The Problem with "God Told Me So"

by Staff April 26, 2015

From D.A. Carson's excellent little classic, Exegetical Fallacies:

Almost twenty years ago I rode in a car with a fellow believer who relayed to me what the Lord had "told" him that morning in his quiet time. He had been reading the KJV of Matthew; and I perceived that not only had he misunderstood the archaic English, but also that the KJV at that place had unwittingly misrepresented the Greek text. I gently suggested there might be another way to understand the passage and summarized what I thought the passage was saying.

The brother dismissed my view as impossible on the grounds that the Holy Spirit, who does not lie, had told him the truth on this matter. Being young and bold, I pressed on with my explanation of grammar, context, and translation, but was brushed off by a reference to 1 Corinthians 2:10b-15: spiritual things must be spiritually discerned -- which left little doubt about my status.

Genuinely intrigued, I asked this brother what he would say if I put forward my interpretation, not on the basis of grammar and text, but on the basis that the Lord himself had given me the interpretation I was advancing. He was silent a long time, and then concluded, "I guess that would mean the Spirit says the Bible means different things to different people."