How God Speaks to Us

Through His Word

Ted N. C. Wilson
How God Speaks to Us
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This issue of Adventist World addresses a vitally important topic—the Word of God. Scripture is the primary way God communicates with us—it is His Word, His gift to us for the ages. It is through Scripture that He reveals who He is, how much He loves us, our history and His plan of salvation, how to live a happy life, our future hope, and so much more. Truly, as the psalmist said: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105, KJV).

In the Gospel of John we read this marvelous statement in the very first chapter and verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

What a beautiful description of Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of man, a perfect blending of the human and the divine. We don’t understand exactly how this can be, but we know it is so. And Jesus Christ has given us His words of life through the Holy Scriptures, the living, powerful Word of God (Heb. 4:12). Speaking of the Scriptures, Jesus affirmed, “These are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).

The Bible is God’s message given to humanity, in the language of humanity, through those who were divinely inspired, as 2 Peter 1:21 explains: “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

A Solid Foundation

The Holy Scriptures are the foundation upon which we base all our beliefs as Seventh-day
Adventists. That’s why our very first fundamental belief is “The Holy Scriptures.” It reads:

“The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration. The inspired authors spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to humanity the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the supreme, authoritative, and the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the definitive revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.”1

There are many texts affirming the beauty and power of Scripture. In Proverbs 30:5, 6 we read this promise and warning: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”

Isaiah 8:20 testifies, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

In John 17:17 we again hear Jesus affirming the importance of Scripture when He prays for His disciples, asking His heavenly Father to “sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

In the letter to the Thessalonians the apostle Paul states to the believers: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13).

Taking the Bible As It Reads

The Bible reveals God’s truth and draws us closer to Him as we follow His divine counsel outlined in its precious pages. But to truly hear God speaking, we must approach the Scriptures believing that they are indeed “the supreme, authoritative, and infallible revelation of His will.”2

We are warned in the book The Great Controversy:

“The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared: ‘Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God’ (Mark 12:24, KJV). The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise: ‘If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.”3

Sadly, today we see in some places a lack of understanding the Bible and how to interpret it, as well as actual antagonism against the Word of God.

Nevertheless, the Seventh-day Adventist Church believes in the authenticity and authority of God’s Word—the Holy Bible—and it speaks to all people, everywhere, for all time. As indicated in its officially voted document “Methods of Bible Study,” the church accepts only the historical biblical or historical grammatical method of interpreting Scripture, allowing the Bible to interpret itself line upon line, verse upon verse, precept upon precept, through the power of the Holy Spirit.4

Unfortunately, there are those who are using the historical-critical method and other humanistic methods of biblical interpretation that are not God-focused methods. Using the historical-critical method, the reader becomes the determiner of what is truth and what is not. This is a very unreliable way of reading God’s holy Word, because, as Jeremiah 17:9 indicates, the human “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

God Has Given Sufficient Evidence

I urge you to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in understanding Scripture. Use only the historicist approach when understanding biblical prophecies. Not the preterist, not the futurist, not the historical-critical, but the historical-biblical method of understanding God’s Word.

In the book Spiritual Gifts we read: “God has given sufficient evidence upon which to base faith if he wishes to believe. In the last days the earth will be almost destitute of true faith. Upon the merest pretense, the word of God will be considered unreliable, while human reasoning will be received, though it be in opposition to plain Scripture facts.”5

Brothers and sisters, do not be influenced by those in or out of the church who ignore, denigrate, or depreciate the Word of God. As Seventh-day Adventists we stand strongly on a clear understanding and acceptance of the entire Word of God as it reads.

I encourage you to spend time with God in His Word every day, setting all preconceived ideas aside, and asking the Holy Spirit to guide you. You will be richly rewarded.

1 “The Holy Scriptures,” Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief 1, adventist.org/holy-scriptures/.

2 Ibid.

3 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 598. (Italics supplied.)   

4 “Methods of Bible Study,” voted at the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct. 12, 1986. www.adventist.org/documents/methods-of-bible-study/.

5 Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts (Battle Creek, Mich.: Seventh-day Adventist Pub. Assn., 1864), vol. 3, p. 94.

Ted N. C. Wilson