Question 3: We think all of God’s word and work are recorded in the Bible. There’s no word and work of God apart from the Bible. Therefore, our faith in God must be based on the Bible. Is that wrong?
Answer: Many believers in religious circles feel that: “God’s word and work are all recorded in the Bible. There is no word or work of God apart from the Bible.” Does this saying conform with the facts? Do you dare say that every single piece of work performed by Jehovah in the Age of Law is entirely recorded in the Bible? Can you guarantee that all of the word and work of the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace are entirely recorded in the Bible? What is the outcome if this view does not conform with the facts? Would it not make people look down on God, delimit God, and blaspheme God? Isn’t it something that offends God’s disposition? We should know that the Bible is compiled by people who serve God many years after God completed each stage of His work. It is inevitable that some content was missed or deleted. That’s a fact. There are some words of prophets that are not recorded in the Old testament but are instead collated into the Deuterocanonical books. In the New Testament, there are not many words of the Lord Jesus recorded in the Four Gospels. In fact, the Lord Jesus had preached and worked for at least three years. The words He uttered exceed what is recorded in the Bible many times over. That is a fact no one can deny. As stated in the Bible: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (Jhn 21:25). There are also some letters of the apostles not recorded in the Bible. When the Lord Jesus returns, He will still have to utter many more words and perform much more work. Could these things be recorded in the Bible? The Bible has only recorded the prophecy of the Lord Jesus’ return, not His word and work following His return. That is to say, the word of God recorded in the Bible is limited. These words are essentially a drop in the sea of God’s life, only a ten-thousandth, a trillionth of God’s life. Given these facts, how can people still say that God’s word and work are all recorded in the Bible? How could they say that there is no word or work of God apart from the Bible? Such statements are too arbitrary! They don’t conform with the facts at all. Many people use such statements to conclude that the Bible is the basis of man’s faith in God. This conclusion is not accurate. It is right for man to rely on the Bible as a basis for their faith in God, but the Bible alone is not enough. The most important thing is to walk the path of belief in God based on the work of the Holy Spirit. That is how to achieve God’s approval. If the Bible is the only basis and there is no work of the Holy Spirit, will man be able to understand the truth in the Bible? Will man be able to achieve understanding of God? If people have errors in understanding God’s word and don’t have the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t that make it easy to go astray? These are all real problems. If believers in God don’t have the work of the Holy Spirit, they will never be able to gain the truth, and moreover won’t be able to achieve understanding of God. If believers in God don’t have the work of the Holy Spirit, Even if they often read the Bible and listen to sermons, they still won’t be able to understand the truth and enter into reality. It shows that people who believe in God without the work of the Holy Spirit won’t be able to achieve anything at all.
Many religious pastors and theological professors use the human mind to explain the Bible, and end up all becoming people who resist God. They’re just like the Pharisees, who were also familiar with the Bible and observed some of its rules, but had no knowledge of God whatsoever. They appeared godly outside but had no reverence for God whatsoever. When the Lord Jesus appeared to do His work, they even used the Bible to resist and condemn Him, and were cursed by God as a result. What kind of problem is this? Can man’s faith in God be solely based on the Bible or not? The bitter lesson of the Pharisees tells us that basing our faith in God on the Bible alone is not enough, and that the most important basis is the work of the Holy Spirit. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is no use no matter how many years people believe in God—they won’t be able to gain life. This is a fact nobody can deny. This shows that the statement, “Faith in God must be based on the Bible, departing from the Bible is not believing in God,” is an incorrect and absurd viewpoint. The word of God in the Bible clearly states: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said Jehovah of hosts” (Zec 4:6). There are also the words in Psalms: “Except Jehovah build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except Jehovah keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain” (Psm 127:1). These two passages are both classic lines of the Bible. You could say that all believers know these two passages of scripture. Can man’s faith in God be solely based on the Bible or not? The answer should be clear. The main basis for belief in God is the work of the Holy Spirit and God’s actual words. That is how to gain the truth and life. Many people don’t understand the Bible, always thinking that eternal life is in the Bible and that simply holding on to the Bible will accomplish everything. That’s an extremely absurd view. The Lord Jesus has said before, “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life” (Jhn 5:39–40). “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6). Believers should know very well in their hearts that God is the Lord of creation. God is in charge of all things, dominates all things, and is the source of life for all things. There is infinite wisdom and wonder in God. The Bible is merely a historical record of God’s work, a testimony to the first two stages of God’s work. The Bible is the Bible. God is God. The Bible and God are two different things and cannot be compared. The Bible cannot represent God, and moreover cannot save man in God’s stead. Only God can save man. If the Bible could save man, the Israelites have held firm to the Bible, blindly believed in and worshiped the Bible for thousands of years, yet why do they still need the Messiah to come and save them? If the Bible could save man, then why did the Pharisees who held fast to the Bible still condemn and resist the Lord Jesus, and become antichrists in enmity to God? This is sufficient to demonstrate that the Bible cannot save man. The Bible is merely a testimony to God. If we only hold on to the Bible but do not obey God’s work, we will not be able to receive God’s salvation. Since we believe in God, we should obey God’s work, and experience and practice God’s word, so that we may receive the work of the Holy Spirit, and gain the truth and life. That is why the Bible can only serve as a reference for our faith in God and cannot be the sole basis. Faith in God should be based on God’s actual words and the work of the Holy Spirit. That is the most important principle of believing in God. We are really too foolish and ignorant if we cannot see through this commonsense knowledge. Treating the Bible as an idol or using the Bible to replace the Lord is purely resisting God and blaspheming God. If we blindly believe in and worship the Bible but cannot magnify and obey the Lord, then how could we possibly be true believers? How are we any different to the hypocritical Pharisees? This shows that if we believe in God but don’t understand the inner truth of the Bible and the relationship between the Bible and God, it will be too easy for us to deviate from the true way and be led astray.
Let’s read another few passages of Almighty God’s word. Almighty God says, “The Bible is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and that it offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul—are these not historical records?” (“Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“If you wish to see the work of the Age of Law, and to see how the Israelites followed the way of Jehovah, then you must read the Old Testament; if you wish to understand the work of the Age of Grace, then you must read the New Testament. But how do you see the work of the last days? You must accept the leadership of the God of today, and enter into the work of today, for this is the new work, and no one has previously recorded it in the Bible. Today, God has become flesh and selected other chosen ones in China. God works in these people, He continues on from His work on earth, and continues on from the work of the Age of Grace. The work of today is a path that man has never walked, and a way that no one has ever seen. It is work that has never been done before—it is God’s latest work on earth. Thus, work that has never been done before is not history, because now is now, and has yet to become the past.” “From the time when there was the Bible, people’s belief in the Lord has been the belief in the Bible. Instead of saying people believe in the Lord, it is better to say they believe in the Bible; rather than saying they have begun reading the Bible, it is better to say they have begun believing in the Bible; and rather than saying they have returned before the Lord, it would be better to say they have returned before the Bible. In this way, people worship the Bible as if it were God, as if it were their lifeblood, and losing it would be the same as losing their life. People see the Bible as being as high as God, and there are even those who see it as higher than God. If people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot feel God, they can carry on living—but as soon as they lose the Bible, or lose the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, then it is as if they have lost their life.” “After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God work 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? Is this not all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He break with 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)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The Bible has been a part of human history for several thousand years. People, furthermore, treat it like God, to the extent that in the last days, it has taken the place of God, which disgusts God. Thus, when time permitted, God felt obliged to clarify the inside story and origins of the Bible; were He not to do this, the Bible would continue to hold the place of God in people’s hearts, and people would use the words of the Bible to measure and condemn the deeds of God. By explaining the essence, the structuring, and the flaws of the Bible, God was by no means denying the existence of the Bible, nor was He condemning it; rather, He was providing an appropriate, fitting description that restored the original image of the Bible, addressed the misunderstandings that people had toward the Bible, and gave them the correct view of the Bible, so that they no longer worshiped the Bible, and were no longer lost; which is to say, so that they would no longer mistake their blind faith in the Bible as faith in God and the worship of God, afraid even to confront its true background and failings. … If people cannot escape the trap of the Bible, they will never be able to come before God. If they wish to come before God, they must first cleanse their hearts of anything that could replace Him; then they will be satisfactory to God. Although God only explains the Bible here, do not forget that there are many other erroneous things that people genuinely worship aside from the Bible; the only things that they do not worship are those that truly come from God. God merely uses the Bible as an example to remind people not to take the wrong path, and not to go to extremes again and fall prey to confusion while they believe in God and accept His words” (Introduction to The Words of Christ As He Walked in the Churches in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God’s words have clearly revealed that the Bible is only a testimony to God, a record of the first two stages of God’s work. The value and preciousness of the Bible lies in the words of God in the first two stages of His work as recorded in it. This allows all mankind to see through the word of God in the Bible how God created all things, how He created mankind, how He guided mankind, and how He redeemed mankind, helping people achieve some understanding of God. It is due to the records in the Bible that many people have turned to God. They not only have accepted that God created all things, but also hunger for God’s word and search for God’s footsteps. These are all benefits and edification the Bible has brought to mankind, and also where the value of the Bible lies. But God’s work is always progressing forward. The purpose of saving mankind is not achieved after only the first two stages of work are completed. God’s management plan is a three-stage work. If we merely cling to the Bible but refuse to accept God’s work of the last days outside of the Bible, then that would be such a tremendous loss! God’s work of cleansing, saving, and perfecting mankind is mainly achieved through His judgment work of the last days. That is why all truths expressed by God in the last days are so important to our purification, salvation, and entry into the kingdom of heaven. Why did the Lord Jesus prophesy that when He returns, all those who accept Him will go to the supper? The Lord said, “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). We’re all clear that this marriage supper means that God will truly gain man and perfect man, making man be of one mind with Him, never to part again. This is why Almighty God of the last days expresses all the truth for cleansing and saving man. Those who accept and obey after hearing God’s voice are all wise virgins. They are raptured before the throne to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb, and enjoy the supply of the water of life flowing from God’s throne. Through experiencing God’s judgment and cleansing in the last days, they will escape the bondage of sin to achieve change, and be made into overcomers by God. They are the most blessed people, and also the people who will receive eternal life and enter the kingdom of heaven. If people only base their belief in God on the Bible and remain stuck in the Bible’s letters and religious rules, marching on the same spot by only sticking to the first two stages of God’s work, then that will make it easy for them to be abandoned and cast off by the pace of God’s work, losing them the chance to be cleansed, saved, and perfected by God in the last days. This completely severs them from God’s salvation work. All their efforts will come to naught and they will be eliminated by God. In God’s eyes, they are all people who have betrayed Him. They are all unbelievers who belong with the evildoers. In the end, they are all like the Pharisees of old, who were cursed and punished by God because they stubbornly held on to the Old Testament and resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Mat 7:21–23). Evidently, this will be the outcome for people who hold on to the Bible and refuse to accept the work of God in the last days.
Let’s take another look at Almighty God’s word. Almighty God says, “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life nor gain the perpetual way of life. This is because all they have is turbid water which has been clung to for thousands of years instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit passively awaiting destruction, clinging to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands are letters that can provide but temporary solace, not truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read can only enrich your tongue and are not words of wisdom that can help you know human life, much less the paths that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not make you realize the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming and look at who is working now—look to see who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Excerpted from the movie script of Break the Shackles and Run