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Related Holy Ghost revealing truth privately and personally in an absolute and unmistakable manner

In recent posts I have seen many statements that seem to indicate spiritual experience as secondary/lesser/untrusted sources of truth:

Truth must be determined by something not so much apart from a personal subjective experience but in addition to it. That brings us to the realm of empirical evidence and rational thought.1

the Bible warns against emotional 'feelings' and 'spiritual experiences' that are not utterly rooted in following the Jesus of the Bible ... I am a sceptic when it comes to people enthusing about an experience they had after prayer...Especially if it ... does not square with what my Bible tells me Jesus Christ is.2

any personal private revelation which contradicts something that has already been written or does not deepen understanding of who Jesus is and what Jesus does (according to what is already written) is to be held as highly suspect at best.3

However, they may acknowledge varying degrees of clarity in these revelations, and the possibility of deception (as in false dreams, false visions, or false prophecies), which is why discernment of spirits is an important subject matter.4

From Wikipedia of discerning spirits5:

Judgment of discernment can be made in two ways. The first is by a charism or spiritual gift, held as divinely granted to certain individuals for the discerning of spirits by intuition (1 Corinthians 12:10). The second way to discern spirits is by reflection and theological study. This second method is by acquired human knowledge

While my own opinions are closer to the fourth statement, what is the biblical basis that spiritual experiences are the first step in conversion (are to be trusted)? Is anything else necessary in knowing Jesus is the Christ (Savior of man), is theological study necessary? Is anything else more important to conversion/following Jesus than feelings/heart/faith (is data, reasoning, evidence, etc)?

Bonus: How does one discern that which is good/evil (deceiving spirits and false prophets vs truth)?


I do realize these statements include caveats such as ...are not utterly rooted in following the Jesus of the Bible and ...which contradicts something that has already been written or does not deepen understanding of who Jesus..(according to what is already written) but both of these emphasize relying on one's understanding of the written word of which there are many interpretations. We know the bible doesn't contain everything (Jesus' teenage years, John 20:30 to quickly name a few as this is laying quick basis). As many parts of the bible were written after they happened things could have been missed or changed in the mind (not nefariously/purpose). This isn't to say the bible isn't important or doesn't contain truth (I am asking for biblical basis to answer this question), just that relying on it as singular/primary source has inherent flaws

1 https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/100625/22319

2 https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/100617/22319

3 https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/100652/22319

4 https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/100647/22319

5 Gen 3:22, 1 king 3:9, Isa 5:20, Eze 44:23, John 1:9, 1 Cor 2:14, 1 Cor 12:10, 1 John 4:2,6

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  • If one doesn't believe there is biblical basis feel free to open an opposite question (like biblical basis trinity vs biblical basis trinity persons or biblical basis disbelief trinity)
    – depperm
    Commented Mar 29 at 13:55
  • Sorry, but this question seems very muddled. Your main question is about conversions, but none of the quotes or links are about conversion. Spiritual experience vs special revelation is another separate matter. Discernment of spirits is another thing again. All in all, Biblical basis questions need to be about a clearly stated teaching of a Christian denomination. As this question is not at all clear, I am closing it.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 30 at 5:57
  • @curiousdannii I thought biblical basis questions just need to be what the bible says about a certain topic (denomination agnostic). I wanted to know what the bible said about conversion process
    – depperm
    Commented Mar 30 at 18:35
  • Biblical basis questions need to be about the teachings of practices of someone - they're asking for the basis of that. "What the Bible says about" questions are pretty much a matter of opinion.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 30 at 21:49

2 Answers 2

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What is the biblical basis that spiritual experiences are the first step in conversion?

The gospel is that of faith, repentance, baptism1, and gift of the Holy Ghost.

Faith is the first step:

Deut 4:29

29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Acts 2:37-38 (compare with Matt 8:5-10)

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Is anything else necessary in knowing Jesus is the Christ (Savior of man), is theological study necessary?

Nothing else is necessary (repeating OP, this isn't saying the bible doesn't contain God's word). Theological study can be supplemental to spiritual conversion (this isn't saying reading scripture can't lead one to have spiritual experiences, just that reading/hearing the bible is not necessary to have spiritual experiences.)

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Matt 16:17

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Eph 3:17-19

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Eph 4:17-18

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

Romans 10:17

17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Is anything else more important to conversion/following Jesus than feelings?

No, God looks on the heart. Our obedience/actions/works show the heart/faith (they are expressions of one's faith, if one has faith good works will follow2)

Deut 32:46 (see also Deut 11:11:18-19)

46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law.

1 Sam 16:7

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Psalm 24:4-5

4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.

How does one discern that which is good/evil (deceiving spirits and false prophets vs truth)?

Follow those things which are good.

1 John 4:1-6

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,

3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.

6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

James 1:17-21 (compare with Luke 6:45, Romans 8:27-28)

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above...

21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

3 John 1:1-14

11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

See also:

emphasis mine

1 John 3:5

2 Matt 7:21, James 2:14-19, Rev 20:12-13

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  • 1
    Does LDS subsume "faith" as a subcategory of "feelings"? Phenomenology I agree that a person's faith introspectively is a conviction (of the gospel truths) whose source is not clear (so in the literature I read it's called "light of faith" given by God named "grace", but reason (operating by its own light) doesn't complain about the lack of clarity, thus can concur with this conviction which is a result of the other light. This conviction (arguably a feeling) is what then produces repentance, desire to do good toward neighbors, and serve God, Does LDS teach similarly? Commented Mar 29 at 14:21
  • @GratefulDisciple I was hoping to ask/answer from purely biblical basis (denomination agnostic). I do not necessarily consider faith to be subcategory of feelings. LDS follow Hebrews definition of faith Feelings can be a way receiving answers (Alma 32:26-43), or acting on faith (Matt 9:20-21). I would agree with your last statement
    – depperm
    Commented Mar 29 at 14:45
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Experiences can be very subjective, hence the reason many do not us use it as a guage for salvation. Salvation is by faith alone and then the Bible teaches us of "things that accompany salvation" (Heb. 6:9). One of those things would be to increase in the knowledge of God. That search to increase in the knowledge of God is already Theology 101.

How does one discern that which is good/evil (deceiving spirits and false prophets vs truth)?

As you increase in the knowledge of God, you'd naturally find yourself "being transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2). Meaning the transformation that comes to you renews your mind so much so you can prove, to some extent, what is false and what is true. You can try all spirits and hold fast to what is good while rejecting falsehood. Now this does not negate the gifts of discernment of spirits, however, not all will have that gifts as "He gives it severally as He wills". Nonetheless, every Christian should be able to tell the difference between good and evil and that comes by what I quoted above. Over time, and over constant renewal of mind, Hebrew 5:14 days, by reason of use (consistency), you have your senses (renewed mind) exercised to discern both good and evil. This is what the Bible, and not just experience teaches

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