Hearing God through Scripture

God speaks: this we know, that He is as present now as He was two thousand years ago. But we cannot fail to know the difference between the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of every word of the Bible then and His illumination of the mind today. It isn’t that He no longer speaks, but first and foremost He meets with us when we read and receive the words He spoke in Scripture.

Yes, it’s a lot more work to understand Scripture than it is to attribute a feeling that comes up many times to God, but we tend to spend too little time trying to work through Scripture seriously, more than to spend too much time looking at Scripture in faith that the Holy Spirit can work in our minds using His inspired word to reveal the truth. We like to avoid thinking hard. We like to just go with it. We like to call that following the leading of the Spirit. Following God, however, is not so bound to the devices and desires of our own hearts (Eph. 2.1–3).

It’s not rocket science: before God’s word can be useful to us, we have to understand it rightly. Theology (oh, that intimidating word!) exists for a practical cause: for us to think truthfully (and in awe) of God and then to act in the ways that please Him. If we have a God-centred idea of life, this is where the good life is. We learn about God through the things He’s written for our sake. Makes a lot of sense, no?

Maybe, then, we don’t need a burning bush, or a wet fleece, or a feeling that we like to call the “still, small voice” in Christianese (it’s still controversial what the voice really was). Sometimes, maybe all we need is more time to ask God by praying and to hear from Him by reading and remembering Scripture.

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