Have you ever heard a church person or preacher say, “If someone says, ‘The Lord told them, or anything similar, I run”? Unfortunately, man’s abuse of the communication of God has pushed many Christians in this direction. Because of their fear of the evil in men’s heart and the chance of false doctrine, they shut out the power of God to speak to men today. This stance, that God only speaks through the written word, is much safer right? The problem is that it is not biblical, nor for any that hear the Lord’s voice (directly or through the Holy Spirit) regularly, is it plausible or comprehensible. But, as men, we don’t know what we don’t know. And the devil loves it if there is confusion, especially if it limits the power of God’s men. In Part 1, we posed the issue of whether we need to be ‘in the Bible’ or ‘in the Spirit’ and we discussed the role of the Holy Spirit in modern day man’s life. Today, let’s also put the Bible’s purpose in perspective some.
Between Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul, we can pretty quickly get a solid picture of the Bible’s purpose, and without the Bible itself, we would have trouble understanding its purpose. This sounds kind of circular, right? It is and it is meant to be. The Bible is how we know God and our place in Him. It is how we know His plan, and where we are on His timeline. It is God’s written word to us of these things.
One major purpose of the Bible is that the written word is important so that we do not forget the great miraculous things God has done. We are to write them down because we are forgetful. We are to write them down on paper and on our hearts — to never forget, to always have them before us. Deuteronomy 18:11 says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” Collectively, the authors of the New and Old Testament did an amazing job of recording the history of God’s people and the early church.
Another major purpose of the Bible is to show us the way. King David says it so well in Psalms 119. The whole chapter basically tells the value of God’s ‘precepts’ and truths and writings to keep us out of trouble and living a worthwhile life for him. Verse 105 summarizes well, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path”. This is one of the main purposes for the Bible in our lives. With the written word in our possession, we can stay ‘in His written word’ daily if we choose. If we stay in his word, we can understand the proper paths for righteousness and service and avoid so much pain, fear, and worry.
Jesus’s use, reference to, and adherence to the Scriptures may be the best living example of the purpose of the Scripture. In John 10:35, Jesus acknowledges the significance of the Scripture when He says, “…the Scripture cannot be set aside…” Through the Gospels, Jesus undergirds the purpose of the Scriptures when He again and again reveals the working out of the prophecy in it. In fact, He himself is the fulfillment of the written prophesy (Luke 4:18-20). In fact Jesus is the fulfillment of all the written promises of God in the Scriptures (2 Corinthians 1:20). Jesus also showed us how to use the Scriptures. He used them as truth, and He also used them as a sword. He constantly referred to the Scripture in His dealings with the Pharisees and in His dealings with Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). The Scriptures are the written truths of God and as truth, they cannot be countered by anyone.
Paul extends the purpose of the Scripture to that of purposeful discipleship in his second letter to Timothy, in Chapter 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So regarding the Bible, in summary it is God written word to us, to be written on our heart and passed down to our children so we will not forget God’s ways. David acknowledged its value in helping to keep his life focused. Jesus cemented it as a standard and He fulfilled it, basically becoming the New Testament. Paul explained its value and use in our lives and our ministries. The written word provides the Beginning, the prophesy, the fulfillment and the end. It is God’s story and our collective story, from beginning to eternity.
And the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit delivered the scriptures initially and it brings them to life in our lives currently. The Holy Spirit uses the scriptures and the continued mind of God (unchanging and thus unconflicting) to develop us through conviction, constructive criticism, continued personal revelation of God and of the Bible, and direct instruction today. The Bible is a great gift of God delivered through the Holy Spirit. No doubt about its purpose or power. But don’t miss that the Holy Spirit is a great gift of Jesus for our personal development! The Bible provides the story and vision of God. The Holy Spirit provides the conviction and the life IN God! The Bible describes God and his plan and the place of men in his plan. The Spirit provides YOUR place in God; God’s specific plan for YOUR life and the specifics of God at this specific point in time, and on His timeline! Without the Holy Spirit you will not be saved (God’s Spirit produces conviction and reveals His Truth to you). Without the Holy Spirit, you will not grow spiritually (the Spirit provides instruction and revelation). Without the Holy Spirit, you will not truly Live (the Spirit provides God’s direction for you and the church) the life ‘in Christ’ you are to live at this point in time!
The Scripture and the Spirit are not meant to be separated, as the Spirit brings the Scripture to life in our hearts! The Scripture and the Holy Spirit will never conflict (cannot; they are both based in an unchanging Holy God). The Scripture is used by the Holy Spirit to instruct you and you are to use the Scripture to instruct and convince others. It is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17)! The Holy Spirit is the very Spirit of God! So, be ‘in the word’ often. Write the Word on the walls of your heart. But do NOT despise or quench the Holy Spirit with ‘in the box’ thinking that God does not still speak or provide direction other than the Bible direct; that ‘box’ is the devil’s work and the result is to remove the power in your service. Walking and being ‘in the Spirit’ is your great calling ‘in Christ’!