When Scripture is Not Enough

Frame_Doc of Word coverAs I’ve started my master’s thesis process, I’ll probably be posting time to time on thoughts that arise as I go. I’m addressing how God speaks today and making a case for him speaking sufficiently through Scripture. Of course that doesn’t negate the subjective experiences that we have but puts them in a framework.  Now I know just saying that raises the hackles on some folks. But I think a lot of confusion exists because when we see God speaking to folks in Scripture is not adequately seen through the broader spectrum of his self-revelation. Anyways, like I said, more to follow.

John Frame’s Doctrine of the Word of God is a staple for this work. I really liked what he said here:

Believers often wish that God revealed more to them than he has revealed in Scripture. Often, Reformed writers will respond to this need by simply telling people to read their Bible and more carefully. Charismatic writers often suggest that the troubled believer should listen for a fresh revelation from the Spirit. But both of these solutions are essentially intellectualistic. Both of them urge that we resolve our unease by seeking further propositional knowledge, either from Scripture or beyond Scripture. But Scripture itself tells us that often our need is not for more knowledge, but for spiritual growth, spiritual perception, the revelation of Ephesians 1:17. (236)

What he is getting at is our need to absolve tension of uncertainty. Whether it’s relying on the knowledge of Scripture or supposing that God speaks beyond Scripture, the quest is usually born from a need for more information thinking that will take care of whatever it is we grappling with. Why? Because uncertainty has a way of making us squirm. But maybe God wants to do something in the not knowing and use that so we turn to him with trust in the completed work of Christ.

Consider the passage that Frame cites – Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

What is the spirit of wisdom and revelation? Read in context of what Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:1-16, it’s concerning the Christian’s identity in Christ and what we have by virtue of that identity. This is the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer that enables to accept the truths of Scripture and be secure in this identity. By doing so, we learn to rest in Christ and being found in him (Philippians 3:9) even in the midst of uncertainty. That is the place where we grow, in the place of dependence upon him. Its a journey that is not easily resolved by more information but by transformation over time.

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About Lisa Robinson

Servant of Christ, DTS Grad, member of Town North Presbyterian Church (PCA), non-profit professional, anti-poverty advocate, writer, thinker, explorer of ethnic food, lover of good coffee and a good laugh.
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7 Responses to When Scripture is Not Enough

  1. Laura says:

    Good thoughts here. Will be looking forward to more insight as you work on your thesis. It seems we forget that we walk by faith and not by sight. But we want sight – so we either hunt for more in the Bible or look for extra-biblical revelation.

  2. johngchild says:

    Good post except your last paragraph makes no sense to me as an explanation of Eph 1:17. Surely the spirit of wisdom and rev is the Spirit of w & revelation? The Spirit enables us to know God/Christ better.

  3. ljrobinson says:

    John, as you know there is a diversity of interpretation on the referent of the spirit. I’ve tended to agree with the interpretation that says it does not refer to the Holy Spirit. But I am willing to explore some more. You may be right.

  4. akanderson1 says:

    Love your thoughts and insight my friend. You are a blessing. God is indeed up to something in your life. The best is absolutely yet to come. #RestinChrist 🙂

  5. ljrobinson says:

    Thanks Andre! I sure hope so.

  6. Donnie Burford says:

    Gods Revealed and Inspired Word is all sufficient! That which we need is further understanding and enablement. Both which are brought about by God the Spirit as we Grow in Grace and knowledge! It was God Who Gave life and light in the Natural Realm, and it is only God who can Give light and life in the Spiritual Real. The Light is Brought to us through the Person of His Son, He is the Light of the World. All Scripture, He testified, Speak, reveal, Him. It is the Spirits work to thus reveal Him! There is no need of New Revelation, although maybe new in the sense of discovery to us, but understanding of the Revelation God has already given of His Son in His all sufficient Word! Suggestions; Light, Enlightenment, and this we have come to know as a work of the Spirit in concert with His Word as being Spiritual Illumination! When we are Born of God anew, Spiritually from above it is the Spirit who Quickens, gives life. He does not abandon us as new born, but rather he continues to give us light by what He has revealed in the Word, particularly, that Christ is our all and all. In this, I believe, He fulfills the purpose and promise of God towards us and in us! (John 14:26, 15:26) IMOP My prayer is for you, and us all who believe, that the Spirit may teach you, guide you and enable you through The Word with all you need for The Glory of Christ and your further Blessings!

  7. Pingback: 2014 in review: top 5 posts and a few random thoughts | Lisa Robinson

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