During the Christmas season, we often see plays and nativity scenes that depict events surrounding the birth of Christ. Some of my favorite moments during the Christmas plays that I have seen over the course of my life have always been when the angel Gabriel comes and announces to Mary that she is pregnant supernaturally with the Messiah. Scripture records that Gabriel said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you,” and then goes on to tell Mary of the astounding yet wonderful news, that she, a virgin, is pregnant with the Christ-child (see Luke 1:28 and following).
Were these Gabriel’s own words that he was speaking to Mary? The answer to that is quite obviously “no.” The announcement itself gives us a clue that this particular Archangel was bringing words from God to Mary, even though the words were coming from his own mouth.
Many people within ministry and church culture circles refer to the Bible as “the Word of God.” Yet we see in the Bible itself that “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” referring of course to Jesus. There are two things in particular that I would like to mention about this passage as found in John 1:1. The first item of note is that when this passage was penned by John, our modern-day Bible of sixty-six books was not entirely written yet. The second item that I would like to note is that the Bible hasn’t always been in existence, as we know it or otherwise, “from the beginning.” Therefore, John 1:1 can not be speaking of what many term the “written Word of God.”
With that looked at, I would like to say from the very beginning as I write and lay the foundation for this article, I have the utmost respect for the Bible. I trust the words in the Bible, as studied out in the proper historical context with insight given by the Holy Spirit as to what the meaning is and how (if) it is applicable to our lives.
I do believe that ALL scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable in our lives. I do believe that the Bible is infallible (incapable of making mistakes or being wrong) AND inerrant, in the original tongue as written by the original author of each book. At the same time, probably as a result of seeing and knowing Jesus as the living, breathing and speaking “Word,” I prefer (at least for myself) the terminology “words from God” when giving a broad definition of what the Bible actually is. Some would not be satisfied with that description itself and would insist that it’s purpose is its definition – and for that definition they apply one-liners like these; “a love letter to mankind”, or the BIBLE acronym (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).
I myself do not concur with either of these being complete and accurate definitions of what the Bible actually is and its purpose for existence that God intended. I have received many things from my time of being a student within Welton Academy’s Supernatural Bible School. One of the things that I have received is an accurate and complete description and definition of just what the Bible is and the purpose that God had in mind for making it available to us. In my own words, the Bible contains words from God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and sent from Heaven to Earth through the different authors that wrote them out for us to read and study. The purpose of these words being to show and tell of God’s covenant journey with the people of His creation – human beings.
I am certainly fine when a person uses the term “Word of God” for the Bible; myself, I prefer to use the term “words from God.” I feel that I can speak and write that without it taking away ANY of the validity, inspiration of Scripture or inerrancy of the words within the Bible, when speaking of the original language that each book was written in by the original author. I don’t feel that I myself can properly call it the only word of God without taking away from what Jesus, the living Word, has done and is doing within our world today.
As any reader of this blog posting has probably surmised by now, I do believe that God still certainly speaks today! In the same manner of the Archangel Gabriel bringing a word to Mary from God, I see the ministers of God that hear His voice clearly and speak words from his or her lips straight from the heart of God. I have read books that have been written by people that have received inspiration from Heaven and the words within those books speak words from God right into the life of the person reading it, and they are touched in just the spot that God wanted to reach out and touch them. I believe that God speaks by His Holy Spirit into each of our individual lives, as we listen for that still small voice and He leads, directs and fully does a wonderful job of guiding us in and through this journey that we call life. I have heard His voice and it been confirmed to me too many times, by situations and by other people around me, for me to say that God doesn’t still speak today. God speaks today, just as He has been speaking since He spoke with Adam in the garden, into the lives of people all over the Earth, yes, even to this very day!
I have heard others say at times that “all I need is the Word of God” (referring to the Bible) and have no need to listen to or to read what another person says or writes.” I say that in taking that approach, a person is prone to cheat themselves out of hearing God’s voice for their own life.
In all of the ways that I have mentioned here in this article, among others not mentioned, I will conclude this post by saying this, yes, I believe that anything that a person hears from God today, by whatever means they hear it, WILL be verified, confirmed and line up with the Bible.
God still speaks today! Can you hear His voice?
Written by: John T. Argo
I remember a story a Korean pastor used to tell of a woman in his congregation who would come in week after week with various complaints. When he would ask her how she was doing she would reply, “I’m ok, under the circumstances.” I love his response. He would always ask, “What are you doing under there?”
We all have circumstances, situations that weigh on us. Some that even may seem pretty dire. But God does not call us to be “under the circumstances.” God calls us, as Christians, to rise above our circumstances. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.
Ezekiel, the prophet, is taken to a valley full of bones. The bones were dry. Obviously, there was no life in those bones, but God told the prophet to speak to the bones, to speak life back into them. And he did. He spoke and the bones reconnected to each other. Tendons, muscles and flesh returned to the bones. He spoke again and breath returned to the bodies and they stood on their feet. (Ezekiel 37)
God never told the prophet to call the bones what they were, he told him to call them what they should be. The circumstance was a valley full of dead, dry bones. That’s a pretty hopeless situation. But God’s reality was that they became a vast army.
Another prophet, Elisha, and his servant were in a circumstance where they were surrounded by a hostile enemy. The servant saw the circumstances and he was afraid. But Elisha knew God’s reality was more than what the servant saw. He told him that those that were with them were more than those that were against them. He prayed that God would open the servant’s eyes, and the servant saw that there was a vast angel army surrounding their enemies (2 Kings 6).
And the most important circumstance to a Christian is the death of Jesus on the cross. When Jesus died his disciples didn’t know what to do with themselves and returned to fishing, feeling hopeless about the man they had given up everything for. The situation looked pretty dire to them, but then Jesus resurrected. There was so much that God was accomplishing through the death of Jesus, but the disciples didn’t see it until they were on the resurrection side of it.
“Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1). “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). When we speak of things how they are we are “under the circumstances.” But when we speak what is not yet seen, we are speaking faith in God’s reality.
Most Christians I know, would heartily agree that we should be about the business of faith rather than speaking negatively about our situations. The sickness, the financial situation, the rocky marriage – these can truly be devastating circumstances. But we know that God is working everything for good, for those that love Him and are walking according to his purpose, (Romans 8:28), don’t we?
There is one area, however, where it seems to me that many in the American church are “under the circumstances.” That area is the state of our country, which in some people’s estimation is very far away morally and spiritually from where it should be. Rather than being about the business of the Kingdom of God, bringing light to dark places, Christians stand back and criticize the darkness for being dark.
Under the circumstances some things may appear desperate, but remember God is not calling us to see things how they are. We are to speak life into what seems lifeless. We are to speak hope to those who are hopeless. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.
Maybe it is perspective. For those that view moral decline in our world as a sign of a soon arriving rapture and coming judgement, they may feel no compulsion to do anything but observe, shake their heads and tsk tsk at the circumstances.
But if our business is to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6), meaning to make the message of the Kingdom our number one priority, then no matter what the circumstances appear to be, we should always be advancing, always carrying the light to dark places, always speaking hope into what seems hopeless, life into what seems lifeless. I think as Christians in America that should definitely apply to our country. So, don’t stand back and blame darkness for being dark. Stand up and be the light. Speak life.
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
I love Toby Mac’s song “Move (Keep Walkin’). In it he says, “Lift up your head, it ain’t over yet.” Let’s keep that in mind when we feel weighed down by the circumstances.
Written by: Sharon Letson