“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” ~ John 14:16-17
“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” ~ Acts 5:32
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” ~ Romans 8:11
“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:12
“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:17
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19
“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” ~ 1 John 3:24
Is there anything particularly difficult to understand about these passages? Is there any language in them which would lead one to believe that they are only meant figuratively? Is there anything that says that the Spirit dwells in the believer through His word only?
Or do these verses simply mean what they say?
When Jesus spoke figuratively about going away (dying) and seeing Him again (being resurrected), John quoted Him as saying so:
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.” ~ John 16:25
When Paul spoke figuratively and slavery to law and freedom from it, he said so:
“These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” ~ Galatians 4:24
If they meant to speak in parables or metaphors, the New Testament writers generally clued their readers in by saying so, as Jesus did in His kingdom parables (“the kingdom of heaven is like …”) – or they would use the highly apocalyptic language of the prophets before them (“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day ….”) They did neither when speaking about the Spirit dwelling within the believer.
Nothing in scripture indicates that when one reads or memorizes the word of God, it is like the Spirit is living in him/her. Nothing scripture says reveals that reading or memorizing it alone IS the Spirit living in her/him.
This promise is stated literally in Joel (2:28-32), is literally fulfilled beginning in Acts 2, and continues being fulfilled throughout New Testament writings – with no record that it stopped or changed in nature or would stop or change in nature (to refer to the Spirit dwelling in someone only through the Word).
The burden of proof is clearly on those who wish to propagate and live by a Spirit-in-the-word-only-today doctrine, and their proof continues to be assertion and adding words and/or meaning to scripture that it does not explicitly express. That’s called interpretation, and while we all do it, interpretation has rules: one begins with what scripture says and stops with what scripture actually says.
They just can’t see or hear themselves doing it.
That’s why it’s so important to let the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth, and if He lives within the believer who listens for the truth, yearns for the truth, and asks for the truth … the source of truth within the written word of God is right there within from the One who inspired its writing.