"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." - Psalm 18:30
Does God Speak Directly to Mankind Today?
There are those who believe that God still speaks directly to us today as He did in the first century when the New Testament was being written. Some who believe this see no need to study His message to us through the Scriptures – and, so, they do not read the entire Bible or they feel that the Scriptures do not cover all modern-day situations.
There was a reason God communicated directly to men in the first century. The information He intended for us had not been previously known (Romans 7:7; Ephesians 3:5; I Corinthians 2:9-11; Nehemiah 9:14), and He wanted to insure that it was provided accurately (Matthew 24:35; II Peter 1:15). In the Scriptures, we are assured that we have the complete will of God for man today. His apostles were promised that the Holy Spirit would be given to “guide them into all truth.” (John 16:13) This means that they had all truth in the first century!
Paul tells us in II Timothy 3:16, 17, “all scripture was given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, completely furnished unto all good works.” If we have in Scripture the instruction for all good works, what else can we possibly need? In Ephesians 3:3-5, Paul tells us he received his message by revelation from God, and that it can be understood by its readers. If we have all truth in the writings of the apostles; if the scriptures furnish to “all good works” and make the man of God “complete”, and it is written so we can understand it, there is no need for God to continue to reveal to mankind over and over again that which He provided completely. In fact, Jude 3 tells us "the faith” was once for all delivered unto the saints. Peter was able to say that God “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue...” (II Peter 1:3).
There are some who believe that God must speak to guide us in daily choices. Such a view ignores the scriptural process which develops maturity within the growing spiritual person and which provides the ability to “discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
Others point out that the Scriptures themselves teach that the Spirit must lead and guide the Christian. While this is true, it is vitally important to understand HOW the Spirit does so. In Ephesians 6:17, Paul tells us to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God...” As the instrument through which a soldier does battle is the “sword”, so the instrument through which the Spirit operates is the word of God.
How did this happen? The Bible says the Spirit was to "convict the world of sin" (John 16:8). On the day of Pentecost, in carrying out this promise, the words of the Spirit pricked men in the heart, and led them to seek salvation (Acts 2:36-38). See also Acts 24:25.
John 3:3-5 says we are “born again” of the Spirit. But, I Peter 1:22-25 shows that we are born of the “incorruptible seed” of the word of God. Again, the Spirit is providing the “sword” to be used in bringing about the new birth.
We are commanded to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). We accomplish this when we walk in truth (II John 4; Psalms 26:3). Jesus says, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). And this truth is all in the written word today!
The damage of these false ideas can not only hinder us from more Bible reading, it will even lead us to reject what we read in the Bible in favor of an imagined message we claim to be from God. Some have concluded, "I Know the Bible says, but God also told me..."
Claiming a personal “leading” from the Spirit will inevitably lead to individuals to be lost when scriptures on salvation are replaced with a different message! The source of false information is the devil! (John 8:44) Let us put aside these false notions and depend upon the Bible as the sole means by which we are led by the Spirit. By it we can know and be sure we are listening to God. As Paul teaches in II Corinthians 10:5, let us “cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ...”