~~Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, August 15, 1782
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17Today, I would like to share a little reflection that has been occupying my thoughts recently, so this post will not be very lengthy. I honestly do not recall what I was thinking about, or how this thought came to my mind, but it was more or less of a question that applied to myself, and to (I hope) many Christians throughout the world. In case you haven't noticed, there has been a growing rave in Christian circles concerning supernatural manifestations, especially prophecy. Now, I think that this rave was initially the start of a good thing: the Pentecostal movement -- people who actually believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit works among consecrated believers today, just as He did when He fell upon the Upper Room assembly in power 2,000 years ago.
We have seen an explosion in this country of supernatural healings and prophecies and similar miracles that were reported in the New Testament. This is a good thing; I'm not about to criticize it. In recent decades, however, a growing over-emphasis on the manifestation, and not the real thing, has begun to show itself among these charismatic groups. It seems to have come to the point where we will stamp anything that bears a semblance of supernatural power as coming from God, and we have ignored the standards and warnings set forth in Scripture. We have put more emphasis on the signs and wonders someone performs than upon the quality of their personal character, which the Scripture places as a high, high priority. We have put more emphasis on prophecies (whether genuine, or merely so-called) than upon the words of God, which were written down by holy men as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). This same Word is that standard by which we judge prophecy. It even instructs us to do this very thing: "Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21).
So the question that came to my mind was this: In comparison to other things that we perceive as being from God, how much do we value His Word? -- the Word which God Himself breathed (the Greek word used for "inspired" in today's passage means "breathed" literally), the Word which thousands of saints have died just for copying and preserving up to the present time, the Word which God oversaw, so that what was written thousands of years ago has been accurately conveyed to us today, the Word from which neither one jot nor one tittle will pass, though heaven and earth should be destroyed, until all is fulfilled. God has confirmed this Word more than anything we can imagine, and yet, the Church in America is so ignorant of this Word. And think of this: are we as eager to read and study the Scriptures as we are to read the latest headline, or the latest prophetic ministry update? Or do we truly realize that the Bible that collects dust on our shelves contains everything that God wants to say to us; it contains everything we need for life and for godliness.
"[The Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether [the things spoken by Paul] were so" (Acts 17:11).