Should Believers in God Never Stray From the Bible?
I am an educational worker and a Christian. Every Lord’s day, my family and I would go to church. At meetings, I often heard the pastor say, “‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16). Since we believe in God, we should read the Bible, obey the Lord’s instructions in it and become a person approved by the Lord. Besides, the Bible can supply us with life. Leaving the Bible is like losing our lives, and we will lose the Lord’s salvation.” Hearing these words, I thought that the Bible was very important to our belief. Except daily spiritual devotion, I often told the stories of the Bible to my elder daughter and used the Lord’s words to instruct her. All of my family lived a happy and peaceful life under the guidance of the Lord. We all expected the Lord to receive us into the kingdom of heaven one day in the future to enjoy the eternal blessings.
After some things happened, I fell into a deep worry. I work in a model middle school in urban areas. The headmaster and many of the teachers in our school are all Christians. As Christians, we should obey the Lord’s instructions, not cheating or tricking Him. But the headmaster actually asked the teachers to falsify the students’ scores in order to maintain his status and the reputation of our school. As the school’s administrative secretary in charge of the examination department, I was also forced to input these false scores into the official website of the Ministry of Education. If I didn’t do it, then our headmaster would take disciplinary action against me, which would influence my future. Faced with this situation, I felt very worried. We all have been Christians for years and understand the Lord’s instructions in the Bible, but why didn’t we practice the Lord’s word and bear witness to Him. Because I was bound by sin every day, I felt depressed and pained. I could only repent and confess before the Lord every night.
In June, 2017, I knew Brother Liang in the Lord, as it happened. When sharing the scriptures with him, I found that he explained them very clearly. I had never heard those before, so I felt excited. Later, I asked him a question that had confused me for years: Why can’t we keep the Lord’s instructions as Christians? After hearing my question, he fellowshiped with me, “The reason that we always sin and confess and can’t shake off the fetters of sin is mainly because of our satanic poisons and satanic nature. Since we were corrupted by Satan, Satan’s poisons and nature have directed us involuntarily to sin and resist God, and made us unable to keep the Lord’s instructions. For example, we believe in the Lord yet lust for money, seek after fame and fortune and status, engage in deception and crookedness, lie and deceive, and so on. Further, we have to understand that in the Age of Grace the Lord redeemed mankind by being crucified on the cross, He only forgave the sins of man, but did not forgive man's corrupt disposition. Within man the disposition corrupted by Satan and the sinful nature still exist. So, if we humans want to detach from the binding of sins and be completely cleansed, we still need the Lord to come again and do the work of judging, chastising and cleansing us. Such judgment and chastisement are focused on man’s corrupt disposition and satanic nature. Through the judgment of God’s words, our corrupt dispositions are revealed so that we can see our satanic nature and the actual truth of our having been corrupted by Satan. Only when we see that can we repent of what we do and truly forsake ourselves. Meanwhile, we’ll have a true understanding of God’s righteous disposition, develop a heart of reverence for God, and fall down in front of God to confess our sins and repent and seek to change. So our satanic disposition can be resolved and we will extricate ourselves from the bondage of sin and become the people who truly obey God and worship God. Therefore, only by accepting God’s judgment and chastisement of the last days can we completely solve our problem of sinning and repenting.” Hearing Brother Liang’s communication, I came to know that because of our satanic nature, we involuntarily sin. The pastors, elders and spiritual people who have believed in the Lord for years didn’t interpret this problem clearly. Thank the Lord. Today I finally figured it out and I felt much more at ease. Afterward, through Brother Liang, I was acquainted with two sisters and we often gathered, studied the Bible, and shared our experiences. Over a period of time, I felt that my spiritual life had a great improvement.
One day in June, by studying the Bible with the sisters, I knew that the Bible prophesies many times that God will become flesh in the last days and speak and do work in the image of the Son of man. Sister Anna sent a passage of the Bible, “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24-25). Then she said, “These two verses prophesied that in the last days, when the Son of man returns, He will be rejected by this generation again. When it refers to ‘also,’ it means that it is just like when the Lord Jesus first came to do work, He was condemned and rejected by religious circles and the party in power. In the Age of Grace, when the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, the Pharisees and scribes of religious circles held on to the Bible, and used the letters of it to condemn the Lord Jesus, saying that His work disobeyed the law. Even for the sake of their status and livelihood, they also joined with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross. Similarly, when the Lord returns, He will be rejected and condemned by this generation again. Besides, the prophecies also mention that the Lord comes again, as if the lightning shoots from the East straight to the West, so we also call the Lord’s return Eastern Lightning.” When I heard the words “Eastern Lightning,” I was surprised that it was so familiar, as if I heard it somewhere. Later, I remembered that a few weeks ago, our pastor once mentioned Eastern Lightning and urged us not to listen to the sermons of it. At that moment, I somewhat hesitated and began to doubt whether Sister Anna’s fellowship was right. During the following communication, I said nothing. Sister Anna sensed my unusual reaction, so she patiently communicated to me about Eastern Lightning. But no matter how she fellowshiped, I all the time kept silent. When the gathering was ending, seeing that I still made no response, she asked me to give her ten minutes more in a choking voice. And then she fellowshiped about her understanding of the verses again. But I was still silent. I thought: Although your communication sounds reasonable, the Lord’s return is a great event, and I still need to ask other brothers and sisters their understanding about these verses.
After the gathering, I sent a message to a sister who had studied theology, and wanted to hear her understanding of these verses. But, after waiting for a long time, I didn’t get her reply. Therefore, I decided to search online. Unexpectedly, I had just input the verses when lots of negative reports and propaganda about Eastern Lightning came into view. When I opened the page, I saw someone selected some God’s words and said that the sermons of the Eastern Lightning Church had left the Bible. The more I read, the more panicked I was. At this point, my husband sitting aside asked me what I was doing. I answered that I was searching for the information about Eastern Lightning. Then he said, “Today, Pastor Jiang has just talked about the Eastern Lightning. He said that he had heard the sermons of Eastern Lightning and that they weren’t in accordance with the Bible and had left the Bible. Since we believed in the Lord, we have been reading the Bible all along. Whether on the Lord’s day, in the fellowship or at any gathering, we all share the Bible. The pastor has also said that believing in God can’t leave the Bible and that any belief apart from the Bible or denying the Bible is a heresy.”
Hearing my husband’s words, I thought of the online information I just saw again. I was struggling: Who is right after all? I thought that Sister Anna’s fellowship was quite enlightening, which had solved the confusion of my belief in God for years and brought me great help. But some people online said the words that Eastern Lightning preached left the Bible, and even chose God’s words as proofs. This left me no choice but to believe. I hesitated for long. Eventually, I decided to send a message to Brother Liang and tell him what I read online and what ideas I had in my heart. Later, Brother Liang communicated with me, “At the last gathering, Sister Anna had shared the Lord’s prophecy with us, ‘But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’ (Luke 17:25). Now these rumors and the negative propaganda online are the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy, and His return is rejected by this generation.” Brother Liang’s words suddenly reminded me that the Lord’s prophecy seemed to be fulfilled. Then He sent me the following verse, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). He also said to me, “The One who decides whether we willis God but not man. Thus, with regard to the Lord’s arrival, we should be cautious and humble to seek God’s will. We cannot always allow people, matters and things to restrict us. The Jews of the past didn’t seek the truth but believed in the Pharisees’ rumors and slanders against the Lord Jesus, so they followed the Pharisees to nail the Lord to the cross, committed a heinous crime, provoked God’s disposition and eventually were subjected to the loss of their nation. We must absorb the historical lesson and can’t repeat the same mistakes.” Hearing his fellowship, I felt much calmer. I thought: That’s right. Though the Pharisees in the Age of Law similarly read the Bible well, didn’t they crucify the Lord Jesus on the cross for the sake of their status and livelihood? I can’t give up seeking like this. If I miss the opportunity to meet the Lord, won’t I forever regret? Therefore I decided to continue to attend meetings with the sisters.
At a meeting, we held so intent a discussion that I actually forgot to collect my daughter. When the meeting was coming to an end, my husband suddenly ran into the room and asked me who I was talking to. I told him that I was investigating God’s words with the brothers and sisters abroad. Hearing that, he said angrily, “If there is anything you don’t understand, you may ask the pastor, preachers or other churchmen. Why do you talk with overseas people? Pastor Jiang said that there were many cheats online; why do you believe the words of strangers?” I didn’t answer him. Later, he got angrier and angrier, saying, “You must drop them at once, or I’ll die.” Seeing my husband opposed very much, I was upset. Then I sent a message to tell the sisters this thing. Then, we went to the nurse’s home to collect my daughter. On the way my state was very bad, my husband’s words of rebuke resounding in my ears. Recalling that we had been married for many years, I found this was the first time that he got so angry. If I went on to attend gatherings with the sisters, he would be very angry. What should I do? I thought of the classmates, teachers and friends around me who believe in the Lord. They were all graduates from seminary schools and had studied the Bible. Aren’t their spiritual lives bigger than mine? Maybe they have read Almighty God’s words, but they don’t accept. I thought about it over and over. Finally in order to calm my husband down, I decided to stop attending meetings with the sisters.
At night, I sat alone outside the bedroom lost in thought, not knowing why I had a sense of being guilty. My mind reacted: Do I break with the sisters like this without saying a word? Even if I don’t attend meetings, I should tell them about it. After all their communication has solved many of my problems. The more I thought, the sadder I was. I involuntarily sent a message to Brother Liang and told him that I wouldn’t attend meetings and wanted to stay alone quietly. Brother Liang replied to me, “Whatever happens, we should come before God, pray to and seek God, and ask God to lead and guide us. If we really want to be responsible for our family, then we must seek first by ourselves; if Almighty God is really the return of the Lord Jesus, but we don’t investigate nor focus on listening to God’s voice, then won’t we lose the Lord’s salvation? Hasn’t following the Lord these past years been a complete waste of effort? Eventually, not only will we not greet the Lord’s return, but our family will lose the Lord’s salvation. By then we’ll be filled with regret.” Then Brother Liang shared with me the verses of the Lord making the dry bones live, and then told me, “The things God does exceed our mind. As for the things that aren’t in accord with our conceptions, we need to learn to be sensible like the prophet in this verse and do not judge when we run into things.” His communication made my heart gradually tranquil. I thought: I have believed in the Lord for more than twenty years. I have all the time been waiting for the Lord’s arrival. Nowadays, the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God testify to me that the Lord Jesus has come back and that He is expressing the truth and doing the work of the judgment through His word. If Almighty God is really the return of the Lord Jesus, but I make a wrong choice and give up the true way, then I really betray the Lord. So I must be responsible for my family and myself. I will continue to attend meetings and make the truth clear.
After contacting sisters, I told my confusion to them. Sister Anna said, “Since we believed in the Lord, we have been reading the Bible all along. Whether on the Lord’s day, in the fellowship or at any gathering, we all share the Bible. Many believers think that believing in God can’t leave the Bible, that God’s words and work are all recorded in the Bible, and that any belief apart from the Bible is a heresy. As for these problems, first, we need to learn about these questions: How was the Bible made? Did God or the Bible come first after all? Cannot God’s work stray from the Bible? We all know originally God created the heavens and earth and all things. He also did the work of destroying the world with a flood, burning Sodom and Gomorrah, and so on. When God did these works, there wasn’t yet the Old Testament. It was a record of Jehovah God’s work kept by Moses and other people accepting the guidance of Jehovah God, and in it there were also some experiences and testimonies of these people. The New Testament was formed at a religious meeting more than 300 years after the Lord. Then, the religious leaders of different countries compiled the Four Gospels in which the Lord Jesus’ disciples recorded His work on earth, the epistles for churches written by His disciples and apostles, and Revelation written by John on the island of Patmos into the New Testament. Today’s Bible combined the Old Testament and the New Testament. From how the Bible was formed, we can see that God’s work comes first, then comes the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is only a record of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace.
“Then can God’s work exceed the Bible? Let’s read a passage of Almighty God’s words, ‘During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He didn’t take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. His work, His teachings, His authority—no one had done this during the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? His work was in order to lead a new path, it was not to deliberately pick a fight against the Bible, or to deliberately dispense with the Old Testament. He simply came to perform His ministry, to bring the new work to those who yearned for and sought Him. He didn’t come to explain the Old Testament or uphold its work. His work was not in order to allow the Age of Law to continue developing, for His work gave no consideration to whether it had the Bible as its base; Jesus simply came to do the work that He ought to do. … After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God’s work be according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Isn’t this all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He defy these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?’ (‘Concerning the Bible (1)’). God is always new and never old, and His work is always progressing forward. In each age, what work God will carry out among mankind is all based on His management plan and the needs of our corrupt mankind. For example, in the late period of the Age of Law, though people knew what sin was, and also knew Jehovah God’s laws were unoffendable, yet because they had become more and more deeply corrupted by Satan, they weren’t able to keep laws at all. At that time, based on what the laws and commandments require of mankind, then people all would die under the law. So, the Lord Jesus incarnate did one stage of the redemption work and personally acted as a sin offering for mankind. Because we believe in and rely on the Lord Jesus, our sins are forgiven. Then we are qualified to come before God and pray to Him and share in His grace and blessings. The redemption work that the Lord Jesus did wasn’t according to the Old Testament, such as the Lord’s preaching the way of repentance, healing the sick and casting out demons, not observing the Sabbath, telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves and forgive others seventy times seven times, and so on. All the works didn’t exist in the Old Testament and God had never done them in the Age of Law. These works and words of the Lord Jesus weren’t recorded in the Old Testament or based on it. Then can we condemn God’s work because the Lord Jesus’ redemption work overstepped the law of the Old Testament? God is the Creator. What work He will carry out is decided by Himself and He does work without suffering any limitations of people, matters or things. At that time, those chief priests, elders and scribes condemned the work of the Lord Jesus as heresy because He didn’t carry out His work according to the Old Testament. If we don’t seek or investigate God’s new work because we hold firm to the opinion that departing from the Bible is heretical, then how are we any different from those chief priests, scribes and Pharisees? If we had lived in that age, would we have nailed God to the cross like them?”
Right after that, Sister Chen Wei also fellowshiped to me, “We know that God is the Creator. He rules over and controls all things. God’s life is inexhaustible in supply and always available. His abundance, greatness man can never fathom. The Bible only records a limited account of God’s work and words. Therefore, delimiting God’s words and work within the Scriptures is not in accord with God’s will. For years we have compared the Bible to God and thought ‘All beliefs straying from the Bible mean not believing in God. They are heresies.’ Now we can see this opinion is too absurd. In fact, the Bible is a record documenting the first two stages of God’s work. That is, it is a testimony of the two stages of God’s work of leading mankind and redeeming mankind after God created the heavens and earth and all things and mankind, but doesn’t represent all God’s work of saving man. God’s words recorded in the Bible are too limited, and they are like a drop in the sea of God’s life. They can’t represent all of God’s life disposition. Because God is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, but the Lord of the Bible, He absolutely has the right to exceed the Bible and do a newer and higher work according to His own plan and the needs of mankind at that time.”
Then, Sister Chen Wei sent me a verse, “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have: and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life” (John 5:39-40). She read a passage of fellowship again to me, “In reality, the Bible is only a witness to God. If we want to gain the truth and life in our belief in God, we should not only read the Bible. We must come to Christ to obtain the truth and life. Think back to the Pharisees who stubbornly stuck to the Old Testament. They not only failed to receive eternal life, but they were punished because of resisting the Lord Jesus’ new work. Instead, the disciples who came out of the Old Testament to follow the Lord Jesus received the grace of redemption from God. Therefore, if we would like to gain eternal life from God, we must come out of the Bible and receive God’s newest work and word, and only in this way can we receive the way of eternal life. If we continue to hold firm to the Bible, we won’t be praised by God, but instead we will lose God’s salvation. The Israelites at that time could only enjoy God’s promises in the Age of Law in believing in Jehovah God. If they didn’t accept the redemption of , they couldn’t gain pardon of sins, much less enjoy the peace and joy and the rich grace the Lord bestowed. This is a fact. It’s already the last days now. God has returned and does a stage of new work. If we want to obtain the truth and life in believing in God, it’s not enough just to depend on the testimonies in the Bible, and we also have to come before Christ to obtain the truth and life, because only Christ can express the truth to redeem and save mankind. God is a God who bestows life. The Bible can’t replace God’s authority and almightiness, or stands for God to bestow life upon man, much less replace the working of the Holy Spirit. Only by accepting and obeying Christ, can we receive the work of the Holy Spirit and gain the truth and life. If we only believe in the Bible but do not accept the incarnate practical God, we can’t receive life. It is because the Bible isn’t God but merely a testimony of God’s work.”
After listening to the two sisters’ fellowship, I truly understood that originally there was not the Bible. After God did some work, the ones who followed God recorded the work of God so that people could know and understand God. Thus the Bible came into being. At the same time, I knew God is always new and never old. He does new work in each age based on mankind’s needs, expresses many truths and brings mankind new practices. Only by following the new work of God and accepting God’s current words, can our lives grow unceasingly and can we become the people who are after God’s heart. Now it is the last days. The new words that God expresses are our practical needs. Only our accepting God’s new work and seeking according to His current words are the practices in accordance with God’s will. Just like my students, who graduated from primary school and got into secondary school. And the seventh-grade curriculum is all that they haven’t studied at primary school. So they have to study the new curriculum, and in this way they can grow up. But I thought the pastor once told us “The Bible is inspired by God.” How did that come about? Then, I told the sisters this question.
Hearing my question, Sister Anna said, “With regard to this question, let’s read a few passages of Almighty God’s word. Only God knows the inside story of the Bible most. God says, ‘In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is historical record. Some of the epistles of the New Testament come from people’s experiences, and some come from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the Pauline epistles, for example, arose from the work of a man, they were all the result of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and they were written for the churches, were words of exhortation and encouragement for the brothers and sisters of the churches. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit—Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he see visions. His epistles were written for the churches of Ephesus, Philadelphia, Galatia, and other churches’ (‘Concerning the Bible (3)’). ‘Not everything in the Bible is a record of the words personally spoken by God. The Bible simply documents the previous two stages of God’s work, of which one part is a record of the foretellings of the prophets, and one part is the experiences and knowledge written by people used by God throughout the ages. Human experiences are tainted with human opinions and knowledge, which is unavoidable. In many of the books of the Bible are human conceptions, human biases, and human absurd interpretations. Of course, most of the words are the result of the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and they are correct interpretations—yet it still cannot be said that they are entirely accurate expressions of the truth. Their views on certain things are nothing more than the knowledge of personal experience, or the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The foretellings of the prophets were personally instructed by God: The prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel came from the direct instruction of the Holy Spirit, these people were seers, they had received the Spirit of prophecy, they were all prophets of the Old Testament. During the Age of Law these people, who had received the inspirations of Jehovah, spoke many prophecies, which were directly instructed by Jehovah’ (‘Concerning the Bible (3)’).
“From Almighty God’s words, we understand: In fact, the Bible isn’t a record of all God’s personal utterance but the true collection of God’s work. In the Bible, Jehovah God’s words, the Lord Jesus’ words, and the words God revealed to the prophets are truly God’s words, and the rest are mostly the record of history and man’s experiences and testimonies. Thus, this opinion that the Bible is all inspired by God and is all God’s word doesn’t match historical facts! However, many people see the Bible as a holy book, and besides, Paul mentioned in epistles ‘The Bible is all inspired by God,’ which even more increases the authority of the Bible. But by understanding how the Bible was formed, we know the Bible was recorded by people and naturally errors were made. For example, in Matthew 1:1-17 it is said that the Lord Jesus was the progeny of Solomon, the son of David, while Luke 3:23-28 says that the Lord Jesus was the progeny of Nathan, the son of David. About the book of the generation of the Lord Jesus, these two records are different. What’s more, Matthew 27:5 records that Judas was hanged whereas Acts 1:18 records that he burst asunder in the middle. These two records of Judas’ death are different, too. From that we can see there are mistakes in the Bible. The Bible isn’t inspired by God and He has not said that. Now the words expressed by Almighty God reveal the truth of the Bible, make us have a truer understanding and a right opinion of the Bible. Actually, after the pastors and elders in religious world read Almighty God’s words, by their own caliber they should have seen that Almighty God’s words have authority and power and are all truths, and that His words cannot be spoken by any person. But why do they quote out of context and distort God’s will? Their objective in doing this is not to let people seek and investigate the true way, but to trap people to death in the Bible and to control and enslave people forever. This is their evil intention. The pastors and elders in religious circles not only fail to seek the truth, but instead stop the believers from examining the true way. Aren’t they hating the truth and acting against God? Are they not vying with God for God’s chosen people?”
After hearing that, I really understood that in the writings of the Bible there are also mistakes and the Bible isn’t entirely inspired by God. Looking back upon, since I believed in God, I had listened to the pastor’s words all the time, thinking that “The Bible is all inspired by God. As we believe in God, we can’t leave the Bible. We should read the Bible every day.” We treated the Bible as our treasure, seeing it higher than God in our heart. If Almighty God’s words didn’t reveal the inside story of the Bible, I would still blindly worship the Bible and believe in the Lord keeping to the literal words of it. In this way, I would never obtain the new life. Meanwhile, I had some understanding of the pastors and elders’ nature and essence of holding on to the literal words of the Bible and resisting God. After understanding all this, I utterly put aside my conceptions and imagination. I would receive God’s new work, went on seeking the truth and investigating the true way.
Through a period of investigation, from God’s words, I understood many truths that I didn’t understand before. I knew God’s attitude to various kinds of people, what kind of people God approves of, what kind of people He condemns, what kind of people will be saved and what kind of people will be punished. At the same time, Almighty God’s words also point out to us the path of pursuing the transformation of disposition and being cleansed. At that moment, I came to truly know that Christ is the truth, the way and the life. If we want to completely break free from Satan’s influence and be saved by God, we must put aside our conceptions and imaginations and receive God’s new work. Just as the Lord, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Revelation 14:4). All the glory be to Almighty God!
If you have other understanding or new light about this article, you’re welcome to have a chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to [email protected]. We Look forward to sharing with more brothers and sisters about your enlightenment from God and growing together in Christ.
You may be interested in this article: The Relationship Between Bible and God, Figured Out!