Opening The Word of
Edited from a spoken message by
John Wright Follette
When I first met the Lord, I consecrated my spirit, soul,
and body to Him. Over many years, the Lord has used me in
a marvelous flow of life through His Word. Each one who sits
under this flow of life is exposed to the power of The Holy
Spirit who is bringing us forth as a new creature in Christ
Jesus. We are still tabernacled in these bodies of flesh,
but this is not who we are. We are in essence, spirit. We
are invisible, dynamic personalities hidden away in a body.
We are so accustomed to interpreting life through our sense
perception that it is very difficult for us to recognize that
we are intelligent, spiritual beings responding to the power
of the Word of God and to His Holy Spirit. We forget this
because we have lived so long under the entanglements of our
fleshly natural concept of living. We must move away from
this, if we desire to get any where, spiritually.
Truth is eternally established. We cannot improve upon it.
The "doctrine" of it is the skeleton; but Jesus
did not say "This is my skeleton." Rather, He said
"This is my flesh." The skeleton must be filled
in so that through it the spirit may vibrate, move, live,
and touch us.
What I have is bits of truth. Most of these are concealed,
or hidden within the Word of God. When the Lord reveals something
to me, it may take weeks or months to bring this thought through
to me. He may bring me under the power of some little concept
of truth, like a thought or two, and I may be six months to
a year working under the power of this one thing. We cannot
grasp the fullness of eternal truth in a minute; there are
no shortcuts. We live in a gadget age in which we push a button
and out jumps the thing. Because we live this way, if we are
not careful, we try to make it happen this way in the realm
of the Spirit.
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things
that are freely given to us of God ...But the natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they
are spiritually discerned" 1 Cor 2:12, 14.
Many Christians think that they must read the Word of God.
They are not reading for any spiritual inspiration at all,
but are under a strange pattern of compulsion. Reading the
Word of God will always benefit us. But I am trying to warn
you away from just a perfunctory reading of the Word because
it is your "Christian duty" to do so.
I had to learn to not read the Word traditionally, but approach
it as no other word in the world. I have had college and seminary
training. In that field I did a lot of mental work, but my
heart was never really satisfied because I knew there must
be something in God that was more than just my mental ascent
to truth. Then after great starvation and hunger, the Lord
filled me with His Spirit and brought to me the revelation
of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since that time, I have never been
I must approach the Word of God as no other literature in
the world, because itis not of this world. I must approach
it "in the spirit" and allow the Lord to speak to
me through it. I am a very slow reader, I am not a marathon
reader -so many chapters a day. Take the Holy Spirit with
you into the Word. He wrote the Word, therefore He has the
right to give you light on it.
At times, truth may seem to be elementary, but there is nothing
elementary in the things of God. As we keep our spirit open,
pliable, and receptive, the Lord may take a very well known
story and begin to enlarge upon it, and open it until we say,
"I never knew that was there."
When we read our Bible, it should not be as it was when we
read it twenty years ago. The Word is the same, but we have
changed and should be able to see much more than we did before.
Dealing with the Word of God, with the whole revelation of
truth, is purely a progressive matter. It is not attained
in a moment, or acquired in a single Bible study. There is
no finishing, or exhausting it. It is a continual progressive
unfolding. I have discovered that understanding the Word of
God is not something you learn, it is something that you must
continually discover. God is not a definition. We cannot define
Him, but we can experience Him.
Each one of us must be continually conditioned for the reception
of the Word. We may say, "This is wonderful Lord, open
the Word to me." He may respond, "I can't."
"But Lord, I'm so hungry and the Word says, 'Blessed
are they which do hunger and thirst ... for they shall be
filled.' Lord, fill me right now." "I can't."
"Why?" "You are not yet conditioned for the
thing you are anticipating."
We must be conditioned continually in heart and in spirit
for the reception of that which we hope and long for. It is
delightful to have the urge of the Spirit stirring us within
for more of God. Sometimes, when all of our emotional life
has been silenced by the Lord while this conditioning process
is taking place within us, our spiritual hunger is all that
we have to live by. But we will not find the fullness, nor
the satisfaction we seek after, until our heart has been conditioned
for its reception.
When we have come to the place of receptivity through His
conditioning us, we will approach the same "old"
truth again, but our reaction will be quite different. We
will say, "Oh Lord, I never knew you like this."
What made this difference? Previously, He was unable to bring
this understanding into our being because we had not been
conditioned to receive it. He could have blessed us, but He
could not have brought us into this rich revelation in His
What do I mean by conditioning? I am saved and baptized in
the Spirit, but that does not "condition" me. No
one experience, no matter how profound or moving that experience
may have been - that experience in itself never matures us.
We may have come through a crisis in which the Lord has brought
us face to face with issues and we are changed. But this does
not, in itself, grow us up. There must be an ongoing process
of disciplining and qualifying us, ever enlarging our capacity,
until "truth" can fit within us.
You ask me how? You would not be able to follow my path of
discipline. I could not follow you in your discipline either.
Each one of us has his own discipline, our own cross, our
own individual dealings with the Lord. The RESULT of these
dealings, if they are in the Spirit, and if we come through(overcome),
will produce within us a freshness of understanding in the
Truth is purely progressive in all its forms. The heart must
be continually conditioned for its reception, then we grow.
While living under the power of this "impact of truth,"
we are to go about our everyday doings, but this is not our
life. We are occupying while He is accomplishing this invisible,
spiritual miracle within us.
There are many "fads" that affect the Body of Christ.
A growing child, at times, has certain symptoms. He gets the
mumps, then the measles. Some become very concerned because
we find the Body of Christ breaking out with all these things.
It is as an epidemic that strikes, and if we are not schooled
in the ways of the spirit, we may catch it. The Body of Christ
must have intense vitality to resist all these strange maladies
that attempt to strike it. The Body of Christ has not matured
as it should. Why? Because these strange maladies have laid
hold of it, and there is seemingly so little vitality of spiritual
reality and life that can penetrate through that thing and
slice it off the Body. The power of the life of God, the power
of truth will push that thing off, and the Lord will have
a healthy body. My burden is that these precious members of
the Body of Christ will receive instruction, vision, strength;
the culture of the Spirit, pushing aside all the old patterns
I have been two years now clearing up some of my thoughts
on the Kingdom. I thought I knew about the Kingdom, but after
50 years of real intensive study, I find that I do not know
quite as much as I thought I did. Why? As I study; as I move
in God and allow the Spirit effect me, I am beginning to understand
truth from His perspective.
In the Word of God, nothing is accidental or occasional.
Every story, every conversation, every dramatic moving of
a nation, a person, or a group, is a dramatic picture highly
charged with profound and wonderful spiritual reality. But
it is veiled under surface pictures, such as the story of
a wedding feast. It is not there just because it makes a pleasing
story. It is given with all his dramatic covering because
within it is a rich truth that is seeking to penetrate through
Always remember that the truth is an invisible, extract bit
of reality. I had been reading one time and came to the passage
where Jesus expressed what His Word really was. He had been
working miracles as a symbol lesson to explain, or prove what
He had been telling them. Finally, He said, "The eternal
Word of God, this flash of reality that radiates and moves
through me to this darkened world, this Word is Spirit and
it is Life."
Jesus did not hold up his Bible and say, "This is the
Word." Rather He said, I will call upon every feature
in creation and use these within the written Word in most
peculiar ways, that SPIRIT and LIFE may vibrate and strike
your heart. The "Letter of the Word" killeth. But
the eternal Spirit of God, The Voice who said, "Let there
be light," will quicken and move through these Bible
texts until they begin to speak and move within our heart."
Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are
spirit, and they are life" John 6:63. They will push
heir way through this phenomenal thing we call the Bible,
and then they will speak.
Jesus had to correct the Scribes who were reading the law.
While they were reading one day, Jesus came and said to them
"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have
eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye
will not come to me, that ye might have life" John 5:39-40.
Jesus, within whom dwelt all truth, stood unrecognized among
these scribes as they read a scroll that was written about
Him. They were unable to see beyond the letter of the Word.
When I read, I find so many wonderful things hidden away
within the Word. I feel Spirit and Life penetrating, pushing
through these stories. They are beautiful, fascinating, but
we are not to rest there. Always know that every word is inspired,
every word is carefully put where it is. Even the conversations
have been arranged by God. God put it in the original as He
wanted it. Never disturb this arrangement. If you do not understand
it, leave it as it is, and someday you may.
Consider the marriage supper as recorded in Scripture. This
tells the story of Jesus in His first miracle. He is going
to express a profound teaching that will last us for two thousand
years. This is not just a story. It is Spirit and Life seeking
to find a vehicle of expression. Mary takes the initiative.
It isn't her business, but she presumes. How does Jesus speak?
"Now mother be quiet." No! "Woman what have
I to do with thee." Why didn't He say, "Mother?"
He couldn't possibly have said mother here. Why? Because He
is giving us a dramatic picture of spiritual reality which
would be absolutely ruined if He had said "mother."
He said "woman." Each word in a story is precise,
and is where it is for a reason.
The Word of God is in essence spirit; it is life. It can
only come through the medium which the Lord has given, the
written Word. If we only see it as the letter of the Word,
it will slay us. But, if we allow the Spirit and Life that
seeks its expression through the letter of the Word to penetrate
out into our being, we shall live.