Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sufficiency of the Holy Spirit and Scripture

In living a life for Christ, we must know what to do and why to do it. That sounds obvious, and it is. However, many believers appear to be off track when it comes to why they live as they do.

I hear some Christians talk about the sufficiency of scripture. The idea is that the bible is sufficient for telling us all we need to know about faith and practice. I understand this idea and am somewhat sympathetic towards it. Scripture certainly ought to drive our lives much more than, for example, tradition. However, scripture is not enough.

I hear other Christians talk almost exclusively about the Holy Spirit. I can sympathize with this as well. We obviously need the leading of the Holy Spirit to have any clue how to live our lives. It is the Spirit who empowers us as we go through the day. Since the Holy Spirit is fully God he is worthy of our worship. However, the Spirit is not enough.

I hold to neither the sufficiency of scripture alone nor the sufficiency of the Holy Spirit alone. What I do believe in is the sufficiency of the Holy Spirit and scripture. We need them both to adequately and accurately direct our lives.

I'm in no way equating the Holy Spirit and the bible. One is God and one is not. We should certainly treat them differently. However, we can and should look to both for direction and guidance. They work differently in our lives, but we need both. They complement each other very well.

I once heard a believer say that God will never tell us to do anything that violates what we see in scripture. I've found this to be true in my life. The Holy Spirit may instruct us to do things we don't see in the bible; however, we almost always end up following scriptural principles.

Let's look to both sources to live as we should. If we overemphasize the bible, we may lose out on the vitality and power of the Spirit. If we overemphasize the Spirit, we may end up attributing some things to him that are simply incorrect (because we've ignored scripture).

When we follow the bible and the Holy Spirit, and believe in the combined sufficiency of these two things, then we can live as God desires.

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