I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to ask Michael Eaton¹ this question: “Could you offer me your wisdom on how to effectively lead this flock towards understanding and experience the unity of Word and Spirit?”. I was even more thankful for the answer.
I think you have asked a very important question. Only it is not a balance of two things; it is a balance of three things: Word, Spirit and Life. Paul says: Our gospel did not come to you (i) in word only but it came to you also (ii) in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction – just as (iii) you know what quality of people we proved to be among you for your sake, 6 and you became imitators of us and of the Lord….
The Message paraphrases: ‘You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves’. So it is Word, Spirit and Life – a triplicity not a duality.
DO WE NEED EXPERIENCES OF THE SPIRIT? IF SO, WHY?
Because that’s the way the universe is made! God made us to know him and be conscious of him and enjoy what he does – and this is how he works.
Because of the example of Jesus, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).
DO WE NEED TEACHING FROM ‘THE WORD‘? IF SO, WHY?
Because we are ignorant and make bad mistakes without the close guidance of God – and a lot of that guidance he has put into writing for us in Scripture.
Because it would an insult to God for him to give us so much instruction and we ignore it as if we did not need it and God make a mistake! Read Romans and decide whether we need it or not!
Because we will make mistakes about our experiences if they are not interpreted by Scripture.
Because our own human nature (and the devil) has mysterious powers and can produce ‘phenomena’ just as there can be phenomena from the Holy Spirit.
Exodus 7:10 – Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and … Aaron three down his rod … and it became a snake. ¹¹Then Pharaoh called for the wise men and the sorcerers: and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing by their secret arts.
Because Jesus challenged us to pay attention to Scripture and to God’s power.
‘You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God’ (Matt.22:29). Have you never read in the Scriptures…’ (Matt.21:42).
Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24).
Because Jesus called his disciples fools for not studying Scripture and believing it.
O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24).
DO WE NEED GODLY LIFE ALSO? IF SO, WHY?
Because this is what the teaching and the miracles are designed to do for us.
Because it is easy to get excited about the miraculous and forget what it is designed to do for us.
Because it is easy to get excited about ‘the teaching’ and forget what it is designed to do for us.
Because we shall soon lose both the miraculous and the teaching (in spiritual blindness) if we do not use them in what they are intended to do for us.