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Which is better?
- Jacob Ninan
Think of two believers. One man has a lot of knowledge of the word of God and tries to live his life according to it. The other man tries to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit to lead him in everything he does. Which is better?
It would be foolish to choose one path exclusively without the other. Just think that the man who studies on the Bible referring to concordances, commentaries and Hebrew and Greek meanings may still have only an intellectual knowledge of the Bible without a revelation from the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit who inspired the authors to write the books of the Bible is the only one who knows exactly what He meant and how He wants to apply those words to our present life. How dry, legalistic and far from God's plans we can be even with a scholarly knowledge of the Bible! This man can be so confident of his knowledge of the Bible that he takes decisions based on his knowledge but fails to wait on the Holy Spirit to know His particular will in different situations.
On the other hand, the second man revels in thinking that because he has a direct link to the heart of God he does not need any other knowledge or information. He is so confident that God is leading him that he does not even consider the possibility that he could be mistaken in assuming that he is hearing God. He could be hearing his own mind or even a deceiving spirit putting ideas into his mind. He may end up doing weird things which everyone else can see through, but which he believes are from God. If only he could understand that God has given His word as a lamp for our feet and a light to our path so that we can avoid such pitfalls (Ps.119:105)!
The word of God is His revelation to us, showing us His character, His ways, His plan for our lives and a mirror for our own life. This provides us the foundation for our life and also the map for us to follow. But it is not like other books that can be studied and followed using just our mind. It is the Holy Spirit who makes the word come alive to us as we read it and makes it different from other books. If we don't recognise the role of the Spirit and submit to Him in daily life, we will miss out on what God has for us and may even end up far outside His will. We may live our life in the realm of knowledge and doctrines, even losing touch with the real situations of life. Knowledge puffs up (1Co.8:1).
Those who pay attention to emotional and supernatural experiences tend to think that if they have experienced it, it must be real and true. What is supernatural does not come from God alone, and we also have a tremendous capability to deceive ourselves (Je.17:9). Evil spirits are around, trying to mislead us. The word of God is the one that gives us understanding and discernment, and it is easy to go astray without it.
It is quite silly to sit in one camp and accuse the other, without looking honestly at what the other camp is saying. Let's merge these camps and get the benefit of both.