Hearing and knowing God’s voice is foundational to discipleship. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them …and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4). The scriptures are full of instructions and corrections to people’s subjective experiences and claims about God. Listen to God’s voice with an open Bible. Expect God to speak to you when you read the Bible. It functions as an instruction or “Owners” manual to illustrate how people through history have heard God’s voice, what His voice is like and what it is “not” like. They provide an important valuable safety net to the churches tendency to error and deception. I have spent a lifetime reading and studying the scriptures and I love them. I worry about people who say they don’t need the Bible. It has always made me hungry and thirsty to know God for myself the way David and Daniel and Peter and John and Moses and Jesus knew Him. It constantly challenges the poverty of my experience with God and calls me further and deeper and higher. Could we do without the Bible? Yes. Most believers before the invention of the printing press did not have access to the scriptures in their own language. I have been in remote villages in China where most of the people are following Jesus but there have been no Bibles for more than 50 years. We have the Holy Spirit who inspired the scripture. He has been given to us to “lead us into all Truth.” Knowing the scriptures is no substitute for knowing the Author any more than reading a love letter is a substitute for knowing the lover. But why would I want to ignore her letters to me? They help me to know her better.
John Cooke – jfcooke.com