A question was posed by a friend of mine on pervious blog entry was such a great question it warranted its own blog post. The question was: “How do you believe the Holy Spirit communicates with people?”
The Holy Spirit communicates with people primarily through the preaching and proclamation of His Word. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching, of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.
Nehemiah 8:8-9. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.
Acts 20:32. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified..
Romans 10:14-17. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
2 Timothy 3:15-17. and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
That being said, Psalm 115:3 tells us: “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” God is fully capable of using other means to bring someone to faith in Christ, such as the account of the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip, but even then it was a scroll from the book of Isaiah that the eunuch was reading from when the Holy Spirit summoned Philip. God can use other means to bring His truth to your attention, it’s just not the norm, nor should it be made out to be. It’s rare that a person feels the sudden need to pray fervently…but it does happen…it’s just not usual, and we should be leery of trying to seek those “experiences” out because Satan is the master deceiver. The Bible warns that he will appear to us even as an angel. Satan is called the father of lies for a reason…it’s not like Satan ever had a wicked thought and said “I can’t do that it’s dishonest.” Quite the contrary, when Satan has a wicked thought he just says “awesome.” Paul encourages us to test the spirits In 1 John 4:1, for precisely that reason. Furthermore as I stated in my post “Don’t order a Whopper at McDonald’s” 2 Timothy (see the last verse quoted above) tells us that we don’t need any thing other that the Bible to be a fully mature Christian.
Hebrews 4:12 says: “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.”
It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Bible is living and active…otherwise its words on paper. Have you ever had a time when you read the Bible it seems as though some words jump right off the page at you, THAT is the work of the Holy Spirit. Admittedly there are other times when verses require serious study to get the clear meaning, and it is equally the work of the Spirit that you desire to study and wrestle with verses that seem complex, so that you can gain a clearer understanding of what they are saying…otherwise you’d just say “Well that’s weird” and move about your day. What causes someone to crack open a Bible and read a verse, understand it, and trust Christ? The Holy Spirit.
In short, the Bible is the primary means for communication by the Holy Spirit. It is the authority we submit to as Christians. The Bible is so holy and perfect that any other form of communication of Gods truth pales in comparison. Indeed, even as 2 Timothy says scripture is the very breath of God and as Hebrews 4:12 tells us, the Bible is so powerful that it reads us. While God, via the Holy Spirit, could use other means to communicate, the Bible is completely clear that He doesn’t need to. Thus, Sola Scriptura, or the Bible alone is the only infallible and all-sufficient rule for governing issues of life and doctrine and is God’s chosen means of communication through the work of the Spirit.