76. The Principles of Knowing God’s Words
1. When you eat and drink God’s words, you must conscientiously contemplate God’s words with a prayerful, seeking heart, and yearn for the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can you gradually come to understand the truth;
2. When you read God’s words, you must focus on understanding the reality of the truth of God’s words, understanding God’s requirements and their significance. Only in this way will you have a true knowledge of God’s words;
3. You must look for answers in God’s words in order to understand God’s words. Only in this way will you find it easy to understand the reality of the truth and the significance of its essence;
4. You must focus on putting God’s words into practice. Only by gaining the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit through experiencing God’s words can you understand the essence and significance of God’s words and the truth.
Relevant Words of God:
You cannot leave God’s words behind or turn a deaf ear to them; you must figure them out carefully, repeat your pray-reading, and grasp the life within the words. Don’t engage in futility by wolfing them down without giving yourself time to digest them. Do you rely on God’s words in everything you do? Don’t talk big like a child and then get all in a muddle whenever anything crops up. You must exercise your spirit every hour of every day, don’t relax even for a moment. You must have a keen spirit. No matter who or what you may encounter, if you come before God you will have a path to follow. You must eat and drink God’s words every day, figure His words out without being negligent, make more effort, get it right down to every detail and equip yourself with the complete truth so as to avoid misunderstanding God’s will.
from “The Seventh Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You must concern yourselves only with being peaceful before Me. Keep in close communion with Me, seek more where you do not understand, offer up prayers, and wait for My time. See everything clearly from the spirit. Do not act recklessly, so as to prevent walking astray. Only in this way will your eating and drinking of My words truly bear fruit. Eat and drink My words often, ponder what I have said, pay attention to practicing My words, and live out the reality of My words; this is the key issue.
from “The Twenty-first Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Truth is obtained principally through receiving enlightenment from the Holy Spirit as you come to know God’s word. A mere understanding or interpretation of the letter of His word does not mean you have obtained truth. If you only need to interpret the letter of His word, then what is the point of enlightenment from the Holy Spirit? In that case a certain level of education would work, and the uneducated would be in quite a predicament. God’s work cannot be comprehended by the human brain. A true understanding of God’s word depends mainly on enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; such is the process of obtaining truth.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Only understanding the doctrine is of no use; it cannot bring a change in life. Only understanding the literal meaning of God’s word is not equal to understanding truth; those essential things illustrated in God’s words are the truth. Every sentence of God’s words contains truth, but people may not necessarily understand it. For example, God’s word says, “You must be honest people”: There is truth in this statement. “You must become people obedient to God, who love God, and who worship God.” “You must do your duty well as a man.” These statements contain the truth even more. Each sentence of the words of God contains much truth, and many words are required to explain the essence of each statement of truth; only when this point is reached will it be considered an understanding of the truth. If you only understand the literal meaning and explain God’s words according to their literal meaning, this is not an understanding of truth—this is purely playing with doctrine.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Therefore, if you do not understand God’s will, if you do not understand the intentions of His words, if you do not understand the aim or result which He seeks to achieve, if you do not understand what His words seek to accomplish and perfect in man, then you do not yet comprehend the truth. Why does God say what He says? Why does He speak in that tone? Why is He so earnest and sincere in every word He speaks? Why does He choose to use certain words, and not others? Do you know? If not, it means you don’t understand God’s will or His intentions, you do not understand the context behind His words. If you don’t comprehend this, then how can you attain the truth? Attaining the truth means that you understand His will through every word that He says. Once you understand, you put it into practice. You live out the word of God, and make it your reality. Then and only then, can you say that you really comprehend the truth.
from “Providing the Truth Is the Real Way to Lead Others” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In seeking life, you must pay attention to two basic things: 1) to understand the truth within God’s word, and 2) to understand yourself within God’s word. These two things are most fundamental. There is no life or truth outside of God’s word. If you do not seek the truth within God’s word, where then can you go to seek it? Where is there truth in the world? Are not all the books published in the world the theories of the devil Satan? Where is there any truth to speak of? The most important things in understanding the truth in God’s word include the understanding of God within His word, the understanding of human life within His word and the understanding of all aspects of the truth within His word. For example, the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of man’s existence within God’s word…. All truth is within God’s word. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the word of God. The main outcome you must reach is to know what a real understanding of God’s word is. With a real understanding of God’s word you can then understand the truth: This is the most fundamental thing.
from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Having knowledge of practicality and being able to clearly see God’s work—all of this is seen in His words. It is only in God’s words that you can gain enlightenment, so you should equip yourself with His words more. … The first thing to do is to be able to eat and drink His words. For the things that you are unable to do, seek out a path of practice from His words, and look in His words for any issues you don’t understand or any difficulties you have. Make God’s words your supply, allow them to help you resolve practical difficulties and practical problems, and allow His words to become your help in life …
from “People Who Can Be Absolutely Obedient Toward God’s Practicality Are Those Who Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you have obtained some light from within God’s word and you have figured out the real meaning of God’s word, if you can say what the significance of God’s word is and what ultimate effect it brings, only when this is all clear is there some level of understanding of God’s word. So, understanding God’s word is not quite so simple. Just because you can give a beautiful explanation of the letter of God’s word does not mean you understand it. No matter how you interpret the letter of God’s word it is still the imagination and way of thinking of man and is useless.
How should God’s word be understood? The key is to understand His word from within His word. Whenever God speaks He certainly does not speak in mere generalities. Within each sentence there is detailed content which is certain to be revealed further in God’s word, and it may be expressed in a different way. Man cannot comprehend the ways in which God expresses truth. God’s word is very profound and cannot be penetrated with man’s way of thinking. People can discover the complete meaning of every aspect of truth as long as they make an effort, and the remaining details are filled in completely as the Holy Spirit enlightens your understanding of the concrete situations through experience. One part is understanding God’s word through His word, finding the specific content of His word. Another part is understanding the implications of God’s word through experiencing it and obtaining enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. It is primarily through these two ways that a true understanding of God’s word is achieved.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you’ve read a lot of God’s word but only understand the meaning of the text and you do not have first-hand knowledge of God’s word through your practical experiences, you won’t know God’s word. As far as you are concerned, God’s word is not life, but just lifeless letters. And if you only hold fast to lifeless letters, you cannot grasp the essence of God’s word, nor will you understand His will. Only when you experience His word in your actual experiences will the spiritual meaning of God’s word open itself up to you, and it is only in experience that you can grasp the spiritual meaning of many truths, and only through experience that you can unlock the mysteries of God’s word. If you do not put it into practice, then no matter how clear His word, the only thing you’ve grasped hold of is empty letters and doctrines, which have become religious regulations to you. Isn’t this what the Pharisees did? If you practice and experience God’s word, it becomes practical to you; if you do not seek to practice it, then God’s word to you is little more than the legend of the third heaven. In fact, the process of believing in God is the process of you experiencing His word as well as being gained by Him, or to put it more clearly, to believe in God is to have the knowledge and understanding of His word and to experience and live out His word; that is the reality of your belief in God. If you believe in God and hope for eternal life without seeking to practice the word of God as something you have within you, then you’re foolish; it’s like going to a feast only to take note of what’s there to eat without actually trying it. Isn’t a person like that foolish?
… Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.” Today, after reading the word of God, you can merely say that you know God’s word, but you can’t say that you understand it. Some say that the only way to practice the truth is to understand it first, but this is only half right and not entirely accurate. Before you have knowledge of a truth, you have not experienced that truth. Feeling that you understand what you hear is not the same thing as truly understanding. To equip yourself with the truth as it is seen in text isn’t the same as understanding the true meaning therein. Just because you have a skin-deep knowledge of the truth doesn’t mean you actually understand it or recognize it; the true meaning of the truth comes from having experienced it. Therefore, only when you experience the truth can you understand it, and only when you experience the truth can you grasp the hidden parts of it. To experience it in depth is the only way to grasp the connotations of the truth, to understand the essence of it.
from “Practice the Truth Once You Understand It” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
One must investigate and ponder over many aspects of God’s words. Take one particular aspect of the truth and comprehensively read it in detail. As a result, this aspect of the truth will be comparatively clearer. God’s words explain some matters very clearly and it is comparatively easy to understand. God’s words do not point out directly other matters. For these matters, one must grasp God’s meaning from the heartfelt meaning of God’s words. It can be said that all crucial matters have already been clearly explained by God’s words and man can directly understand God’s meaning. In regard to rather trivial matters, they have already in fact been encompassed by God’s words and their principles have already been explained. Those who are able to comprehend it will be able to understand these matters. Within God’s words, we frequently see that sometimes God will give man a principle to practice. Sometimes God will permit man to understand His demands for man or He will give man an objective to achieve. Even though God does not explain in detail the specifics, He has already clearly explained the principles. It can be understood even if He does not explain in detail. God will never give man dead regulations for man to obstinately cling to because this is not beneficial to man’s dispositional transformation. The results that God’s work intends to attain do not require man to obstinately cling to anything. That is why there are many specific matters where God would only give man a principle or only requires man to understand God’s required goals for man. Clever people should know how to practice in accordance with the truth and in a way that does not violate the principles. For example, how should one deal with her unbelieving husband that obstructs her from fulfilling her duties? Even though God does not directly say that she should divorce him, He also does not say that she is not permitted to divorce him. Instead, God says that man must be devoted to God and be obedient to God. One must offer a part of himself to spreading the work of God. From this, one should be able to experience what God’s heartfelt meaning is. God will never force one to do this or do that. God wants one to decide for himself. In this way, some people will choose the truth and choose to love God. Consequentially, they will obtain God’s praise. Those that are not considerate of God’s will do not understand God’s meaning and instead choose a path that is not of the truth. In the end, they will be detested and rejected by God. People with an average intelligence and sense do not need each matter to be explained in detail by God. If one comprehensively examines God’s implied meaning, the tone of God’s words, the demands that God has for man and the results that God’s work intends to achieve, they will be able to grasp God’s meaning. Some people ask, “Should we abandon the secular world?” Now, how much of an obstruction would you say the secular world has in terms of seeking the truth, the life and fulfilling one’s duties? Can you expend for God if you are entangled by the secular world? This is a simple question. If one cannot see this clearly, then they truly do not have a brain in their head. There are no limits when it comes to seeking the truth and spending for God. The more beautiful the results, the better. Since time is urgent, even if man relinquishes the secular world, he will not be able to catch up. If he still lusts for the secular world, he should just go die. Actually, within God’s words, what everyone should understand, practice, enter and keep to has already been clearly written. Moreover, it has already been clearly explained. What is left is for man to accurately put it into practice. The principles to be followed and the regulations to be abandoned should just be communicated a few times in the church by those who have a pure understanding to be clearly understood. After a period of time of experience, one will completely be able to accurately and without deviation, put them into practice.
from “Grasping God’s Will and Seeking God’s Meaning” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life