Q. I'm wrestling with the idea that the Bible is the completed revelation of God, vs. the idea that God is still speaking to His people. What's the scriptural basis for saying that everything we have in the Bible is all there is? As for today, a contemporary revelation that contradicts scripture would be considered heresy. But what about a revelation that deals with something not found in scripture? How do we discern whether a prophecy is from God or not?
A. Thankfully, the answer is not either/or, but both/and (provided we properly define terms). The Bible is the completed revelation of God, and God does still speak to His people. By “completed revelation of God” people mean that:
(1) The Holy Spirit revealed things to the hearts of the original authors of all the books of the Old and New Testaments and they expressed those things in the words we know as Scripture (i.e., all the words of the Bible are inspired [e.g., see 2 Tim. 3:16] and therefore carry ultimate authority);
(2) These things can not be said of any other text outside the Bible. In that sense the Bible is the revelation of God and the complete revelation of God. The Bible, is the standard by which we judge the truthfulness of all else.
At the same time, the Bible teaches that God is the God of revelation, who delights in communicating with His children through the Holy Spirit. He does that directly to the believer’s heart (many examples in the book of Acts) or through another person when the gift of prophecy operates (1 Cor. 14). We can be fairly certain prophecy is from God when three conditions are met:
• it doesn’t contradict what the Bible teaches,
• it confirms what we know God is already speaking to our hearts, and
• the truth is revealed.
The wise counsel of mature, discerning, brothers and sisters in Christ can greatly help us evaluate (“judge,”1 Cor. 14:29) the authenticity of what we believe to have been revealed in words.
Pastors Keith, Mark, & Greg