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Wondering What to Believe?

  1. Does Nature Give Proof of God?
    8 Digging Deeper
  2. Can I Hear God's Voice?
    8 Digging Deeper
  3. Who is God?
    8 Digging Deeper
  4. Who Wrote the Bible?
    8 Digging Deeper
  5. Can I Trust the Bible?
    7 Digging Deeper
  6. Is there a Right and Wrong?
    7 Digging Deeper
  7. Why Does God Allow Evil?
    9 Digging Deeper
  8. Who Am I?
    7 Digging Deeper
  9. What is the Meaning of Life?
    7 Digging Deeper
  10. Does God Love Me?
    5 Digging Deeper

During biblical times, God communicated in various ways like direct conversation, dreams, visions, and through prophets who wrote and/or spoke as they were guided by the Holy Spirit. God’s primary way of communicating was through prophets who wrote and spoke as they were led by the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:25-27, 45-49). Over 2, 500 times in the Old Testament, the prophets said, “The Lord said,” or, “Thus says the Lord.”

The writer of Hebrews says that God once spoke to people in various ways and in fragmented amounts, but now “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Jesus is “the Word” that became “flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-3, 14). He always pleased the Father in everything that he said and did (John 8:29). No one could come to the Father except through him because he is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus never sinned or made a mistake (2 Cor. 5:21). He claimed that no one knew the Father except him because he came from the Father and was returning to the Father (Matthew 11:25-27; John 17:11; 20:17). After his resurrection, the Father gave him all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18).

The way that God communicates with us now is through Jesus in the Scriptures that God guided the apostles of Jesus or men associated with them to write. The apostle Paul said that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ who was serving under the command of God (Galatians 1:1, 11). He claimed that what he wrote were the commands of God (I Corinthians 14:37). Peter said that Paul’s writings were Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul quoted from the Gospel of Luke and calls it Scripture (I Timothy 5:18 from Luke 10:7).

Wouldn’t a written word from God be just as authoritative as the spoken word of God? Does a written recording of an oral message change the veracity or validity of the message? Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide his apostles into all the truth (John 16:12-15). If we listen to the apostles, we listen to Jesus; if we refuse to listen to the apostles, we refuse to listen to Christ himself (Luke 10:16).

Since the coming of Jesus and the apostolic messages recorded in the New Testament documents, there is no evidence that God still speaks in dreams, visions, direct voice, or in additional revelation. All that we know about the will of God for our lives is found in Jesus and his apostles whose truth is revealed in the New Testament writings. It appears that this warning at the conclusion of the last book of the New Testament applies to other Scriptures as well:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).

God still works in our lives today but there is no proof that he continues to reveal additional Scripture or truth. God communicates with us today through words but those words are the words of Jesus and apostolic writings in the New Testament. The word from 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 (Hebrews 4:12).

The words of Jesus are not ineffective and dead but they are “spirit and life” (John 6:63). We can understand these words and live a life pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10, 17). When we keep the commands God has given us in the Scripture, “God lives in us and we in him” (I John 3:22-24). We remain in Jesus when we keep His commands given in Scripture and His words “remain in us” (John 15:4-7).

The revealed word of God is the way to “test all things” (I Thessalonians 5:19-22). Since many false prophets have gone out into the world, believers must “test the spirits to see whether they are from God or not” (I John 4:1-3). If someone today claims to be an apostle of Jesus, what kind of tests could we apply? The twelves apostles were personally selected by Jesus from among his disciples. After the betrayal and death of Judas Iscariot, the apostles needed to select someone to take his place. The candidates must have followed Jesus from the baptism of John and witnessed the resurrected Jesus (Acts 1:21-22). Three or four years after his ascension, Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus and called him to be an apostle (Acts 9:1-6). Paul mentioned that appearance as qualifying him to be an apostle (I Corinthians 9:1). Anyone claiming to be an apostle today must have seen the Lord. In the late first century, when the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, he commended the church at Ephesus because they had “tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false”( Revelation 2:2).

God chose to reveal himself totally, completely, authoritatively and sufficiently through Jesus. Jesus is God’s final word. Before Jesus came, revelation was fragmentary and limited. Now that Jesus has come and the apostles have been guided into all the truth and this truth has been written for us in their writings, then we need no further revelation. What God has given us in Jesus is thoroughly sufficient to equip and guide us. Peter said, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter1:3). Why wouldn’t what the apostle Paul wrote about the Old Testament Scriptures in the following quotation apply equally as well to the New Testament Scriptures?

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)