The clearest revelation of the will of God is found in the Bible. Paul’s second letter to Timothy states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). While some may think this limits God and His will, it is important to note where one establishes one’s sources of knowing God’s will.
If you do not have any source of knowing, then you cannot know the will of God at all, resulting in a true limitation. Many Christians live this way, believing in some deistic form of God, where He exists and loves us but there is no communication or interaction between Him and humanity. In that way of thinking, we are all in this world randomly, forced to make decisions but never fully knowing how we are to live. As a result, there is no devotion, praise, worship, judgment, or repentance. We merely float in this life without experiencing the joy, purpose, and life God intended for us.
At the other extreme is the idea of sources of knowing God’s will in every random thing, resulting in open interpretation without coherence, correspondence, or practicality. This is the other ditch of a limitation that we can fall into. Instead of the deist mode, these adherents believe in a pantheistic God who is everywhere, in everything, and within everyone. Life transcends logic, rational thought, and any form of coherent thinking. Every large and little occurrence in life is infused with divine meaning. Accordingly, decisions do not correspond to reality, and life decisions become difficult to make and to live out. We either become paralyzed to act or end up following some random car into a random part of the country.
God’s perfect will is most clearly revealed in the Scriptures. It isn’t the only source, but it is the plainest one. Now, God’s will is not ascertained from the mere reading of the Bible. This method disregards the context in which the passages are written. This is an incorrect method and an irresponsible (and life-threatening!) reading and interpretation of the Bible. As critics say that the Bible can be construed to mean anything, this is partially true. When read either without context or with imposition on the text, the resultant conclusions can be, at best, comical and, at worst, deadly.
The desire for instant answers must be suspended and each passage must be studied within its own context. The principles behind the narratives must be extracted. During the actual study of the Word, the Holy Spirit changes our hearts. During the study of the context, God impresses our minds with heavenly principles. During time spent in the Bible, Jesus points our lives in the right direction by applying the principle to our life contexts.
The more we prayerfully study, the more principles we collect and apply.
One amazing miracle is that the principles align to create a composite picture of God’s will. Where there are seemingly contradicting principles, a further and deeper study will guarantee a larger and grander perspective. Because every individual is different, the application of the biblical principles will also be different. So while the will of God is the same, the resultant application may be different for differing contexts.