Reading the bible is often like reading someone’s old letters and then insisting they are actually addressed to us.
The word of God came to me the very first time during an armed-robbery attack. “Femi,” he said, “nothing is going to happen to you here.” Immediately, one of the robbers contradicted him by firing a bullet into my left leg. Even so, the word continued: “Femi, there is nothing wrong with your leg.”
These words are not in the bible. Nevertheless, they are spirit and life to me. A few weeks after I heard them, the Lord miraculously fused back the broken bones in my leg.
Good Shepherd’s voice
Those who cannot hear God often contest the witness of those who can. However, Jesus says: “My sheep hear My voice.” (John 10:27). He does not say: “My sheep read the bible.” David read in the scriptures that God desires sacrifices and offerings. But when God opened his ears, he discovered that in the beginning it was not so. Therefore, he declares in the psalms: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears you have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.” (Psalm 40:6). Christians need to ask God to open our ears.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, God said concerning Jesus: “This is My beloved Son, hear him!” (Mark 9:7). He did not say: “read about him in the scriptures!” Jesus says: “He who is of God hears God’s words.” (John 8:47). Salvation comes from hearing and heeding the spoken word of God and not from just reading the bible. (John 5:24-25). Jesus says: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48).
The problem with most Christians is that we don’t have a relationship with God. We can read the bible and quote some scriptures; but we cannot hear the word of God. This was my predicament for the longest time. But when I finally met Jesus at the age of 41, he opened my ears so I can now hear him. He then quickened a scripture, which meant nothing to me before, into a vibrant word of God for my life.
In the scripture, Jesus says: “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” (Matthew 13:13-16).
Mouth of God
Hebrews says: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2). God is the author of what God speaks. But man is the author of what is written in the scriptures. Jesus says: “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). But the words written in the scriptures are dead. The word of God must be spoken by God, not written by men.
God spoke to men before any bible was written. He has continued speaking to men since the bible canon was closed. Therefore, the word of God cannot be limited to what is in the bible. Indeed, the overwhelming proportion of the word of God is not documented in any bible. The bible is important because it provides us with a historical record of some of what God spoke in the past. This tells us that since God spoke to men yesterday; he will speak to us today. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).
To receive the word of God today, we don’t need a bible. We only need the Holy Spirit. Isaiah says: “Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21). But Solomon says: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.” (Proverbs 20:12). It is through the inner “hearing ear” that we hear the guiding voice of the Good Shepherd. That is why Jesus often says: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15).
This ensures the word of God can come even to the deaf and the blind. It can come to the illiterate who cannot read. Jesus says: “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:45). By implication, those who hear and learn from men and the bible don’t usually go to Jesus. (John 5:39-40).
When Christians want to hear from God, we go to our pastors and ask them to tell us what God is saying to us. The pastors hardly ever admit they don’t know. They come up with scriptures and maintain they are the word of God for us. But this is often like reading someone’s old letters and then insisting they are actually addressed to us. Scripture from the mouth of our pastor can be a “word of knowledge.” It can be a “word of wisdom.” But it cannot be the word of God. According to Jesus, the word of God is: “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).
Fulfilling the scriptures
For the dead scriptures in our bible to come alive, they have to be spoken again by the mouth of God. This is fulfilled when the Holy Spirit gives them to us personally; tailoring them precisely to our different situations and circumstances. Otherwise, we can recite scriptures a million times; they will still not be fulfilled in our life. Isaiah 61:1-2 remained as dead scripture in a scroll for over 700 years. But one day, Jesus spoke it again to some people. Only then, did it become spirit and life again. Jesus told them: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21).
Thus, as we read the bible, some scriptures suddenly come alive. They literally jump off the page and hit us in the face. That is God speaking them again. There and then, there is a catharsis; an epiphany; a burning-bush experience. Thereafter, heaven and earth can pass away, but those words can never pass away in our life. They are no longer scriptures: they are now the word of God.
Therefore, I jokingly tell Christians to skip certain scriptures because they now belong to me. One of them says: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).
Don’t even bother to read this scripture ever again: God has spoken it to me as an everlasting possession