Two words help us see the link between the word and the Spirit: they are inspiration and illumination.

Something becomes the word of God only when it is inspired by the Spirit of God. The Scriptures are God-breathed, so they are the word of God. But the church is not the word of God unless its members are alive in the Spirit and showing Christ, through his Body, to the world. Similarly it’s not enough for dancers to dance well, musicians to play well, or even preachers to preach well in order to be the word of God. They must be Spirit-inspired, and that involves being in touch with the Lord and in harmony with one another, otherwise what they do is simply a performance.

You may have something that is inspired, however, and find that it fails to illuminate the people who are hearing or seeing it. The Thessalonians received the word (1 Thess 2:13), accepted it and let it work in their lives. Unless we do that, we will have the outward shell of the word of God without the necessary inward spiritual reality – inspiration without illumination.

David Watson

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