In my last post I said that if you are not a person of the Word, then you cannot truly be a person of the Spirit. Dan described me as being “open-but-cautious-yes-prophecy-might-exist-but-the-Word-is-better”. I will admit that I did only give half of the picture. So here I will say it the other way round – if you are not a person of the Spirit, then you cannot truly be a person of the Word.
Over at the SBL conference, there are some seriously knowledgeable people. They would beat you on a Bible quiz any day. They know the original Greek and Hebrew, the textual variants, and the history of interpretation for any passage you care to mention. And the other day one of the scholars chastised the others for not being learned enough in the field of textual criticism.
In John 3, Jesus talks to someone who may well have been the leading theologian of his day “are you the teacher of Israel”, and tells him that he needs the Spirit’s work in his life. There is so much more to knowing God than simply knowing the Bible.
Non-charismatics often speak against the charismatic desire to “experience” God, particularly setting it as a battle of the subjective experience versus the objective Word of God. But this is to make a false dichotomy – the New Testament abounds with experiential language when the Spirit is discussed – joy unspeakable, crying out Abba Father etc. So a genuine commitment to the Word must result in a desire to know not just more about God, but to know him personally too.
So Dan, I am cautious, I freely admit it. But I hope I am truly open as well.