How the Holy Spirit Says He Operates by the Word – Part 4 of The Holy Spirit Speaks

As has been presented in part 3, miracles are not done through the hands of Christians today. This is not to say that the Spirit does not work today or that God cannot do miracles, but that miraculous gifts are no longer done through men. Strangely, many assume that the Spirit only operates miraculously and never providentially through Creation as a part of the Godhead. In other words, many would rather give credit to the Spirit working miraculously rather than give credit to the providence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works to appeal to the will of people by His medium and instrument, the Word of God, as has always been true. The Spirit and the revealed Word are so closely connected that those who resist the Gospel therefore also resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). It is truly sad how the providential work of God by the Word has been ignored and denied the very power that it contains. It is also truly amazing how that every working of the Spirit upon people is always by the Word according to the Scriptures. This is not to say that the Spirit does not operate outside the Word, because He does make intercession for Christians to the Father, but the Spirit only works upon man by the Word.

As was eternally purposed, the Holy Spirit delivered the Gospel (1 Thess. 1:5, 1 Pet. 1:12), and the Spirit witnesses to people by the Scriptures (Heb. 10:15). As the Word was in the 1st century, so it is presented in the Scriptures being the current mode of the Spirit speaking to man. The Spirit communicates in no other way except by words according to the Spirit. Such is very clear in 1 Corinthians 2:13. The Spirit only teaches revelation by words (1 Cor. 2:13). Nowhere in the Scriptures can there be found any other leading by the Spirit using hunches, feelings, and any other inner-leadings.

The Spirit’s speaking by words through the Scriptures also shows that the writers of Scripture received revelation from the Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21). In all the instances in Scripture, the Spirit either directly spoke to people by the prophets and Apostles (Eph. 3:5, 1 Tim. 4:1, Rev. 2-3) or to people by the Spirit spoken through the Word of Scripture (2 Pet. 1:21). As has been shown, the miraculous direct speaking and miraculous visions of spiritual gifts have ceased, so the Scriptures exist as the only medium of the Spirit to speak to man today. The Scriptures are all-sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and God can do great things through His written Word and His providence.

Now, the Word is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). It is the medium and instrument of the Spirit, and the purpose for all of the Spirit’s workings (John 14:26). It is very important to recognize the operations of the Word of God being that it is the Spirit’s instrument for the salvation of men. See, the workings of the Spirit are identical to that of the Word. The Scriptures present many operations of the Word and notice how close these workings are to the Spirit. Did you know that the Word indwells within Christians? “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16). Both the Spirit and the Word dwell in Christians. Notice that people must choose to let the Word of Christ dwell within them and to the extent in which it does. In fact, the Scriptures show that the Word works within Christians (1 Thes. 2:13). The Word is implanted into Christians by their own acceptance (James 1:21, Psa. 119:11). With this in mind and knowing that the Word is the spirit’s sword and revelation, we now know what the Word does and how the Spirit uses the Word as a medium. The many more similarities between the work of the Spirit and the work of the Word.

Just like the Spirit, the Word saves (Rom. 1:16, 1 Cor. 15:2). In fact, the Spirit saves by the Word for the Spirit revealed the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), and it is also written that,

“Christ: in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, – in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is a promise of our inheritance, unto the redemption of His own possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:12b-14).

Being that the Word of God is the only means of salvation (Acts 4:12, Rom. 1:16), then it is the only medium of salvation by the Spirit. See salvation is through faith, which comes from the Word of God (Eph. 2:8-9, Rom. 10:17). Faith comes from the Word and the Word from the Spirit, so it makes sense that Christ said His words are spirit and life (John 6:63). Evidently, the Word gives life just like the Spirit. One must be born of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of Heaven, and Christians are born of the Spirit by the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23, 1 Cor. 4:15). Just as the Spirit sanctifies Christians, this is also through the Word (John 17:17). The Spirit also comforts by the Word (1 Thess. 4:18). The Spirit witnesses by the written Word (Heb. 10:15-17). He guided the Apostles unto all truth in knowing of the Word of God (John 16:13, 2 Peter 1:21). The Word produces fruit like the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, Jam. 1:18). God’s Word also produces love just like the Spirit (1 John 2:5, Rom. 5:5). See the Word of God is living, active, powerful, and the all-sufficient medium and instrument of the Spirit of God. Let all lay aside inner-leadings without the Word and hunches not established on our hearts by the Word of God.

The power of the Word is so great that Hebrews 4:12 states,

“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

There is no other greater means of the piercing to the soul of people than the Word of God. This passage stands against the many, who would refer to Scripture in general as the letter that kills rather than the Spirit that gives life while ignoring that Christ’s words are spirit (John 6:63) and these words were given and written in the Bible (John 17:8, 1 Cor. 2:13, 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Spirit’s words in Hebrews 4:12 present the Word of God as it is: alive and acting. It acts as a spiritual sword separating one’s spirit from the soul, one’s inner-self, thus revealing the thoughts and intents of one’s heart.

Still many resist the Spirit by resisting the Word. They do not believe what is written that the Scriptures make one complete and equipped to do every good work. Many would grant the Spirit mysterious working rather than give credit to the Spirit working through the Word in Scripture. It has been clearly shown that the Spirit only works to appeal to the will of people by His sword, the Word of God, as has always been true. Christians must remember that those who resist the Gospel therefore also resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). Therefore, anyone resisting the Word of God is quenching the Spirit (1 Thes. 5:19). No one should exclude the Spirit-revealed Gospel from being what it is, the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). It is true that the Spirit does operate outside the Word, because He does make intercession for Christians, but the Spirit only works upon man for salvation by the Word. The Spirit’s revelation of the Scriptures presents two facts: that all working of the Spirit toward people is by the Word, and all working of the Spirit through people is to establish and confirm the Word.

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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5 Responses to How the Holy Spirit Says He Operates by the Word – Part 4 of The Holy Spirit Speaks

  1. Scott says:

    I read the Cross-Bearing Meditation, and I remember agreeing with it, but that’s about it.

    Bobby, I will certainly present the undermining of Scripture, but it may be some time to do so fully. I’ve got to take a break from the blogs for a while I think you can understand. I can tell you this. I could not follow your reasoning from the beginning. I do not understand how you concluded that the illumination of the Spirit is not by any providential occurance with the Word by meditating on it or something else by the Word, which certainly would be the working of the Holy Spirit. Also, it is hard to understand if you are making the case for another method of receiving a spiritual gift, like the gift of wisdom found in 1 Cor. 12:8-10, or if you are referring to a different enlightenment/illumination altogether. Then, it is hard to see how you reached the conclusion that this is an illumination directly by the Spirit’s indwelling.

    I believe this illumination to be a spiritual gift from the Spirit, which means two things to consider. Either the Holy Spirit is still directly operating by miracles, which are used to confirm messagers and their messages from God, or there are Apostles laying hands on Christians today and/or there is Holy Spirit baptism today. Either of these operations of the Spirit means that there is more revelation being revealed from God. Such revelation would thus be undermining the written Word being complete and all-sufficient in revelation. This is why I believe it to be undermining completeness of the Scriptures.

    It is great to know as I think you imply that you do believe in the completeness of Scripture. Present your case and I will consider it.

    Grace & peace to you in Christ,
    Scott

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  2. Oh, I hope you get around to my Cross-Bearing meditation.

    Shalom and Blessings,
    Bobby Valentine
    http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com

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  3. Scott I thank you for coming by my blog. I hope you will continue to do so. But I fail to see how what I wrote undermines the sufficiency of the Scriptures. What I wrote comes from Paul’s prayer. Paul prays for the Spirit to do something for those Ephesians. If my exegesis is wrong I would be grateful for you showing how and where. But I do not reject what I wrote simply because it conflicts with a prior presupposition.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

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  4. Scott says:

    I have been edified by the blog above, but his presentation of an illumination of the Spirit upon Christians does not exist in Scripture. Such an illumination would have to come from the Holy Spirit baptism or the laying on of hands. Also, this belief undermines the Scriptures as being all-sufficient. I have not yet read the post on “Called to be Cross-Bearers” yet.

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  5. Scott just discovered your blog. I have read a couple of your posts with interest. I think we could have much to talk about. Your love for the Lord and his word is evident and I celebrate that. I invite you to drop by my own blog and take a look around. In particular I call attention to two posts I have done recently that have themes that echo a couple of yours … even if they may have slightly different points of view. The first is three part series on the Holy Spirit in Ephesians located here:

    http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/search/label/Holy%20Spirit

    And the second is called “Called to Be Cross-Bearers” a meditation on Mark 8 located at this address:

    http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/2007/04/called-to-be-cross-bearers-mark-8.html

    I do hope to come by more in the future and engage your posts in a brotherly manner. I look forward to learning and sharing.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine
    http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/

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