Question:

So the Lord only speaks through the Bible and not through the Spirit? I'm kind of confused now. Just wanted to see if you could clear this up for me: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13).


Answer:

The Bible came through the Spirit, so when the Lord speaks through the Bible, he is speaking through the Spirit. Speaking of the apostles, Paul said, "For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words" (I Corinthians 2:10-13).

You need to ask yourself: Who is the "you" in John 16:13? Just a few verses later, Jesus tells the disciples that they would see him no longer (John 16:16). This cannot apply to us because we have never seen Jesus in the first place. Earlier Jesus said, "But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart" (John 16:4-6). Again, Jesus did not speak to us. He was not with us. We did not sorrow at the thought of him leaving. What you did was take a passage that was directed to the apostles concerning their being accurate witnesses of Jesus and applied it to every Christian.

"For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles-- if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power" (Ephesians 3:1-7).

Truth is known when we read God's word. Reading what God has taught gives us understanding.

Paul and the other apostles understood their duty, which was to teach God's Word to men. Paul sought prayers, "for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:19). This is the method God chose for the revealing of His Will. "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (I Corinthians 1:21).

That message did not originate with men. "However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing" (I Corinthians 2:6). The wise men of this world could not come up with such a plan of salvation. But God did prepare it and kept it hidden from worldly men until the coming of Jesus and the apostles. "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him"" (I Corinthians 2:7-9).

God did not leave these things hidden, but revealed them to the apostles. "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God" (I Corinthians 2:10-11). This revelation was promised to the apostles prior to Jesus' death. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26). By the way, this too is not a promise to you and I. We don't have personal memory of what Jesus taught since we were not alive when he walked this earth and did not witness his teachings. This was a promise to the apostles only. So God by the Holy Spirit revealed His teachings to the apostles, who then passed them on to us through their writings. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (I Corinthians 2:12-13).