Okay! I've really been struggling with something lately and I was thinking maybe I could get some comments on this.
It seems that some believe that, in this day and age, God only speaks through His written word. Granted, I believe that the Bible is the inspired (God-breathed) Word of God written with the personalities of the authors who were supernaturally guided by the Holy Spirit. I also believe the Bible is true, but also has no errors. (All good Bible college stuff.)
While I believe all this, I also believe God speaks to our lives everyday through the Holy Spirit, through others, and through our circumstances. Yes, this leaves room for a lot of misunderstanding - and so God never contradicts His written Word. But, honestly, God's Word does not speak to every decision and experience that I have in my life.
For instance, should I sing at the local National Day of Prayer Breakfast? You could probably show me some scripture that indicates I should or shouldn't. Then given certain circumstances, I might be able to refute your answer with scripture as well. When I pray about this, will God answer me? and how?
Ultimately, I think the discussion is intimately linked with what we believe about the role of the Holy Spirit. Some seem to believe the only roles of the Spirit are to convict the sinner, indwell and seal the believer, and then provide spiritual gifts to each believer as He desires for the building up of the Body of Christ. While those are true, there is much more that we're mission of we only believe those things.
The Holy Spirit guides us, directs us, and comforts us for our daily life. The Bible itself, tells us that only the Spirit enables us to understand the scriptures. The Spirit intercedes for us in prayer as well. In my opinion, the Holy Spirit is the power of the believer to live the Christian life. Without the Spirit, we are hopeless. He takes on the main role in regenerating our lives, thoughts, and behaviors.
While all believers have the Holy Spirit living in them, we do not always surrender ourselves to Him, ultimately surrendering our will to the Father. That is what is meant by being filled with the Spirit - to die to self, continually.
So then, if this is true, how do we hear from God? It is only from reading His written word, or is there a larger picture? Are we denying the power of God and settling on just a form of godliness?