Many today claim that God has spoken directly to them, or that He speaks to them just as He did to the prophets in days of old. God has not promised to speak to man today, however, except through the Bible, His written word. The Bible places constraints on what the followers of Christ can and should do, so some throw off those constraints by claiming special revelations from God. The Bible, however, was written to provide us God’s guidance without need of further special revelation. As Paul told Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The scriptures are complete, giving us all we need for serving God and man, that the man of God may be perfect, or complete.
If God is going to speak to individuals today directly and personally, apart from His written word, then is there really any need for the Bible? Our knowledge of God, His nature, His plan for redeeming man, and His purpose for mankind are all revealed in scripture. Must we have further revelation from God to know how to please Him? Peter reminds us that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but if some dedicated Christians today receive special revelations, and some other dedicated Christians do not receive special revelations, does not that make God a respecter of persons?
When we examine the teachings of those claiming to have special revelations from God, it becomes apparent that much of what they teach conflicts not only with the Bible, but also with what other equally sincere people claim God has revealed to them. Paul highlighted the seriousness of teaching that which conflicts with the scripture, by saying, “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Paul said that if someone, even an angel, preaches a different message than that revealed in scripture, we must reject it.
Paul reminds us, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). The modern revelations that men claim today are a tremendous source of confusion in our religious world. One person says God told him one thing, while another claims God told him something the exact opposite of what the first person claims. God’s revelation is not contradictory.
Paul said that miraculous revelations of the Holy Spirit would cease. He said that the gift of “prophecy would fail, the gift of tongues would cease, and the gift of knowledge would vanish away, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). That which is perfect is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25), the completed revelation of God’s will in the Bible. It is sufficient to thoroughly furnish us unto good works (2 Timothy 3:17).