Those who claim that the Holy Spirit is working in them directly, (that is, separate and apart from the word of God), often underestimate the power of God’s word. They think that it somehow limits the Spirit to recognize that he has chosen to operate through the instrumentality of the word of God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider the following list from Z.T. Sweeney in his excellent book, The Spirit and the Word:
“What are the things that might be accomplished by a direct personal indwelling of the Spirit in us? 1. He might give us faith. But through the Word he does that. “So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). 2. He might enable us to enjoy a new birth. But through the Word he does that. “Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth” (1 Pet. 1:23). 3. He might give us light. But through the Word he does that. “The entrance of thy word giveth light” (Ps. 119:130). 4. He might give us wisdom. But through the Word he does that. “But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14, 15). “The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7). 5. He might convert us. But he does that through the Word. “The law of Jehovah is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7). 6. He might open our eyes. But he does that through the Word. “The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps. 19:8). 7. He might give us understanding. But he does that through the Word. “Through thy precepts I get understanding: Therefore I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:104). 8. He might quicken us. But he does that through the Word. “This is my comfort in my affliction; For thy word hath quickened me” (Ps. 119: 50). 9. He might save us. But he does that through the Word. “Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21). 10. He might sanctify us. But he does this through the Word. “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). 11. He might purify us. But he does that through the Word. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently” (1 Pet. 1:22). 12. He might cleanse us. But he does that through the Word. “Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). 13. He might make us free from sin. But he does that through the Word. “But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17, 18). 14. He might impart a divine nature. But he does that through the Word. “Whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Pet. 1:4). 15. He might fit us for glory. But he does that through the Word. “And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). 16. He might strengthen us. But he does that by his Word. “Strengthen me according to thy word” (Ps. 119:28). In the above cases we have covered all the conceivable things a direct indwelling Spirit could do for one, and have also shown that all these things the Spirit does through the word of God. It is not claimed that a direct indwelling of the Spirit makes any new revelations, adds any new reasons or offers any new motives than are found in the word of God. Of what use, then, would a direct indwelling Spirit be? God makes nothing in vain. We are necessarily, therefore, led to the conclusion that, in dealing with his children today, God deals with them in the same psychological way that he deals with men in inducing them to become children. This conclusion is strengthened by the utter absence of any test by which we could know the Spirit dwells in us, if such were the case.”
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.