In 1982, I accepted the’ gospel. Through reading , I knew that the Lord Jesus is the only true God and is the Lord who created the heavens and earth and all things. Later, our preacher often preached to us 2 Timothy 3:16, “‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.’ The entire Bible is inspired by God and is all God’s word. All of God’s work and word are in the Bible. There is no God’s work and word outside the Bible. No matter when, as a believer in God, we cannot depart from the Bible.” These words impressed themselves on my mind. I thought the Bible was a heavenly book and represented God. So, I especially treasured it, studying and reading the Bible with hunger and thirst for righteousness every day and reciting some famous chapters and verses; the Bible became my lifeblood. A few years later, I became a preacher and often said to brothers and sisters, “None of the books in the world can be the equal of the Bible. The writings of any great spiritual figure cannot replace the Bible. God’s word and work are all in the Bible. The Bible is the foundation for our Christian faith.”
Gradually, there arose envy and strife in our church, which thus split into a few factions, and brothers and sisters didn’t want to attend meetings. Faced with the condition of the church, I took great pains to study the Bible and wanted to change it. But no matter how I read, I was still thirsty in my spirit and had no new knowledge. When preaching, I felt dry, without any new light. Sometimes, I dozed off when I read the Bible. But the place of the Bible was still very high in my heart. Living in such a condition, I felt extreme pain. So many times I knelt before the Lord and prayed tearfully to seek His will. I hoped that someone having the work of the Holy Spirit could fellowship with us about the truth in the Bible so that our thirsty heart could be watered.
It was one hot summer morning in 1995. I was washing clothes under the big tree in my yard. At this time, two young sisters came to chat with me. They talked about the present situation of the church, saying, “Now, the religious world is a widespread desolation. Jealousy and strife between co-workers of all the sects happens too often. The preachers have no message to preach; believers are cold in faith and cannot feel the work of the Holy Spirit. This fulfills the prophecy of the Lord Jesus, ‘And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold’ (Matthew 24:12). These conditions are the signs of the Lord’s return….” Hearing these words, I nodded gravely. I thought: The two sisters are young, but what they said is the real situation of the religious world; it seems that the Lord Jesus will come soon. Then, one of them said, “The reason why the religious world becomes so desolate is that the Holy Spirit’s work has moved and God has done a new stage of work.” As she said this, she took out a book from her bag and said, “Auntie, the Lord Jesus we have longed for has returned. He has been incarnated and has done a stage of new work of judgment and chastisement. The words in this book are all God’s personal utterance. Please readand investigate His work of the last days.” Having spoken, she handed the book to me. I shot a quick glance at the book but didn’t accept, thinking, “Is this God’s utterance? Has God done a stage of new work of judgment and chastisement? That’s not right. It goes against the Bible. Doesn’t it depart from the Bible? God’s words are all in the Bible. The book in their hands is not the Bible. How could they say these words are God’s words?” So, I said to them firmly, “Just now you talked about the church’s desolation, I feel it’s reasonable. But you said the Lord Jesus has come back and expressed new words, and that the words in this book are God’s words, how could it be possible? God’s word and work are all in the Bible. There is no God’s work and word outside the Bible. Apart from the Bible, I won’t believe anything. Speak no more!” Then the sister asked me, “Auntie, are we really sure that there is no God’s work and word outside the Bible? John 21:25 records, ‘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.’ From this, we can see God’s work and word are not completely recorded in the Bible. The Bible just recorded a very limited portion of them. God is who He is and is the living water of life. God can create the heavens and earth and all things, and even more can rule everything. Can the Bible thoroughly clarify God’s deeds? We confine God’s work and word to the Bible, saying there is no God’s work and word outside the Bible, don’t we regard God as too small?” Though these words of the sister were reasonable, I wasn’t convinced. I turned my head aside, without saying anything. The other sister asked me, “Auntie, which, you say, came first, God or the Bible? Which is greater, the Bible or God? Which do we believe in, God or the Bible? The Lord Jesus said: ‘Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have : and they are they which testify of me’ (John 5:39). Actually, what the Bible recorded was the previous work God has done, and it is a media by which we know God’s previous work. So, the Lord Jesus said the Bible is only a testimony to Him. But He didn’t say His word and work are all recorded in the Bible, that there was no His word and work outside the Bible. We all know God’s work is always new and never old. When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, the Old Testament was out of date. If man holds on to it, he is resisting God. Likewise, in the last days, the Lord has come again and done the new work and expressed new words, so the New Testament is out of date. If we confine God’s word and work to the Bible, not reading His new word, we will easily commit the same mistake of the Pharisees resisting God.” After hearing their words, I was in a quandary. I felt their words made sense, but I then called to mind that the preacher often told us the Bible was all inspired by God, and the Bible was all the word of God. The Lord Jesus has ever said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Moreover, over these years, believers in the Lord Jesus hold onto the Bible like this. Since I believed in the Lord, I have always read and recited the Bible, and preached to brothers and sisters in this way. Aren’t we really wrong? It’s impossible. But I should treat the preachers who preach the Lord has come with love, which is after the Lord’s heart. At that moment, I felt somewhat fretful and wanted to quiet and think it over. So, I moderated the tones of my voice and said to the two sisters, “Sisters, it’s getting late today. Let’s end it here. Since you said this book is God’s word, then I will take it and have a look. Let’s commune another day.” The two sisters happily left the book to me and went away.
After dinner, I was washing the bowls while staring blankly. What the two sisters asked me in the day lingered in my mind all the time: Which came first, God or the Bible? Which is the greater, God or the Bible? Their words make me puzzled. I haven’t thought these questions although I’ve believed in the Lord for so many years. I must search the Bible and make them clear. After washing the bowls, I knelt on the bedroom floor and prayed to the Lord, “Oh, Lord! Today two sisters came and told me You have returned and moreover, You have expressed new words and done a new work. I feel what they said is reasonable. However, aren’t all of Your work and words in the Bible? What’s going on? Lord, please enlighten me and open my spiritual eyes so that I can understand Your will. If You really have come back, may You help me to guard my tongue from blaspheming You. Pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen!” After my prayer, I sat in front of the desk and opened the Bible. When I read Genesis, I thought: Genesis was written by Moses. When was Moses born? I saw Moses’ birth was recorded in Exodus, that is to say, when God created the heavens and earth and all things, the Bible didn’t exist. And there was no Bible when the world was destroyed by flood and when the Israelites went out of Egypt. Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy were all written after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. It was then two thousand years after God created the heavens and earth and all things. At that time, there was no book of prophecy, but the Five Books of Moses. That is, God didn’t create the heavens and earth and all things according to the Bible. The work of destroying the world with a flood and burning Sodom were not according to the Bible, either. They were recorded by Moses after God had done the work. That proves that God’s work came first and then the record of the Bible. Thus, the viewpoint that God’s word and work are all in the Bible and there is no God’s work and word outside the Bible is not consistent with the fact. Now, our church indeed has no work of the Holy Spirit, and we have no new light when reading the Bible. Has God really done a new work and expressed new words outside the Bible? But the preachers said God’s work and word were in the Bible, I also told the same thing to brothers and sisters. Is it really wrong? At that moment, I felt conflicted, walking to and fro in the room. Sometimes I read the Bible, and sometimes the book the sisters gave to me, not knowing what to do. So, I came before the Lord again asking Him to lead me.