Is there a balance between the word and the spirit? We hear this idea a lot, just like we also hear about a balance of law and grace. I passionately reject any balance or mix of law and grace. Does this hold true with the word and the spirit? Not a few good spirit-filled men and women of God have written that we should make achieving such a balance a top priority in our Christian walk.

Is too much spirit possible? Should it be equated with emotionalism? Should the word be equated with deadness?

Is this even the right question?

Perhaps the word and the spirit are the same thing, for they come from the same God.

My experience is that those who are truly baptized in and filled with the Holy Spirit are also constantly in the scriptures. The Holy Spirit makes them alive. Jesus leaps out of every page. Notice that I said the scriptures, not the word.

The Bible does not refer to itself as the word. Neither should we.

The Word is Jesus, and exists eternally, from the beginning, with the Father.

A further note: paganism emphasizes balance. Good and evil, yin and yang, body and spirit. I think there is a caution in that. Is balance something we should seek? Do the scriptures anywhere say to balance the written word and the spirit? I can’t find any. The only juxtaposition is in Ephesians:

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

This is not balance, but instead this passage says they are the same.

Here’s an insight from Bill Johnson of Bethel Church: ‎”Balance” was never meant to describe that place between joy and depression, between zeal and apathy. It is a useful term only when it describes equal measures of right things, like passion for the Word and the Spirit, passion for character and power. (emphasis added) From Paul Ellis, reviewing Bill Johnson’s book, When Heaven Invades Earth:

Few of us will doubt that the Holy Spirit can do great things, even through us. So why doesn’t He? According to Johnson, the main cause of the problem is found between our ears. We emphasize understanding over belief, reason over faith. This is fatal.

Often we are more convinced of our unworthiness than we are of His worth, or our inability instead of His ability. “The mind makes a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

God will never contradict His Word, but God is bigger than His Word. If we try and chart our way based on our own understanding of the scriptures, we will find ourselves living under law. That’s what happens when you prioritize boundaries over relationship.

Jesus never said, “My sheep will know my book.” Under grace we don’t get a road map, but a tour guide – the Holy Spirit. I love the way Bill Johnson said it at the  Manifest Presence conference:

“It’s difficult to expect the same fruit of the early church when we value a book they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have. It’s not Father, Son and the Holy Bible. No, this is the word of God, but you’ve got to understand… it is the Spirit of God that makes it living.”

God is more eager to invade this world than we are to receive the invasion. We sit and think when we could be praying and acting. We warn each other about the sin of presumption, while God warns us of the sin of unbelief.

We strive for balance and control and end up with the order of the graveyard. All this happens because we submit the things of God to the mind of man, instead of the other way around.

What comes to mind is the passage in the book of Revelation:  Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

We are not to be mixed in our belief, as in mixing law and grace. Neither are we to leave our first love – which is the grace and truth that came by Jesus.

He is the Word, not the scripture. The scriptures tell of Him, but they do not contain all He is. He gives us the Holy Spirit without measure, and it abides. Can we balance scripture and spirit? Not really. And we certainly cannot balance Jesus and the Spirit. They are one.

What do we have then? Is the goal to balance the Word and the Spirit, as many say? No. They are intertwined. We dance with them.