By Todd Lockwood
The God given human intellect that can understand scripture through the Holy Spirit is the proper way to understanding spiritual experiences. Also, it helps to understand that God is not the only one who can give spiritual experiences. There are evil influences in the world that use spiritual experiences that are wolves in sheep clothing. The only way to be able to distinguish between the God given and evil given experiences is to test them against scripture. In the case of a spiritual experience someone may be excited but the excitement should never push scripture to the side as if it will ruin the experience.
If anybody has ever had a reason to be full of excitement, it would be Peter when he was on the mountain of transfiguration or when he witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. He speaks of his experience on the mountain in "2 Peter 1" in which he encourages the believers to take heed to the words of the Old Testament prophets. In Acts 2, his excitement didn't stop him from preaching how the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a fulfillment of the word of God found in the Old Testament. The fact of the matter is that the spiritual gifts of the New Testament were and are completely dependent on the word of God. Some would argue that in order to grow spiritually, one must let go of scripture reasoning to achieve great faith. The problem with this is that it is not supported by the Bible and that great faith comes from taking heed to the word of God, not forsaking it.
Paul spoke more about spiritual experiences than anybody in the Bible and he taught that to grow spiritually, one must be an adult in their understanding of the scripture. He began "1 Cor 12" with the intention of preventing ignorance and in "1 Cor 14" he goes on to say that he wants the church of Corinth to be adults in their understanding of scripture. He ends the chapter by reminding them that the strength of spirituality is only as strong as its resemblance of the commandments of the Lord, the word of God.
The spreading norm is that spiritual experiences have authority over scripture. God doesn't approve of this by any means and has given believers the word of God to be the examiner of spiritual experiences. Ifit wasn't for the word of God there would be no spiritual experiences in the first place. There is no greater faith then the faith that can be given to those who believe in His word.
It is a lie from the evil one to say that great faith is achievable outside of the word of God. The deceivers who teach great faith is attainable without understanding scripture would be considered childish in Paul's eyes. He would be calling out their sin of artificial faith to bring them to the true faith found in the word of God. Anybody who follows these evil leaders of heresy will believe they will have proof of having had great faith when they stand before God. They will be greatly disappointed when they realize they forsook their faith when they forsook His word for experience. Amen.
Glory be to His word,