5. The Principles of Knowing God’s Words
Relevant Words of God:
Before man carries out the word of God, he must know the word of God; that is, he must understand God’s will. Only in this way can God’s word be carried out accurately and in accordance with God’s will. This is something that everyone who seeks the truth must possess, and it is also the process that everyone who tries to know God must undergo. The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God and the work of God. So, knowing visions not only refers to knowing the humanity of God incarnate, but also includes knowing the word and the work of God. From the word of God people come to understand God’s will, and from the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is.
Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In pursuing life, you must pay attention to two things: first, understanding the truth within God’s words; second, understanding yourself within God’s words. These two things are most fundamental. There is no life or truth outside of God’s words. If you do not seek the truth within God’s words, where, then, can you go to seek it? Where is there truth in the world? All of the world’s books are compiled of the devil Satan’s theories, are they not? They do not contain even one iota of truth! The most important parts of understanding the truth in God’s words are understanding God within His words, understanding human life within His words, and understanding all aspects of the truth within His words, such as the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of human existence within God’s words. All truth is within God’s words. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the words of God. The main outcome you must attain is to know what it is to possess understanding and knowledge of God’s words. With a real understanding of God’s words, you can then understand the truth. This is the most fundamental thing.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If from God’s words you do not understand God’s will and the intentions behind His utterances, if you do not understand the aims and results that His words intend to achieve, if you do not understand what His words seek to accomplish and perfect in man, if you do not understand these things, then it proves that you do not yet comprehend the truth. Why does God say what He says? Why does He speak in that tone? Why is He so earnest and sincere in every word He speaks? Why does He choose to use certain words? Do you know? If you cannot say for sure, it means you do not understand God’s will or His intentions, you do not understand the context behind His words. If you do not comprehend this, then how can you gain the truth? Gaining the truth means understanding His will through every word that He says; it means putting God’s words into practice once you have understood them, and allowing God’s words to be lived out by you and become your reality. Only when you have a thorough understanding of the word of God can you really grasp the truth.
Excerpted from “Only Those With the Reality of the Truth Can Lead” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Coming to a genuine understanding of the actual meaning of God’s words is no simple matter. Do not think this way: “I can interpret the literal meaning of God’s words, and everyone says my interpretation is good, and gives me a thumbs-up, so this means I understand God’s words.” That is not the same as understanding God’s words. If you have gained some light from within God’s utterances, and you have gotten a sense of the true meaning of His words; and if you can express the intention behind His words and what effect they will ultimately achieve, then once you have a clear understanding of all of these things, you can be considered to have some level of understanding of God’s words. Thus, understanding God’s words is not all that simple. Just because you can give a flowery explanation of the literal meaning of God’s words does not mean you understand them. No matter how much you can explain their literal meaning, your explanation is still based on human imagination and way of thinking. It is useless! How can you understand God’s words? The key is to seek the truth from within them; only in that way can you truly understand what He says. Whenever God speaks, He certainly does not speak in mere generalities. Each sentence He utters contains details that are certain to be revealed further in God’s words, and they may be expressed differently. Man cannot fathom the ways in which God expresses the truth. God’s utterances are very profound and cannot be fathomed with human way of thinking. People can discover the entire meaning of every aspect of the truth as long as they make an effort; if you do this, then as you experience them, what details remain will be filled in completely as the Holy Spirit enlightens you, thus giving you an understanding of these concrete states. One part is understanding God’s words and seeking their specific content through reading them. Another part is understanding the implications of God’s words through experiencing them and obtaining enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. It is primarily by these two means that a true understanding of God’s words is achieved. If you interpret His words literally, or through the lens of your own thinking or imagination, then your understanding of God’s words is not real no matter how eloquently you can interpret them. You might even take their meaning out of context and misinterpret them, and doing so is even more troublesome. Thus, the truth is primarily obtained by receiving enlightenment from the Holy Spirit through gaining knowledge of God’s words. Understanding the literal meaning of His words, or being able to explain them, does not count as having gained the truth. If you only needed to interpret the literal meaning of His words, then what would be the point of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment? In that case, you would only need to have a certain level of education, and the uneducated would all be in quite a predicament. God’s work is not something that can be comprehended by the human brain. A true understanding of God’s words relies mainly on having enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; such is the process of gaining the truth.
Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
God’s work and word are meant to cause a change in your disposition; His goal is not merely to make you understand or know His work and word. That is not enough. You are a person who has the ability to comprehend, so you should have no difficulty in understanding the word of God, because most of God’s word is written in human language, and He speaks very plainly. For instance, you are perfectly capable of learning what it is that God wants you to understand and practice; this is something that a normal person who has the faculty of comprehension should be able to do. In particular, the words that God is saying in the present stage are especially clear and transparent, and God is pointing out many things that people have not considered, as well as all manner of human states. His words are all-encompassing, and as clear as the light of a full moon. So now, people understand many issues, but there is still something missing—people putting His word into practice. People must experience all aspects of the truth in detail, and explore and seek it out in greater detail, rather than simply waiting to absorb whatever is made available to them; otherwise they become little more than parasites. They know God’s word, yet do not put it into practice. This kind of person does not love the truth and will ultimately be eliminated. To be like a Peter of the 1990s, this means that each one of you should practice the word of God, have true entry in your experiences and gain even more and even greater enlightenment in your cooperation with God, which will be of ever increasing assistance to your own life. If you have read a lot of God’s word but only understand the meaning of the text and lack direct knowledge of God’s word through your practical experiences, then you will not know God’s word. As far as you are concerned, God’s word is not life, but just lifeless letters. And if you only live in observance of lifeless letters, then you cannot grasp the essence of God’s word, nor will you understand His will. Only when you experience His word in your actual experiences will the spiritual meaning of God’s word open itself to you, and it is only through experience that you can grasp the spiritual meaning of many truths and unlock the mysteries of God’s word. If you do not put it into practice, then no matter how clear His word, all that you have grasped are empty letters and doctrines, which have become religious regulations to you. Is this not what the Pharisees did? If you practice and experience God’s word, it becomes practical to you; if you do not seek to practice it, then God’s word to you is little more than the legend of the third heaven. In fact, the process of believing in God is the process of you experiencing His word as well as being gained by Him, or to put it more clearly, to believe in God is to have the knowledge and understanding of His word and to experience and live out His word; such is the reality behind your belief in God. If you believe in God and hope for eternal life without seeking to practice the word of God as something you have within you, then you are foolish. This would be like going to a feast and only looking at the food and learning the delicious things by heart without actually tasting any of it. Would such a person not be a fool?
The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, and it is a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity. It is a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom, and the clearer the truth will become. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and the more strength you will have to triumph over Satan. Much of the truth that you do not understand will be made clear when you practice the word of God. Most people are satisfied to merely understand the text of God’s word and focus on equipping themselves with doctrines rather than on deepening their experience in practice, but is that not the way of the Pharisees? So how can the phrase, “The word of God is life” be real for them? A person’s life cannot grow simply by reading God’s word, but only when the word of God is put into practice. If it is your belief that to understand God’s word is all that is needed to have life and stature, then your understanding is warped. Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.” Today, after reading the word of God, you can merely say that you know God’s word, but you cannot say that you understand it. Some say that the only way to practice the truth is to understand it first, but this is only partially correct, and is certainly not entirely accurate. Before you have knowledge of a truth, you have not experienced that truth. Feeling that you understand something you hear in a sermon is not truly understanding—this is just taking possession of the literal words of the truth, and it is not the same as understanding the true meaning therein. Just having a superficial knowledge of the truth does not mean that you actually understand it or have knowledge about it; the true meaning of the truth comes from having experienced it. Therefore, only when you experience the truth can you understand it, and only then can you grasp the hidden parts of it. Deepening your experience is the only way to grasp the connotations, and to understand the essence of the truth.
Excerpted from “Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Knowing God must be achieved through reading and understanding God’s words. Some say: “I haven’t seen God incarnate, so how could I know God?” In fact, God’s words are an expression of His disposition. From God’s words, you can see His love and salvation for humans, as well as His method for saving them…. This is because His words are expressed by God Himself, not written by humans. They have been personally expressed by God; God Himself is expressing His own words and His inner voice. Why are they called words from the heart? It is because they are issued from deep down, and express His disposition, His will, His thoughts, His love for mankind, His salvation of mankind, and His expectations of mankind…. God’s utterances include harsh words, and gentle and considerate words, as well as some revelatory words that are not in line with human wishes. If you look only at the revelatory words, you might feel that God is rather stern. If you look only at the gentle words, you might feel that God is not very authoritative. You therefore should not take them out of context; rather, look at them from every angle. Sometimes God speaks from a gentle and compassionate perspective, and then people see His love for mankind; sometimes He speaks from a very strict perspective, and then people see the disposition of His that will tolerate no offense. Man is deplorably filthy, and is not worthy of seeing God’s face or of coming before Him. That people are now allowed to come before Him is purely by His grace. God’s wisdom can be seen from the way He works and in the significance of His work. People can still see these things in God’s words, even without any direct contact from Him. When someone who genuinely knows God comes into contact with Christ, his encounter with Christ can correspond with his existing knowledge of God; however, when someone who has only a theoretical understanding encounters God, he cannot see the correlation. This aspect of the truth is the most profound of mysteries; it is difficult to fathom. Sum up God’s words on the mystery of the incarnation, look at them from all angles, and then pray together, ponder, and fellowship further on this aspect of the truth. In doing so, you will be able to gain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and come to understand. Because humans have no chance of having direct contact with God, they must rely on this kind of experience to feel their way through and enter a little bit at a time in order to attain true knowledge of God.
Excerpted from “How to Know God Incarnate” in Records of Christ’s Talks