Manifestations Not Specifically Recorded in the Scripture

The Bible does not record all the possible experiences that the Spirit gives. It records examples of experiences that point to broader categories that are typical of how the Spirit works. John wrote of this principle, explaining that all the works of Jesus were not recorded in Scripture (Jn. 21:25). Manifestations that are not written in Scripture do not necessarily contradict the things written! Some are an expansion of the things Jesus did which were written in Scripture.

25There are many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (Jn. 21:25)

On the day of Pentecost, those in the upper room were filled with the Spirit and experienced manifestations of the Spirit which included rushing wind, tongues of fire, speaking a language that they did not previously know, and apparent drunkenness (Acts 2:1-15). Under the inspiration of the Spirit Peter proclaimed, “This is what was spoken of by Joel!” Yet when we study Joel 2, we do not find any of the manifestations that occurred on the day of Pentecost. Joel did not mention rushing wind, speaking in tongues or appearing as drunk. Peter did not defend the specific manifestations that were occurring, he simply said, “This is what Joel spoke of!”

13Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.” 14 Peter…said to them, “Men of Judea…15 These are not drunk, as you suppose…16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…17 I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…” (Acts 2:11-17)

Joel spoke of a future empowering by the Spirit (Joel 2:28), without describing all that would occur when his prophecy began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Peter could not produce “proof-texts,” but that did not mean that the manifestations of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost were non-biblical.

As long as manifestations do not contradict the purpose of Scripture they should not automatically be disregarded as non-biblical. Some wrongly conclude that all manifestations are non-biblical unless we can find an exact description of it in the Bible. We do not conclude that God can heal only diseases mentioned in Scripture.

Are manifestations of the Spirit biblical? Yes.  Are there specific proof texts for each one? No. We cannot verify every experience with an exact description in the Bible. However, they are experiences that are in accordance with clear biblical precedents and principles. Not every manifestation has an exact meaning but there are patterns that are common to many. The Spirit continues to do things that are in agreement with His character and the principles seen in the Bible.

For example, uncontrollable laughter is not in the Scripture but inexpressible joy is!
8 You rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory… (1 Pet. 1:8)

Ezekiel fell down, was unable to speak, and was taken away by the Spirit to another city (Ezek. 1:28; 2:2; 3:12-14, 23-26; 8:3, etc.). Ezekiel’s experiences legitimize other similar phenomena that may not look exactly his experience.

We cannot assume that manifestations are false because we do not find an exact biblical description for each experience. Why? It was not necessarily the purpose of the biblical writers to provide a comprehensive list of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

The principle is that whatever manifestation is not disallowed in Scripture or contradictory to Scripture is allowed as long it bears godly fruit in the lives of those who experience it. This is not contradictory to sola scriptura (Scripture alone) because it upholds the purposes of God as set forth in Scripture. We are not required to proof-text every manifestation. There is no reason to assume they are contradictory to the Bible as long as they are in line with encounters of God throughout “salvation history.” In the 16th century some reformers destroyed church organs because they “were not found in the Bible.” However, Psalms has many references to musical instruments being used while worshiping God, without specifically mentioning the organ.

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1 comment

  1. Maude Dawson says:

    Thank you so much for the article on being drunk in the Holy Ghost. There are so many against it. I found it so refreshing to read the truth. I know that it is real because it has happened to me!!


    Maude Dawson