Why Do We Need The Bible If We Can Just Ask God?

jillianchan asked a question:

I’m reading your answers to questions about the bible and they’re so helpful! The question I have is kind of strange and maybe I already know the answer: why does God give us the bible? If we have the holy spirit, why do we need the bible?

Thank you so much dear friend! I’m encouraged that you’re blessed.

I think it’s probably romantic to believe that we don’t need the Bible as much as we need the “prompting” of the Holy Spirit. I once heard two different pastors ask this question in a sermon: “If you could only pray or only read the Bible, but not both, which would you choose?” Both pastors answered differently. Unfortunately, this sets up a false dichotomy to pit things against each other that were never meant to be in conflict.

The thing is, without the Bible as an anchor to guide us, then all of us could say the “Spirit told me.” Too many people try to pull “God’s Will” as a trump card, but we already have God’s Will: His written word (that was a sick Jesus Juke, come on).

On the other hand, without the Spirit, then we wouldn’t have an individual intimacy with God for the different ways He gifted us and made us. For some of us, it’s to be missionaries and pastors and praise leaders – for others, it’s to be the best doctor or lawyer or politician or scientist we can be.

The tough truth that is that if we’re only “Spirit-led,” then I’m tempted to manipulate the Bible to my own whim. The Bible is always pressing against each of our selfish tendencies, so that it’ll offend me both personally and culturally. It has to do this, or else we wouldn’t have a real God who could contradict us. If you had a friend who you could “switch off” whenever they disagreed with you, then you don’t have a real friendship either.

The Bible also ensures that we’re globally united as one. I can visit the Philippines and know that the church in Manila is under the same authority of the Bible, and will roughly believe the same things about Jesus. But I also know the Spirit has led them to a specific ministry, not to become “Anglo-European Christians,” but uniquely their own identity with their cultural roots intact.

We need both. The Spirit enlightens the Bible for me, and the Bible leads me to trust Him.

– J.S.

12 thoughts on “Why Do We Need The Bible If We Can Just Ask God?

  1. J.S.

    I will be going on vacation for a couple of weeks soon and, so I don’t have to do any blogging while I’m gone, I would like to schedule some guest posts.

    I love what you do on your blog and would be honored if you’d allow me to feature something you’ve written, with credit and a link to your blog of course.

    Can be anything, something new, a chance to revive and old favorite, tell my readers about one of your books…

    Thanks in advance for considering. 

    God bless,



      1. I like nearly everything on the blog so I had nothing specific in mind. I will be happy to pick something or you can recommend.

        Thanks for letting me share your work, I’m certain someone will be blessed by it.



      2. Actually I did just pick one if it’s OK.

        Giving A Person More Attention Because They’re Attractive: And We All Do It


      3. Why don’t the christians study the bible anymore?

        Sir Isaac Newton also was a devout believer in Jesus Christ and a Bible scholar, fluent in ancient languages, who translated directly from Hebrew and Greek. He was unusually drawn to the prophet Daniel, which he began studying at the age of 12 and continued until he died at the age of 85.


        A long time ago the christians in my country was called “readers”.
        Because they were reading a lot every day.


  2. This is great. It’s easy for me to say, “Well at least I read my Bible today,” or “At least I prayed today.” But really both must work hand in hand.


  3. I love this; your thoughts are concise, clear, and eloquent. I greatly enjoy reading your posts. If you ever have the time, I would invite you to check out my own blog; I feel that I could greatly benefit from your criticism as I’m still relatively new to the game. At any rate, thanks so much for writing!


  4. Interesting to note that a high percentage of Christians, specifically Christians dwelling in third world countries, are illiterate, and many do not even possess a Bible. Yet, mighty Christians such as Amy Carmichael (India) and Watchman Nee (China), both testified that it is not Christ studied, but Christ expressed, which even a simple “verbal” message of Jesus can initiate within the heart (not the mind). Ultimately the Bible is left as a book of confirmation for what a believer is already going through, or a book of revelation for what a soul should be prepared to experience. I guess the danger would be lifting the Bible up as an idol, worshiping words rather than the vitality of the Word.


    1. Right on. A problem in Korea right now is that many churchgoers worship the church and have no intimacy with Jesus, Scripture, or even fellow Christians. We definitely need all these together.


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