I am seeking answers on the basis of Protestant Trinitarianism.

As referenced in a previous answer regarding Sola Scriptura, Steven Lawson quotes Martin Luther, in a specialised article on Sola Scriptura, and explains the force of Luther's words :

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by clear reason, for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves, I am bound by the Scriptures that I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot to do otherwise. Here I stand, God help me.

By this declaration, Luther testified that the Bible is the sole authority upon which he stood. He asserted the Scripture is a higher authority than church traditions, ecclesiastical councils, or even the pope himself. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had espoused the authority of the Scripture and these other things. But Luther rebutted this position and declared that Scripture alone has the right to rule in the church. By this fearless posture, he established and embodied Sola Scriptura.

Martin Luther and Sola Scriptura by Steven J Lawson April 2018

But I have noticed that some appear to suggest that Sola Scriptura would deny any kind of personal and spiritual experience of the Gospel, leaving one to merely assimilate the words of scriptural doctrine, appropriate them to oneself and assume that this was all one could expect of Christian faith : an intellectual apprehension of biblical knowledge.

My own understanding of Sola Scriptura is that all Gospel doctrine and all matters of Church Government and all authoritative guidance of personal behaviour have already been revealed, through the words of Jesus Christ and his own chosen Apostles, in Holy Spirit inspired and inerrantly recorded words of scripture, which is not to be added to by claims of "personal revelation".

Nevertheless it is also true, as Hart the hymnist wrote, that:

True religion's more than notion, something must be known and felt.

... words which inspired a book to be written More than Notion (with a foreword by Dr. Martin LLoyd-Jones) urging Christians not to be content with a profession of words and intellectual assent, but to seek the real experience of salvation, through the Gospel.

One example in point is that of Abel who, it is said, "received witness that he was righteous", Hebrews 11:4. He, being justified by faith, understood that future redemption was by means of the sacrificial example of God (coats of skins) which, demonstrated example, Abel then followed.

There was the receiving of a witness that he was justified. It was not a mere assenting that, since justification existed, therefore by intellectually accepting that fact, he would have, automatically, obtained it.

Am I incorrect in my understanding that Sola Scriptura does not imply that I should be bereft of personal spiritual experience?

For it is my own understanding that every Gospel doctrine is to be entered into by experience and not merely to be assented to, in the intellect.

The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power [1 Corinthians 4:20 KJV]

  • 5
    +1 “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32
    – Mike
    Commented Apr 28 at 12:19
  • 3
    Also of note is that Martin Luther said "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by clear reason". By this I understand reason based upon (and not adding to nor departing from) Scripture. Come let us reason together. +1 Commented Apr 28 at 12:27
  • 3
    @curiousdannii I disagree as a recent question indicated exactly what I am attempting to determine. I am very happy to accept an 'obvious' answer in order to clarify the fact of the matter. There are many, whom I have personally met (I would call them 'hyper-calvinists' although that may be an incorrect term) who claim eactly what I am asking.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 28 at 13:42
  • 2
    @curiousdannii Well my comments were all deleted so there is no record of the interaction. You affirm that some might say intellectual assent is all that is necessary for salvation. That is exactly what I have highlighted in my question - regarding Abel and his justification.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 28 at 14:21
  • 5
    @Michael16 I am only interested in personal spiritual experience (of the soul) in regard to salvation. I am not inquiring about, nor am I interested in, miracles, external events or mystical revelations. Therefore, cessationalism is irrelevant to my inquiry. This seems to me to be an area of confusion in regard to the whole subject that when one talks of personal spiritual experience this is misunderstood to be sensational, external, miraculous and supernatural. I am asking if Sola Scriptura excludes the interior experience of Gospel truth.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 28 at 16:52

7 Answers 7


This Latin phrase, Sola Scriptura, points to the supremacy of scripture, the Bible. It means that the Bible should be, for Christians, the supreme rule of faith. It does not rule out individual Christians expecting personal, spiritual experience of the Gospel. Indeed, it is only possible to have genuine personal, spiritual experience of the Gospel if the hearing of the Gospel is faithfully that which the Bible states the Gospel to be.

With regard to personal experience of the Gospel, bear in mind this proviso: "...Nothing in our experience can ever be a substitute for the final touchstone of Scripture." Solas (article 2) by Iain D. Campbell, The Record/ISSN 2042-2970 (published by the Free Church of Scotland, March 2014 edition) Therefore, the Gospel one might claim as having personal experience of must be entirely biblical, and not a false Gospel.

That is what I understand Protestant trinitarianism to uphold. Here is the evidence.

It is found in chapter XVIII of the Westminster Confession of Faith - 'Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation', which reads:

  1. Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; which hope shall never make them ashamed.

  2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God: which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption. [Bold emphases mine to highlight qualities individually experienced]."

In the book quoted below, those sections are fleshed out. (I omit the scripture texts.) In these selections, consider how true and false personal claims are contrasted:

As A.A. Hodge succinctly tell us, (a) true assurance begets unfeigned humility; false assurance begets spiritual pride, (b) true assurance leads to increased diligence in the practice of holiness; the false leads to sloth and self-indulgence, (c) true assurance leads to candid self-examination and to a desire to be searched and corrected by God; the false leads to a disposition to be satisfied with appearance and to avoid accurate investigation, and (d) the true leads to constant aspirations after more intimate fellowship with God which is not true of false assurance. It is not the strength of one's conviction [or, experience] which proves the validity of his assurance but the character of one's conviction [or, experience]...

True assurance rests upon the infallible certainty of what God says. False assurance rests upon what man says. True assurance rests upon the evidence presented by the actual possession of those graces unto which God's promises are made. False assurance rests upon the mere semblance of such. True assurance rests upon the testimony of the Holy Spirit within our hearts (by applying the Word of God, so that we know that we are the children of God. False assurance rests upon the testimony of the spirit or error by suppression of the Word of God. This means above all, that true, infallible assurance rests upon the Spirit and the Word of God...

When our spirit is brought into conformity with God's Spirit, what we say will be agreeable with what God the Spirit says in Scripture... The special or personal aspect of this consist, not in what God says alone, but rather in the fact that we are by his grace enabled to say of ourselves what he says of true believers in Scripture [then refers to the Westminster Confession, I.6 on the Scriptures containing the whole counsel of God, "unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men."] The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes, pp. 131-133, G.I. Williamson, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 1964 [Bold emphases mine]

In conclusion, I just point out that what many might take to be purely intellectual assent is not so, due to the various personal experiences and emotions individual Christians feel who have taken the Sola Scriptura stance utterly seriously, which has led them to believe in the biblical Gospel. So, the answer to the question is, "No - on the contrary, one should expect personal, spiritual experience of the Gospel on the basis of abiding by Sola Scriptura."


Of note is that Martin Luther said "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by clear reason ...". By this I understand reason based upon (and not adding to nor departing from) Scripture. As God has invited wicked Judah, "Come let us reason together" (and this reasoning is based upon what He has spoken to them before and all along):

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. - Isaiah 1:15-20

So we are invited to reason according to what He has said, to live by every word proceeding from the mouth of God. Human reason, on it's own, cannot attain to wisdom for the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; it must be buttressed, informed, and fenced in by what God has said. Jesus did nothing other than reason by and present the Scripture to devil and man alike. So should we.

  1. If, as the Scriptures declare, the one who receives the "true light", who believes on His name, is given the power to become a son of God (John 1:10-12).

  2. If, as the Scriptures declare, the one who believes on His name receives the Holy Spirit to live within them (Jon 14:15-18).

  3. If, as the Scriptures declare, that indwelling Spirit (variously called the Spirit of God, of Truth, of Christ, etc.) is the same one that inspired the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21) and interprets the Scriptures to our understanding (John 16:12-14).

  4. And if, as the Scriptures declare, that indwelling Spirit is God Himself

It is no great leap to expect, when depending upon Scripture alone as the sole rule and guide for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, for the perfection of man and his thorough equipping unto good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and when depending upon the indwelling Spirit to rightly divide and apply the Scriptures to the heart, to personally experience the Gospel.

The Spirit lusts against the flesh and the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and this within an individual. The real question is not, "Can or should this be experienced?" but "How can a living, active Word applied to and within a human being by the indwelling Spirit of the Living God not be personally, spiritually experienced?".

The experience is lessened, dampened, and even avoided altogether by application of man-made doctrines taught as Divine command. The layering on of hundreds and even thousands of 'laws' does nothing to foster a personal relationship with God. There is a vain, empty worship that only pretends at true spiritual experience. This type of worship is either intellect driven or emotion driven and is not what God desires:

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. - Matthew 15:7-9

When Christianity ceases to be a religion and becomes a personal relationship with the living God (through a new birth) then one needs nothing beyond the Word, and Christ (who is Word made flesh) and Spirit (who conforms unto Christ) in order to experience a new life and the washing of water by the Word.


Does Sola Scriptura imply that one should expect no personal spiritual experience of the Gospel?

Am I incorrect in my understanding that Sola Scriptura does not imply that I should be bereft of personal spiritual experience?

To the best of my understanding, no.

Most (if not all) proponents of Sola Scriptura would likely consider John 7:37-39 as part of Scripture. John 7:37-39 ESV states the following:

Rivers of Living Water
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

It seems to me that this passage is intimately linked to salvation in Jesus (the Gospel, which your question is specifically about) and the personal reception and experience of rivers of living water, which is a reference to the Holy Spirit, which I do not know how to interpret other than as a subjective and personal spiritual experience.

Benson Commentary on John 7:38-39

John 7:38-39. He that believeth on me — With a living faith, and with his heart unto righteousness; as the Scripture hath said — As God in the Scriptures hath promised and attested in many places; out of his belly — From within him, from his mind and heart; shall flow rivers of living water — He shall receive spiritual blessings, or communications of divine grace, in so great an abundance, that he shall not only be refreshed and comforted himself, but shall be instrumental in refreshing and comforting others. The expression, Out of his belly shall flow rivers, is used with allusion to receptacles round springs, out of which great quantities of water flow by pipes: and the figure therefore signifies the plenitude of spiritual gifts and graces to be possessed by believers, and the happy effects which they should produce in the world. Thus the apostles and first messengers of Christ were both watered themselves and enabled to water others, Gentiles as well as Jews, not with small streams, but with large rivers of divine knowledge and grace, so that the countries, which till then had been barren, became exceeding fruitful in holiness and righteousness. Accordingly the evangelist adds, by way of explication, this spake he of the Spirit — Of the Holy Spirit’s gifts and graces; which they who believed on him should receive — Εμελλον λαμβανειν, were about to receive, namely, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, according to his promise, John 14:16; and John 16:7. The extraordinary gifts of the Spirit had, in a great measure, ceased since the death of Zechariah and Malachi. They had been faintly manifested in the approach of the Messiah, as to Zechariah and Elizabeth, to Simeon and Anna, and especially to John the Baptist, who is said to have been filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb; but the full effusion of these gifts, foretold by Isaiah and Joel, took not place till after the ascension of Christ, and was yet to come. On the day of pentecost, and not before, these extraordinary gifts were communicated to the apostles, evangelists, and many other believers, to fit them for converting the world. The universality, however, of the invitation and promise here given, makes it evident that, on this occasion, our Lord had the ordinary influences of the Spirit in his eye, which the evangelist’s remark, that the Holy Ghost was not yet given, will not exclude; because, even these might at that time be said not to have been given, as they had been given but sparingly, in comparison of the plentiful distribution which was to be made of them to all believers after Christ’s ascension. Accordingly, the ordinary influences of the Spirit are often in Scripture represented as the consequences and reward of faith, Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 1:12-14.

Source: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/7-38.htm


The keep this very short, I'll address just the title:

Does Sola Scriptura imply that one should expect no personal spiritual experience of the Gospel?

Sola Scriptura means the Bible is the only source of authority. Close adherents to Sola Scriptura do not recognize other sources of authority, such as clergy or tradition: there is no pope, no magisterium, no synod, no catechism. Some will even refuse to address priests as "Father", citing Matthew 23:9, while others may refuse to recite creeds that are not direct quotes from scripture.

However, this does not remove the possibility of "personal spiritual experience". Rather, it means any such experience cannot be a source of spiritual authority, and especially cannot pre-empt the Bible.

Additionally, like many things, Sola Scriptura can exist on a spectrum; not everyone will take it so far. Many, for example, will also recognize the authority of the clergy within their own denomination, or understand God also reveals himself through his creation. For them, Sola Scriptura instead means the scripture must come first: when there is apparent conflict among authorities, scripture must take precedence.


Who better to ask than Luther himself? It is faith which is spoken of here: but it is faith in Christ alone as revealed in Scripture alone. The experience that is here described is ours as much as we focus our hearts on the great truths of scripture.

JAN 25, 2010 Martin Luther's Definition of Faith

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. ''Faith is not enough,'' they say, ''You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.'' They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, ''I believe.'' That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn't come from this 'faith,' either.

Instead, faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn't stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they're smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do.

An excerpt from "An Introduction to St. Paul's Letter to the Romans," Luther's German Bible of 1522 by Martin Luther, 1483-1546

Translated by Rev. Robert E. Smith from DR. MARTIN LUTHER'S VERMISCHTE DEUTSCHE SCHRIFTEN. Johann K. Irmischer, ed. Vol. 63 Erlangen: Heyder and Zimmer, 1854), pp.124-125. [EA 63:124-125]

Ligonier’s Global Mission

  • 4
    Thank you for the quotation. A good find. But I do not see that it answers my specific question regarding the personal spiritual experience of the Gospel itself. (I agree that the quote serves to underline that faith is living and vibrant.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 28 at 21:49
  • @NigelJ - Not sure why you think it doesn't answer your question. Luther is saying very clearly that faith in the Christ through belief in the scriptures is more than empty notion, and produces a huge change in the believer. Commented Apr 29 at 20:04

From Luther's point of view, scripture alone that teaches Christ alone, would lead to rejoicing in Christ.

The church should preach, not just facts about Christ, but what Christ is to be to us.

[T]hat he might not only be Christ, but be Christ for you and me… faith is built up when we preach why Christ came, what he brought and bestowed, and what benefit it is to us to accept him.

What man is there whose heart, upon hearing these things, will not rejoice to its depth, and in receiving this comfort, will not grow tender, so that he will love Christ as he never could by means of laws or works?” (66)

Luther has moved to the biblical notion of faith. Faith is trust in God. It is not just another virtue formed in us by grace. Faith is not a virtue. It is the rejection of all possible virtue. Faith is not an inward good work that takes the place of outward good works. Rather, it looks to Christ. It knows Christ and rests in him and his righteousness for us. -source-

OP: Am I incorrect in my understanding that Sola Scriptura does not imply that I should be bereft of personal spiritual experience?

Correct. SS implies a deeper personal spiritual experience. Rest in Christ, rather than work on those unattainable merits.


I explained in another answer that sola scriptura actually requires there to be more than just scripture including extra-Biblical revelation:

Just as the political principle of separation of powers isn't needed and wouldn't make sense in an absolute monarchy or a dictatorship, so too does the doctrine of sola scriptura assume and require that there are actually other sources of divine inspiration alongside the scriptures. Sola scriptura is a doctrine that sets controls on how we understand and use other sources of divine inspiration.

So sola scriptura allows for other sources of divine special revelation, what is often called prophesy. Sola scriptura governs how we understand and use the spiritual gifts of prophecy and interpretation. ...

Similarly, sola scriptura governs the roles of tradition, reason, and wisdom in the church. We recognise that God's indwelling spirit enables us to reason well and gives us spiritual wisdom. We recognise the collective wisdom of groups of Christians, both now on a local context, and the collective wisdom of 2000 years of church history. All of these are valuable sources of knowledge that God has given us. But sola scriptura means that they all are always secondary to the scriptures.

Now "spiritual experience" is a broad category. But perhaps the best way to begin is to look at the external experiences - the works of the Holy Spirit. (Based on this article.)

Reveals the truth:

John 14:26: But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 16:13: But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Convicts of sin:

John 16:7-11: But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Helps in our weakness and intercedes for us:

Romans 8:26-27: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Grows spiritual fruit:

Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Distributes spiritual gifts:

1 Corinthians 12:4-11: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Is a seal and guarantee of our salvation:

Ephesians 1:13-14: When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22: Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

But the other side would be our subjective experience of our faith. The Bible is extremely clear that our faith should not be something of pure intellect, but that we should feel. God fully engages our hearts, minds, and wills, every part of what makes us human.

2 Corinthians 7 is just filled with Godly emotion:

2 Corinthians 7:2-16 (NIV): Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged.

In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.

Of course that's not the only passage. To it we can add:


John 13:34-35: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

1 Peter 4:8: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 John 4:7-8: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-6: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Colossians 3:12-14: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.


1 Thessalonians 3:9: How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?

1 Peter 1:8-9: Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


Colossians 3:15: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Romans 8:23: Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Galatians 5:5: For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.


Luke 18:13: But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

Romans 9:1-4: I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.


Ephesians 4:26: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.


2 Corinthians 11:1-2: I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

And that's just scratching the surface. I didn't even touch on the Psalms, the Bible's own song book! Most of these quotes were actually from the Apostle Paul's letters, who some might say wrote the most intellectual books in the Bible. Well, while they may indeed be very intellectual, they are also thoroughly saturated in the spiritual affections.

The Bible is completely clear that we are meant to have rich personal spiritual experiences. How could we not, when we are experiencing God himself!

  • 1
    This should be the accepted answer in my opinion. Very comprehensive. As a complement, I have compiled more passages here.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 30 at 0:23
  • @Mark Thanks! But it's not really the same as Christian mysticism... these passages would be accepted by Christians who reject that idea.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 30 at 0:38
  • 1
    When the Spirit came, as promised, he guided the Apostles (to whom Jesus made the promise) into all truth. so that 'all truth' was then documented in the scriptures we possess. Any other interpretation is, in my view, thoroughly dangerous.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 30 at 8:24
  • @NigelJ Yes I agree. But the Spirit still reveals the truths of scripture to us now. Perhaps I should add 1 Cor 2:10-13. See also WCF 1.6, 10.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 30 at 12:49
  • 1
    @curiousdannii I would agree that we, now, are led of the Spirit into truth, but that is a matter of us receiving and understanding (through preaching) that which has been laid out in scripture apostolically. What I am most concerned about is the claims of 'new truth' (which seem to abound in modern times). I am fairly sure we agree on this, it is just a matter of wording, I think.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 30 at 13:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .