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.