In the first two parts of this series I covered John 5:39, 40 when Jesus he said, – “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
John 14:26 – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
These passages from the bible have been used against the bible by suggesting that:
- We don’t need the Bible because the Spirit will teach us everything we need to know.
- The Bible is a lower form of revelation and not as authoritative as the higher and more direct personal revelation from God.
- There are many who have an unhealthy reliance on a book.
- Objective, propositional, written, and absolute truth are invalid concepts
- Immature or ignorant Christian are separating the scriptures from the Spirit.
- The church engages in too much bible study.
- Many within Christendom are involved in bible idolatry.
- Spiritually Born again saints are not relying on the Spirit.
- The concepts of Sola Scriptura are all invalid.
- Adherence to the concept of absolute truth is untenable.
- Propositional truth from the scriptures is ineffective.
- The manner is which bible books were assembled is suspect.
- The written words of scripture are not as authoritative as Christianity Claims.
In this, he third part of the series we will consider -
John 21:25 – ”Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
John 20:30 – “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book.”
This verse has been used to suggest that:
- The Bible is insufficient to establish a real relationship with God
- There are many possible revelations apart from scripture which are just as authoritative as scripture.
- That if we are not open to receiving these extra-biblical revelations, we are close minded, spiritually.
- That the scriptures are not the “final authority” on faith life and practice.
- That subjective, mystical, and existential spirituality are more mature expressions of faith.
- That we can not know all that God intended us to know.
The statement by John is to be taken as it would be understood among the persons to whom it is addressed; and as no one supposes that he meant it literally, so there is no deception in the case, and consequently no impeachment of existing scripture, its inspiration, or any indictment of what later would become scripture. John is not setting the stage for a mystical hodgepodge of data that supersedes scripture. Even if this were not hyperbole, which it is, John is in no way giving credit to the notion that there was information “out there” that wasn’t subject to being searched for and filtered through the bible.
I am not saying that God doesn’t speak through various means, nor that He is limited in His communication to us solely through scripture. But, I am saying that we simply have no other measure by which we can determine whether those communications are from God other than searching the scriptures to see if those revelations are true. But, and like always, a few questions:
1. Does the possible existence of things not revealed in scripture imply that those things may contradict and supersede scripture?
2. Can scripture still be written?
3. What can be known of God and his relationship to us apart from scripture?