017 might be appropriate:

Voice Of GodCharismatics have claimed personal words from God for years. That figures, since the bulk of charismatic theology (despite their insistence to the contrary) depends on exalting experience over Scripture. In light of that fact, I can almost expect them to believe that God speaks apart from the written Word of God.

A Facebook conversation with someone from the Charismatic church I belonged to in California reminded me recently that a primary argument for God speaking personally pits the living Holy Spirit against the “dead letter” of the Bible. It’s not a denial of Scripture’s authority. In this person’s mind, it’s not even a denial of Scripture’s sufficiency (though that’s pretty much exactly what he’s doing). Rather, it apparently adds a personal relationship with the Spirit that Scripture somehow can’t provide.

Of course, my friend hastens to add, the Spirit never contradicts Scripture. Which raises the question: Why would He then need to speak apart from Scripture in the first place? Why not trust Him to speak through the Bible He inspired?

The mere suggestion that God’s Word is a “dead letter” needing augmentation with personal experiences absolutely chills me. That very idea completely ignores what the Bible says about itself.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~~Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

As we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit uses it to convict us of sin, instruct us in righteousness and reveal Who the Triune God is. Through Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us what to look for in a spouse, how to conduct ourselves in business, how to order our families and what His Church should do. Above all that, He shows us His nature and His priorities. He lets us   know what angers Him, what pleases Him and what honors Him.

Certainly, during the course of a day, the Holy Spirit will bring Scriptures and/or Scriptural principles to our minds that we can apply. Even then, please notice, He’s speaking Scripture. He doesn’t, as some claim, direct us to brush a stranger’s hair or purchase an extra bottle of milk. Rather, He commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as much as we love ourselves.

Until we obey everything He tells us in His Word, what would be the point of Him speaking personally to us?

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4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: How Do We Hear The Holy Spirit?

  1. Sometimes I have found the Holy Spirit in bringing the word of God to me is underlining the appropriate words I need or He needs to bring necessary correction. I do understand what you are saying in respect of prophetic utterances as such.. but we are taught not to despise them without first considering what is being said. The words spoken through the Holy Spirit concerning the outcome of Paul’s final visit to Jerusalem, plainly were not scripturally inspired but equally plainly warning and revelation from God as to what the outcome would be. With Christian love and blessings

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    • The verse reference in 1 Thessalonians 5 was written before the canon of Scripture was closed, and the prophecy Paul received 7was likewise spoken before the close of the apostolic age. Revelation ends with a very severe warning not to add to Scr3ipture’s prophecy. I hope you’ll watch the videos of the Truth Matters Conference once they’re released.

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      • Of course. I delight in scripture… The words which close Revelation do indeed forbid the adding and taking away of the words of that book by man, but that leaves the Lord free to add revelations at His time and choosing, however by revelation I do not mean petty, confused and bogus… We are taught to use right judgement in all things. I do truly appreciate your post.

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      • Going back to the 1 Thessalonians passage that you raised yesterday, John MacArthur preached on it last night to close the Truth Matters Conference. His understanding, based on the Greek construction in that specific verse, is that the phrase rendered “prophetic utterances” refers to the speaking forth of God’s Word. In other words, preaching.

        To your latest point, if God gives further revelation, the canon of Scripture isn’t closed and any revelation He gives has equal authority to the Bible. How could He speak with any less authority now than He spoke then?

        I’d encourage you to read MacArthur’s book, Strange Fire, and keep checking the Grace to You channel on YouTube for videos from this week’s Truth Matters Conference on the Sufficiency Of Scripture. Those resources might help. Also, search YouTube for Phil Johnson’s teaching on providence, which gave me better clarity on this whole matter.

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