As promised, here’s my understanding on How to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying through Scripture. I need to interject here and say that I’ve checked with Barry that I can use his word as a teaching tool, just in case you are worried I’m going to publicly dissect everything that people say. But I need to lay some ground rules for how we work out what God is saying as a church together and Barry can cope with me doing that through his word.
Barry and I were talking about how Holy Spirit can be seen in both the fire of the lamps or in the oil in the parable of wise and foolish virgins (Matt 25: 1-13). Barry said,
I saw the flame of the lamps being the Holy Spirit and the oil being that nexus (link) which holds the Holy Spirit in our heart. We know the flames on Pentecost. We also know about being warned not to quench the Holy Spirit. There’s a precedent of the Holy Spirit being a flame. The delay of the bridegroom caused some virgins to ‘quench’ the Holy Spirit, whereas the wise virgins were ever vigilant in maintaining their ‘nexus’ (their link between the fire of Holy Spirit and the fire in their own hearts)—to keep the Holy Spirit alive in their heart.
Now, Barry is submitting to us here at CBBC that Holy Spirit is saying that we need to make sure we don’t quench the Holy Spirit but that we maintain the fire for God in our hearts and if we do that then we will be preparing for whatever future event the Lord has in mind. Now there are two really important things to remember before you weigh in on Barry’s word.
First, you may not have seen what Barry saw from this scripture, e.g. you may not have associated the lamps with the fire of Pentecost. It’s called ‘a reader’s response’ to the bible and it is totally acceptable in global theology to use your response to what you read to work out what the bible is saying. In other words, there isn’t just one interpretation to the scriptures.
If someone sees something different from you or from what you’ve been taught (previous teachings on a subject are often the bigger obstacle) it’s not wrong; it’s not that you’re right and they’re wrong, it’s just different. Now to the big question: How do you know when different is wrong? Well that’s the second rule.
Check that your ‘reader response’ to the bible fits with the story and teachings you already know. Let’s use Barry’s word as an example; is Holy Spirit described as fire? Yes! (Acts2.) Are we told to not quench Holy Spirit? Yes! (1 Thess 5:19.) Are we told to maintain the fire in our hearts? Yes! (2 Tim 1.) Therefore interpreting this word this way is reasonable. Stick with the golden rules of allowing for perspectives that differs from your own as long as it doesn’t contradict with the bigger picture the bible is telling and you can’t really go wrong.