This past weekend, I traveled back home with my fiancé, Riley, and his brother, Ramsey. While the trek back home is an easy drive, it leaves plenty of time for discussion. On this particular road trip, Riley asked me a question that he and Ramsey had discussed earlier, in their small group.
“Is the Bible necessary for faith?”
As the conversation continued for the majority of the trip, the three of us were hardly agreeing on any type of answer.
Before you scroll straight to the comments and accuse me of heresy, hear me out on this. Obviously the Bible is vitally important and useful in our faith.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
My goal is not to get caught up on this question, I honestly haven’t made my mind up completely about it yet either. Instead, I would like to look at one argument brought up during the discussion: the Holy Spirit is necessary for faith, not the Bible.
Having grown up in the Christian Church, I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of the Holy Spirit was very limited before attending Bible college. Even still, I have much to learn on the subject, but I found this particular thought very intriguing. How incredible the power of the Holy Spirit.
Before Jesus went back up to heaven after his resurrection, He comforted his disciples by saying these words:
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1: 4-8 NIV
Seriously, the most incredible thing in all of history has just happened and Jesus asks his disciples to wait? Jesus refers the Holy Spirit as a gift, something to wait for. What the disciples couldn’t understand was that the power of Christ was soon to be living inside each of them, and with this power, they would be able to accomplish immeasurably more than what they could on their own. With the power of the Holy Spirit, they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
After thinking about the power of the Holy Spirit in my own life, I realized that I may not be called to witness in Jerusalem, but I am called to witness wherever I am. For me, that means at work, at school, to my friends and family. I know that more times than not, I am not tuned in enough to the Holy Spirit to take advantage of the opportunities that sometimes hit me right between the eyes.
A few weeks ago, at work, a coworker of mine came up to me very excited. She wanted to show me a ring that her mother gave to her that had the Lord’s prayer on it. She proceeded to explain to me that her mother had given her the ring because she knew that she was having a rough time. My coworker said she wanted to show me the ring because she knew that I would appreciate it.
A few thoughts crossed my mind as I pondered on the interaction I shared with her.
1. I don’t remember ever having a conversation with her about God. Why in the world not?
2. Even never having had a conversation with her about God, she knew that I would appreciate her ring.
Besides having a few Bible verses tacked up in my cubical, I have done very little to show the love of Christ to my coworker. Even still, God provided me an opportunity to connect with her.
Often times I feel like I’m on auto pilot. I go to class and go to work. I do what I have to do to get by. Have I trained my heart and mind to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in my every day life? Even more important than that, do I have the courage to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit?
Some how, some way, God reveals himself to people through the verses of scripture hanging in my cubical. But really, is that the best I can do? Christ beat death! We have the same power available to us! His desire to use me in his story still blows me away.
I have been challenged this week to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit in my life and I want to challenge you to do the same. How many lives would be changed if we would just realize and utilize the power of Christ in us?
I want to end this post by sharing lyrics to one of my favorite songs, The Same Power.
Meditate on the words and be encouraged.
The grave could not contain
The power of His name
Death, You overcame
Once and for all
Mighty Savior, lifted high
King forever, Jesus Christ
Crowned in glory, raised to life
The same power lives in us
Great thoughts and words, Sagan. I’ve spent a lot of time through the years praying for more faith, thinking my faith was too little. Then one day a friend brought me a mustard seed. It’s very small, you know. According to the Bible, if I have faith the size of a mustard seed, I can move mountains. Since then, I haven’t worried about asking for more faith. I just try to use what I already have. That’s enough! It seems to me that Faith and the Bible/Holy Spirit aren’t an either -or but rather we need them both. That gets pretty deep for me so I guess I’ll just continue to use the faith I do have.
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I am so excited to read your blog. Your heart and passion for Christ are an example for us all to follow. Your latest post on the Holy Spirit shows a genuine relationship with Him and not just lip service. Here are some thoughts your blog prompted me to think about: First, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Rom. 10:17 (a.k.a. the bible). So there is a relationship between the Bible and our faith. Second, “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.: Acts 4:31, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'” Acts 11:16 and “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,” Eph. 1:13 So all of those verses and many more point to the relationship of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Now if we believe what the writer of Hebrews declares faith to be, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” we have done well. I like the KJV here because faith is something you can sink your teeth into, substance and evidence. Faith is not an elusive esoteric pursuit. It is real and tangible and witnessed by the Holy Spirit in our lives. Your grandmother has done more with her mustard seed of faith than many Christian I know! So the summation of all my babbling is this: “Keep the faith Baby!”
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Great post. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts on this. This is a really tough topic, one that is hard to find a concrete answer for. Ultimately, I don’t think I can say with confidence that I know the answer, but I think that we are given some interesting things in scripture on the subject. One thing that sticks out in my mind is that the bible as we know it has not been around forever, so when you look to scripture you find evidence of faith before people had access to the bible as we know it. Psalm 19 and Romans 1:20 tell us that creation gives us evidence of God’s existence through general revelation, or the general truths that can be known about God through nature. I think that these passages open up the possibility, that faith can exist without the Bible. My personal conviction is that whether or not the Bible is necessary for faith, there is no doubt that it is a powerful tool in the life of the believer, and that faith and God’s word are closely connected. The bible is an incredible tool in growing our faith and relationship with the Lord. A friend of mine helped me understand it this way: If I worked in a fish market and it was my job to filet fish. Say I had all of the knowledge and experience necessary to filet the fish, but had to try and filet the fish with my finger instead of a knife. That is kind of what it would be like to have faith without the Bible. Scripture helps direct us in how to live for the Lord, it fuels our faith. Scripture also acts almost as a form of accountability in the sense that we can test our circumstances against God’s promises. Jacob in Genesis 32:12 holds God accountable, by testing the Lord’s promise for safety and prosperity made in Genesis 28. Scripture gives us the tools that we need to see God do the things that He promised in His word. Scripture allows us the opportunity to stand in faith and rest on His promises, by recalling His recorded words in Scripture. What an incredible resource that we have been given. The question I keep coming back to, isn’t whether the Bible is necessary for faith, but rather if you have access to the Bible why wouldn’t you take advantage all it has to offer?