If we have the Holy Spirit, why do we need the Bible?

by Matt Slick

We need the Bible because we are sinners, and we need to have things written down. The Holy Spirit indwells believers and works in them to point us to Christ. However, the Holy Spirit does not dominate our will, our mind, and our thoughts as to change us into robots. We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and have been given certain privileges to act freely in a responsible manner according to what God has given us in spiritual gifts and material possessions. The Holy Spirit, who indwells believers, is the one who bears witness of Christ (John 14:26; 15:26) and guides and teaches us (1 John 2:27). However, because we are sinners and because our experiences are different and subjective, God has given us the written word, so we might not rely on personal experience but instead rely on his word.

The Bible recounts the history of creation, the calling of his people, his covenant faithfulness to them, his incarnation, sacrifice on the cross, his resurrection, and future revelation. It is full of things God wants us to know about. In a sense, there is a vindication of God's work and a declaration of his plan in redemption. We have within its pages examples of worship as are found in the Psalms. We have a compilation of wisdom in Proverbs. We have in the Gospels the record of what God has done in the person of Christ, including his miracles, death, burial, and resurrection. We have in the Bible those things which are profitable for teaching, admonition, and correction.

Finally, though we are saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we still need guidance and correction because we are not perfect. The Holy Spirit is in us, but we are not robots who have no free will. Therefore, God allows us to examine his word and learn from within its pages what his will is for us in our sanctification, inner relationship with him, and our worship and adoration of his Majesty.

Here are some of the things revealed to us in Scripture that we could not simply know by the Holy Spirit living in us:

  1. How we got here:  God made us and the world (Genesis 1:1-2:25)
  2. Why we are here:  to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7)
  3. What is morally correct behavior:  the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)
  4. The consequences of our sin:  damnation (Genesis 2:17; Matthew 25:46; Romans 6:23; Revelation 14:11)
  5. Who Jesus is:  God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9)
  6. The means of our salvation:  Christ dying on the cross for us as he bore our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24)
  7. What we must do to obtain salvation:  believe and trust in what Christ did on the cross (John 3:16; 6:40; 20: 31; Ephesians 2:8-9)
  8. What our future hope is:  eternal dwelling with God (Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:5)




About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.