The Spirit Often Contradicts What Is Written

The Spirit Often Contradicts What Is Written September 15, 2018

Quite often when I suggest that believers today can hear the voice of Jesus and be led by the Holy Spirit, people are quick to say that the Holy Spirit would never contradict anything that had already been written down in the Scriptures.

This knee-jerk reaction is meant to do two things: First, it is meant to maintain the Bible as our ultimate authority. Nothing new or different can ever be introduced into our faith system because God’s Word (the Bible) has said everything that will ever need to be said about God.

Secondly, the statement is meant to downplay our experiences and subjugate those experiences to the Scriptures. In effect, all experiences are essentially pointless because anything they might reveal to us, and anything we might learn from those experiences, are subject to correction. Therefore, what good is experience if anything that might be learned from it is already written down in the Book for me?

The problem with this view is that the Scriptures themselves completely contradict this assumption.

Rather than a unified voice of agreement throughout the Bible, what we observe is an ongoing dialog where one prophet says something about God, and then, later on, another prophet challenges that idea. So, in other words, the Spirit speaks to the prophet who writes down what he hears, and later another prophet also hears from the Spirit and writes down something that modifies or enhances—or sometimes flatly contradicts—what the previous prophet wrote down.

This is what the Bible is: A series of progressively enlightened ideas about who God is and what God is like.

As we’ve already seen, for example, when Moses says that God requires animal sacrifice and other voices modify this until Jesus gives us the final word on the matter. Or, when Moses introduces the idea of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, but Jesus shows up and says, “But I say to you, love your enemies.”

Not only this, but Jesus also corrects Moses’s statements when He says that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (See Matt. 5:45) Because, according to Moses, in Deuteronomy 28:12, God says to the righteous: “The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands.” But to the unrighteous God says: “The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.” (v. 24)

Jesus makes it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that Moses was wrong about God’s disposition towards people. He loves and blesses them both the same, and brings rain on both the just and the unjust alike.

Another good example of how some prophetic voices in Scripture correct what has been said previously is when Elijah commands a man named Jehu to strike down the entire house of his master, Ahab. (See 2 Kings 9:7-8) Once he obeys this command, Jehu is praised as a righteous man of God. However, later on, the prophet Hosea writes that God spoke to him saying: “I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.” (Hosea 1:4)

So, I ask you: Are you still so convinced that the Holy Spirit will never contradict what has been written in the scriptures?

The fact is that the Holy Spirit almost always contradicts what has been written in the scriptures.

Peter learned that when the voice of the Lord spoke to him and commanded him to kill and eat the unclean animals. The Pharisees learned that when they brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus. James and John learned that when they asked Jesus if they could call down fire on the Samaritans as Elijah had done.

In every single case, if these men had held tightly to their scriptures, they would have missed what Jesus was doing.

Peter would not have awakened to God’s plan to redeem the Gentiles.

The Pharisees would have executed an adulterous woman instead of showing her mercy.

James and John would have called down fire upon Samaritans before Philip could come and preach the Good News of the Kingdom to them. (See Acts 8:5)

The surprising truth is: The Holy Spirit will almost always contradict what has been written in the scriptures. In fact, we should probably expect it.

Jesus affirms this idea when he rebukes the Pharisees who cannot let go of their Scriptures long enough to accept what they have seen with their eyes and heard with their own ears.

They are blinded by their Bibles. The refuse to see that the eyes of the blind were opened and the lame were made whole because it didn’t fit with what their Scriptures told them.

So, because what they were seeing didn’t line up with what was written, they rejected their experiences of God and attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Jesus responded to their blindness and warned them that the unforgivable sin was to reject what the Spirit of God was doing right in front of them.

“Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:28-29)

The greatest sin, according to Jesus, is to deny what the Holy Spirit is doing and revealing to you—even if that revelation contradicts what has been written in the Scriptures.

This means that we must be willing to leave the safety and security of our Bibles to walk with Jesus in the uncertain and unknown realm of faith. This is why we are called to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) and to use discernment in our walk with Christ. Because we are expected to be venturing out into the deep with Him, not lounging comfortably in our pew clinging tightly to our absolute certainty, but holding fast to Jesus who is untamed and unbound by any book.

Jesus was most critical of the Pharisees because they were mired in the traditions of men (Mark 7:8) and unwilling to accept anything that didn’t line up with their understanding of Scripture. He begged them to see that the life they were seeking for in the Scriptures was only available through Him. They refused to come to Him for life because they were convinced that their Bible had all the answers. (John 5:40)

The Pharisees rejected Jesus because they assumed that the Holy Spirit would never contradict what was written down in their Scriptures. But, they were wrong about that. When the Holy Spirit did something they didn’t think aligned with their Book, they attributed that to Satan, and as a result, they totally missed the fulfillment of every prophecy in that same Holy Book.

He was standing right in front of them, and they missed Him.

Please don’t make the same mistake.

[Excerpted from Chapter 17 of Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible by Keith Giles]

**

Keith Giles is a former pastor who left the pulpit 11 years ago to start a church that gives away 100% of the offering to the poor in their community. 

His new book Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

BONUS: Unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more on my Patreon page.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • The Mouse Avenger

    Rather than a unified voice of agreement throughout the Bible, what we observe is an ongoing dialog where one prophet says something about God, and then, later on, another prophet challenges that idea. So, in other words, the Spirit speaks to the prophet who writes down what he hears, and later another prophet also hears from the Spirit and writes down something that modifies or enhances—or sometimes flatly contradicts—what the previous prophet wrote down.

    This is what the Bible is: A series of progressively enlightened ideas about who God is and what God is like.

    This! ^_^ This to the max! 😀

    Oh, BTW, I really want to check out your book now! 🙂 Where can I find it? ^_^

  • Mr. James Parson

    This is what the Bible is: A series of progressively enlightened ideas about who God is and what God is like.

    So perhaps the Mormons and Muslims are the most enlighten about who God is and what God is like?

  • John

    So this begs the question, how can someone know it is from the Spirit as opposed to last night’s meatloaf?

  • LastManOnEarth

    Puh-leaze.

    Everyone knows there is no such thing as leftover meatloaf

  • Depends upon who is making the meatloaf.

  • LastManOnEarth

    I suppose if the Spirit is making The Spirit’s World Famous SpiritLoaf(tm) we would have a hell of a paradox (and ketchup) on our hands.

  • TinnyWhistler

    Can we count vegetarian cottage-cheese and special-k loaf? https://www.cooks.com/recipe/q65al0ez/vegetarians-special-k-loaf.html

    I used to wonder why people actually liked meatloaf 🙁

  • I’m not big on it, myself, given that I have a weird thing about not liking the texture of ground meat. I can eat burgers just fine, but most other things with ground meat… I have to be in a particular mood to accept it.

  • TinnyWhistler

    I can guarantee that the worst meatloaf texture you’ve ever experienced is not quite as rubbery as special-k loaf.

    Textures can be a mood thing for me as well. I’m glad I’ve grown out of most of my aversion to weird textures, but sometimes I just cannot swallow things that feel wrong.

  • Jessica

    I disagree. God doesn’t change. Our understanding of God does change with the intervention of the Holy Spirit.

  • Guy Norred

    How does this contradict the OP?

  • Thanks, Keith for the clarity of this position. This implies that fundamentalist Christians who refuse to admit one can ‘hear’ form God are generating sterility with that position. In terms of inner healing through listening prayer we now know that God’s very word spoken to us is one of the few things capable of shifting emotional learning.

  • Herm

    Why doesn’t God change with each and every relationship they share in love with? What does God have to look forward to for an eternity if not learning from adventure shared in the Spirit of truth and love?

    Consider this, would you be satisfied to have an eternity with ans in God playing your harp on a cloud or sing songs of worship for ever more?

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

    John 16:12-13 (NIV2011)

    How long will it take you to be led into all truth? Why would anyone believe even God would know all truth right now when a promised eternity of relationship as not come to an end?

  • Herm

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    I can only testify truthfully from my own life that you would know. If you seek God, then don’t debate God. Go directly to God, knock on their door and it will be opened for you to ask the question you beg. If you do not get an answer then all the theology (study of God) is fruitless for God just isn’t real or available to you as promised in your bible. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are available to you, challenge them.

  • That is a very good conclusion to the fatally flawed reasoning of the article.

    Fortunately, I came early to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. It has served me well.

  • Herm

    Only students (disciples) of the Spirit of truth are the most enlightened about who God is and what God is like, as they can bear to know. There is no religious order, founded on the study of God (theology), speaks for God who can speak for themselves.

  • Herm

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

    Acts 4:31 (NIV2011)

    The New Testament of your Bible wasn’t even written before the word of God was boldly spoken.

  • Yes. And that is wonderful!

    But God is consistent. He does not contradict Himself. As a person who accepts the New Testament as the Word of God, I believe that nothing genuine I hear today from God will contradict what He said in the New Testament.

    I know we may disagree. Just stating my honest belief. And, as I originally said, that belief has served me well.

  • Herm

    God didn’t write the New Testament. The only written word in the entire Bible attributed to the hand of God is the Decalogue. All scripture in the “Christian” Bible is attributed to the “Testament” of each book’s author, not the sacrosanct inerrant written words directly impressed on each author to pen God’s opinion verbatim. Let me give you an example of testimonial witness that is in all four gospels:

    As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

    Matthew 3:16-17 (NIV2011)

    Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

    Mark 1:10-11 (NIV2011)

    When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

    Luke 3:21-22 (NIV2011)

    Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

    John 1:32-34 (NIV2011)

    This is my inspired word of God that I testify to according to my own witness relative to the only source for all truth, as was quoted from the mouth of Jesus, the Christ:

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

    John 16:12-15 (NIV2011)

    Keith alluded to where the Messiah contradicted (Matthew 5:38-42) what was considered the Lord your God speaking (Leviticus 24:17-22) that was written less than 1,500 years earlier. Have we learned any more truth in the last 1,950 years that the New Testament authors did not know, such as the earth is not flat and all the heavens do not revolve around earth? Has the Spirit of truth (the one appearing as a dove who led the Christ into the wilderness and filled those who spoke the word of God boldly) been quiet to other contradictions of authors since Revelations?

    I appreciate your honest belief. I am witnessing to you in honest inspired testimony, today, that the Holy Spirit filled me, whelmed me, baptized me, 24 years ago when I was 50 years of age. Prior to then I was under the mistaken belief that the Bible was the word of God. I am a 74 year old (computed by the revolutions of this earth around its sun) little child, born of the Spirit, sibling of Jesus my Lord with all authority in heaven and on earth, of a God, who is spirit only, who knows no beginning and will know no end.

    The time came according to quoted testimony for all who worship in Jesus’ church to worship only in The Spirit and in truth:

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    John 4:23-24 (NIV2011)

    All other worship is idolatry. Fellowship with all other followers of Christ, children of God, is not to be hallowed as worship but to be celebrating relationship with each other, our brother Jesus, and our Father bound in all love with and in the Holy Spirit.

    Belief may have served you well but I am trying to help you understand that actual relationship with and in God today will serve you forever.

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    Please, don’t be so complacent with adequate for now by belief alone when you can know for sure the Spirit of truth living with and in you today. Belief served me well for 50 years until it didn’t and I lost everything that I thought I had earned, including the presumption of God’s favor. Laying prostrate, in complete humility, I subjected myself completely to God’s will for me by pleading to fill me with the truth and direction I clearly lacked with only the Bible as my guide. You don’t have to do the same to be baptized by the Spirit of truth to be living with and in you fully, without pause, without end. You only have to, in all humility likened to that of a new born infant, seek, knock and ask and all will be opened to you as you can bear.

    Keith’s article is a long ways from flawed because it points to the Spirit for the only source of truth as does all testimony in your Bible. Once fully filled, living with and in the the Spirit, the Bible becomes no more than a road sign along the way, pointing to the destination you sincerely seek today.

  • As a fellow Spirit-filled and Holy Spirit led Believer I find your thoughts interesting. And I can assure you that while the Lord has never led me or spoken to me in a way that contradicted the inspired Word of God in the New Testament, He sure has spoken to me in ways that contradicted my understanding of that Word. The more I hear from Him, the more I have had to adjust my theology, lol. Which is a good thing.

    Also, I assure you that I have much more than just “Belief may have served you well but I am trying to help you understand that actual relationship with and in God today will serve you forever.” I do walk daily in that actual life giving mind and heart transforming relationship.

    It is amazing what God will tell us and how He will lead us and what He will have us do if we simply listen to Him and walk with Him, not filtering everything we hear Him say though our current understanding of the inspired Word in NT Scripture.

    My Brother, it just might be that our individual walks with God are more similar than dis-similar!
    God bless you.

  • John

    A non-sensical response Herm. At least the other responses had some fun with my meatloaf comment.

  • Herm

    If you truly want the truth. I’m glad you have had some fun. I’m sorry that the Spirit of truth is so unreal to you that he is as nonsensical in the final analysis as meatloaf.