Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. (NLT)
The Bible has plenty of instances of God speaking to his people. We can’t be sure how it happened. Was it an inner sense? Was it an audible voice? Was it through another person? Was it just the writer’s way of indicating that something was consistent with the character and purposes of God?
There are those who believe that doesn’t happen anymore. Now we have the Bible there is no need for that sort of thing. If someone does claim to have heard from God in a private sort of way, then we must suspect delusion or even fraud. We need to just rely on what the Bible says nowadays.
A few problems with that. One is that we can’t always agree on just what the Bible is saying, some think God is telling us one thing, while others think he is telling us something else. Another problem is that the Bible doesn’t speak to each and every life situation. It is silent on many areas. And thirdly, the Bible itself does not rule out God speaking in his own way to his own people in his own time.
Of course we have to guard against being misled by our own passions and prejudices. Of course we test everything against Scripture and seek wise counsel to check what we are supposedly hearing. But as our text reminds us, let’s not stifle the Spirit even as we test everything. Let God be God and let him determine how and when he speaks with us.