Obviously, the "burning in the bosom" experience is not enough proof. Is there some other type of “spiritual” experience needed to confirm that it is the Holy Spirit working?
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"How can I know if I am truly discerning the Bible properly? 1) "Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good." Job 34:4 Your standard of morality and law will be God Himself. The Holy Spirit will aid in wisdom in weighing cases. This includes learning God's character, learning the rules of logic, studying God's moral laws, and meditating on the wisdom and advice found in scripture (proverbs, James, Ecclesiastes, etc). 2)"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in true knowledge and discernment, so that you may be able to test what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." Phillipians 1:9-10 As we love God and our brethren and neighbors we will grow in true knowledge (relational knowledge with others, especially Christ). It is this true knowledge we gain as we love while abiding in Christ and partaking with the church that gives us discernment (vs. Simple head knowledge which leads to a fractured church, not a unified one). We then, from this spirit of unity and love, can test for what is best and ideal that the church as a whole may be blameless until Christ returns. Our goal is the love and growth of the church. 3) Pray for discernment and understanding (1 Kings 3:9-11). These allow us to effectually use our gifts, and to distinguish between right and wrong. 4) Use/practice what you know to be good. "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:14 5) Don't quarrel on trifling matters, avoid godless chatter, and do not listen to those you know to be false teachers. (II Timothy 2:14-19) 6) Cut secret sins from your life, repent of hypocrisy, and do not deliberately deceive with or distort the word of God. Use it as plainly as you can, and this in turn will strengthen your own discernment and understanding. (II Cor 4:1-2) 7) Get into the practice of examining what you hear from teachers, books, and speakers against the word of God. (1 John 4:1, 1 Thess 5:19-22, Acts 17:11) 8) Scripture leads back to Christ. (John 5:39). This may seem pretty basic, but there are many books and teachings out there proposing new ideas or 'lost' methods of study. The first litmus test is always if the teaching magnifies Christ throughout, or magnifies its new teaching throughout with Christ as an incidental. So, in summary: Love God and others, repent of sin, study the word, test what you hear and read against scripture, study general common sense and the rules of logic, pray/lean on God/ask for wisdom in all decision making, avoid trivial disputes, use the word as clearly as you personally can. While there will be times where you clearly know the Holy Spirit just gave you an answer or alerted you to something wrong, in general the Holy Spirit works by repeating to you the words of Christ, or by giving understanding, or by giving giving grace for spiritual growth. You will know you are discerning correctly not primarily by any feeling, but by how well what you have discerned reflects Christ and is harmonious with the Word of God.
In Romans 8:14-17 Paul tells us that if we have the Holy Spirit working in us today then we are children of God and in Galatians 5:22-23 Paul tells us how we know if the Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts and that is if there is evidence we have some of the following nine character traits, to wit: love, joy, peace, happiness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Sure glad he didn't say we had to have all nine character traits all the time for I would fall way short of that mark!
Yes, The Holy Spirit guides us in all our thoughts and actions. He will "nudge" you in your mind when you are off the right path. He will give you understanding of the scriptures. At first it may be a simple understanding and as you grow in the study and listening to the Holy Spirit you will have deeper understanding. Read and study, get help from your Pastor or small group teacher. But read every day. At different times you will pick up on something you did not get the first time.
The very first and essential requirement to understanding scripture is that the reader is truly born into the family of God, born from above, saved. Otherwise the Bible is just a book of ancient history, rules, regulations, philosophy and mystery. 1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Romans 15:4 states "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." We need to realize that not all scripture applies to all people of all eras or ages. Israel is not the Church and the Church isn't Israel. In Matthew 16:18 Christ said "I will build my church". "Will build" is in the future tense which began at Pentecost. Even 7-9 years after Pentecost Acts 11:19 records that those of the dispersion preached the Gospel to "Jews only". Bear in mind that after Christ called then ordained his disciples the "Kingdom Gospel" message was meant for the Jew only. Matthew 10:5-6) Church doctrine comes from the letters of the apostle Paul, not the Gospels. Failing to separate the two leads to misinterpretation and confusion. Isaiah 28:9 "Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts." Isaiah 28:10 "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" Myles Coverdale was a 16th-century Bible translator who produced the first complete printed translation of the Bible into English. He offered these words of profound wisdom. "It shall greatly help you to understand Scripture if you mark not only what is spoken or written, but ask of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what comes after”
Be careful when wanting to feel something "spiritual". A relationship with God does not operate off your feelings. The Word says to test everything in the scriptural with other scriptures. They will at least appear 3 times in the bible. And the bible does state that. God will reveal Himself to you in the way He chooses to. Trying to get a spiritual experience out of Him shows our lack of faith. Jesus was always asked for some spiritual sign of some sort to prove what he was saying was true. He told them that they will never get one and not even the generations after them will. I will tell you that anything I come across if I do not have peace with it then I continue to question it. This does not mean it will be something that you will always agree with. I have many times came across something in the Word that pointed me to truth but I was not happy about what I found. Rather it was because I was wrong and didnt like being wrong or regretful. But I always had peace with it knowing that yes even though at one time I did not agree to it it was the Word of God and I needed Him to help me in my unbelief.
There is no sign or experience. You will hunger to read it and you will see Christ revealed in the big picture; the entire bible.
The short answer to..."rightly dividing the Word of Truth..." is to first and foremost pray for wisdom and understanding before you study. Secondly, and this is almost as important, to always look at the context of the verse or passage. A verse taken out of context can be twisted to mean almost anything. So ask these questions: who was the intended audience or recipient; what were the circumstances precipitating the writing; what was the specific issue addressed by the passage, what was the intended purpose; finally how does this apply to your life or circumstance? If you address your study of the Bible is this sort if manner, it has been my experience that even what many call difficult passages become clear. Also please keep in mind that the LORD will give understanding as we mature in our individual faith and walk. So keep asking and keep seeking.
The just shall live by faith. In this faith walk we must believe and trust the word of God. In his word it says when we are born again our recreated spirit can now receive the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of God. We now have the mind of Christ we have the ability to understand the word of God.2 Timothy 3;16,17 1 Corinthians 2;16 As new born babes we desire the sincere milk of the word. We are not just feeding our flesh alone anymore but being alive to God we must feed our spirit with every word that proceed out of the mouth of God. If we mediate on the word of God day and night we willl be like a tree that is planted by the waters where we will grow in the knowledge of God bring forth fruit where we will succeed and propser in his word. Believe,that God has sent us a comforter that will lead us and guide us into all truth. Acting on that truth by studying the word of God so you can grow by righty dividing the word of truth 2 Timothy 2;15. We have to realize we are the children of God and he has written his word to all his children where we can understand it. Now God will not divuldge all knowledge to us until we are ready to handle it righteously. As we grow the word is revealed to us through revelation knowledge.If we search for the word like hidden treasure we will find the knowledge of God Proverbs 2:1-5 If we do not study the word we will stay as babes and can only receive the milk of the word.We will not be able to digest the meat of the word of God Hebrew 5:12. which causes us to not have faith in the mature things of God. God will confirm his word through us with signs following Mark 16:20. If we continually study in his word we shall know the truth and will be set free in the liberty that Jesus Christ have set us free in. John 8:31,32, Galatians 5:1. We make the mistake by trying to interpret scripture by scripture read the entire bible through then interpret it. First read it,then believe it, then do it, then you will understand it, then you will become it.
Excellent question, Vincent. 1. First and foremost, you must make up your mind that you want to know His will. This is the MOST difficult part. Because you must decide to get rid of what you thought you knew. And you must be ready to transform as the Word reveals Himself to you. NB: The danger here lies in comparing what you're learning with what you've learned from Church or elsewhere, and trying to reconcile the two. Even going to ask someone, "Does this really mean what it's saying here?" Your reliable Teacher is the Holy Spirit. And He doesn't like arrogance. He can clarify anything, but no quarrels. 2. Make up your mind to apply what you're learning. 3. (This part is really not absolutely necessary, so long as you apply the above two). Scripture always supports Scripture. So, if you see one verse or passage, which appears to be introducing new material, or contradict what you've already learnt and understood on your own, and you don't see it anywhere else, then understand that you need two or three witnesses to establish a doctrine. Armed like this, you can't go wrong. Bless.
God has given us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting or teaching of the believer. He has also given us the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth when their is controversy in understanding the scriptures. The key to activating the Holy Spirit is to pray when your having difficulty understanding the meaning of the scriptures. Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be approved in edified of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 13:1 This scripture means that every word or meaning of the word of God is confirmed through scripture two to three times. Jesus said their are two that bear witness of me the Father in Heaven and the miracles that follow me. John 8:18 John 5:36 This is true in court cases that their has to be sufficient proof a crime has been committed. Your smart phone can look up commentary on almost any scriptural subject but the Holy Spirit is the final authority. The Holy Spirit will answer questions through his servants hear on earth, through other scriptures or through apostles, prophets. Evangelists, pastors and teachers in the faith. The Holy Spirit can give us metal images in this process but you must be saved to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth. John 16:13
All scripture is given by inspiration of God. It is God breathed. We have to take simple truths of the bible and go from there. The bible never contradicts it self. We can start with John 3:16, and apply that truth to us. Then as we go through the bible we will find verses that reinforce what we have already believed. John 6:37, John 6:39 tell us that all that the Father giveth Him, will come to Him, and all that come to Him He will in no wise cast out. John 6:39 says, He has never lost one. John 10:28-29 says, He has given us eternal life, and we will never perish, and no man can pluck us out of His hand And my Father who is greater than all, not one can pluck us out of His hand. We know that First Corinthians 15:1-4 is the gospel and that all who believe that gospel are given eternal life at the moment we believed. Ephesians 1:13 In whom we also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also AFTER ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Hebrews 13:5 says, He will never leave us or forsake us. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath eternal life, and shall not come into judgement, but is passed from death unto life. John 3:18 says, we can never be condemned after we have believed. John 3:36 says, All believers have eternal life, and all unbelievers are under the wrath of God because they have not believed on the name of the Son of God. John 3:36 We have to believe that all of Gods promises are true. We have to believe what the bible says, and not what men say. As we go on through scripture we find that salvation is all by grace and has no bearing on our works. Good or bad. Romans 11:6 We should always believe what the bible says and not what we believe and try to make the bible say what we believe. Some to do that to their own destruction. Galatians 1:7-9 Those that preach another gospel or another Jesus will be accursed. God wants all to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth. Second Timothy 2:4 and First John 2:2. Romans 1:16 IT is the power of God unto salvation to every one that BELEIVETH, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. We know that there are many false teachers gone out into the world preaching false gospels that save no one. Matthew 7:15-23 They are the enemies of the cross preaching another Jesus or another salvation by works instead of all grace. Romans 11:6 Salvation is totally by what He did for us and we can not add to that, or take away from it. Those that say salvation is limited to only a few are unbelievers. Salvation by grace is to every one the BELIEVETH. BY the same token those that say a one time believer can be lost are saying Gods promises are not true. Any time we believe something other than what the bible says, the simple truths, we are always wrong and the bible is right. Those that say John 3:16 is not true, are liars and the bible is true. Since I believe that we have to stay by the word of God, I believe the KJV version is the best we have. All other bibles are interpretations of the word of God and have been corrupted by man injecting his own belief system into Gods word. The KJV version is the closest to the word of God we have. Some English words do not mean the same as the original text. The word repent has two meanings. Repentance for salvation means to change your mind in what ever you were trusting in to save you, to trusting in Jesus as the only way of salvation by grace without works. Ephesians 2:8-9 If we change any thing and add works to grace we have perverted the gospel and it is no longer a free gift to all that believe. One of the greatest truths of the bible is that we are all sinners and salvation is a free gift to all that believe the gospel. First Corinthians 15:3-4 Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMAZING GRACE, JESUS PAID IT ALL AND WE PAID 0. IT IS FREE.
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