When you hear someone say “I believe the word of God!” or “The word of God is true!” what do you think of? Well, you probably think of scripture, right? And that’s probably all you think of. Just scripture. I would say almost the entire church today hears the term “the word of God.” and only thinks of scripture.
Nothing wrong with that though, right?
Before I say too much, let me say that we at Reform Church believe wholeheartedly that scripture was written by God, through men that He inspired. Scripture is the word of God written through the apostles and prophets. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s proceed:
Notice this: The term “the word of God” or “God said…” is CONSTANTLY used in the Bible. God spoke to Abraham. God spoke to Moses. God spoke to Elijah. God spoke to Daniel. God spoke to Peter and Paul. And yet, MOST of the men in the Bible who heard from God, DID NOT OWN A BIBLE. Think Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and all the prophets who actually wrote the Bible. Either they lived before the Bible was ever written, they lived while the Bible was still being written, or they lived before anyone ever compiled it, bound it in leather, and handed it out to people. Most believers in the Bible did not own a Bible.
And as you can see from Hebrews 11, these are people of faith. And faith only comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). So we’ve got a Bible full of people who had faith, and therefore we know had the word of God, yet without any Bibles. Hmmm…
So all of this begs the question, “Throughout all these biblical times, how were people hearing from God?” FURTHERMORE, “What does it mean every time the Bible states ‘And God said to so-and-so’” if just about ALL OF THEM didn’t have bibles?
Just ponder that for a moment. If throughout ALL of biblical times, most of the people you read of had limited, to NO access to a Bible, yet God spoke to them regularly… let me make this observation: “Maybe God speaks to people a little different than what we’ve been taught all our life.”
You have probably been taught that the Bible is God’s way of speaking to you. Yet the people in the very Bible we are reading, heard from God without a Bible. It’s as if, they could hear straight from God, but we, as New Covenant, Spirit-filled, believers can only hear from God secondhand through what another man of God wrote in the Bible.
Here’s the deal. In case you’re not familiar with this:
The Bible is holy men of God who wrote the words of God down for our help and learning and encouragement in Jesus. But just like when you go to church and hear a Spirit-led message… that is not the way you personally hear from God. That is ANOTHER MAN of God speaking the truth that HE’S HEARD to help you along.
But God has blessed us with the TRUTH IN US! And just like the men in the Bible, or better, we can hear directly from God for ourselves.
Scripture is the word of God. But it’s the word of God THROUGH SOMEONE ELSE (2 Peter 1:21)! And the same way we would NEVER claim that a genuine word from God, through our Pastor at church, is our “source” of the wisdom of God (though it is meant to help us). In that same way, Moses, the prophets, and the Apostles are NOT OUR SOURCE.
We have the truth in us, through the sacrifice of Jesus and we have no need that ANY man should teach us. We read the Bible and go to church NOT because we cannot hear from God for ourselves, but to help us in our learning as we grow.
Read what an author of scripture wrote:
1 John 2:26-27 (NKJV) These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. BUT the anointing [revelation] which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing [revelation] teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
Chew on that verse for a bit and see if that doesn’t say what I’m saying now. Concerning THE VERY THINGS JOHN WAS WRITING, he says “I write to to you, but not because you need me to in order to hear from God. Because He lives in you and teaches you ALL things.”
And lastly: We know the Bible is ALL true and that it was written to help us in our growth (2 Tim. 3:16) much like a spirit-led Pastor (Eph. 4:11-14). But if the Bible is not how we hear from God for ourselves… then how do we hear from God?
Well if you already have the Holy Spirit in you (and only if you already have the Holy Spirit in you), incline your mind to Him (Isa. 55:3). You don’t have to make anything happen in your mind. Just acknowledge Jesus and give your attention to Him. No matter what you do, remember the Lord. And if you continue to remember the Lord and attend to Him in your mind, He will reveal Himself to you. It’s all about your attention. You don’t have to figure anything out. And it’s not about sitting in a quiet room to test if you can hear something. Nope. Just acknowledge Him. And there’s more to say about that, but that’s biblical listening. Look here:
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Read your Bible. Your bros were inspired to write those things for your help and learning. Go to church. Don’t forsake gathering together because it’s for your help and learning. But don’t ever believe that any man — in biblical times or today — is your source of the word of God, because it is a river IN you, ready to burst out. Truth can spring up from within you, because Jesus died to make it so for you.
2 John 1:2 (NKJV) …because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever…
On your own time…
Read 1 John 2:26-27 through again. I’ll bet you can glean some more from it.
Also compare 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (the purpose of scripture) and Ephesians 4:11-14 (the purpose of Pastors). You’ll see that scripture’s ultimate purpose and a pastor’s are the same here. Neither are our source of Gods word. But both are meant for our learning as we grow.