What Does Romans 8:16 Mean?

By David J. Stewart | March 2015

Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

       What does the Bible means by saying that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God? Well, keep in mind that the Bible says God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son...” So God speaks to us both through His Word and through the Holy Spirit which indwells every believer's body (1st Corinthians 3:16-17). Please understand that the Holy Spirit never speaks to us contrary to the Holy Scriptures.

For example: Kindly, I once heard a young woman say that she was auditioning for the ninth time to join the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. She said she knew it was God's will to join the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and she wanted everyone's prayers. May I say, that little slut is a liar! God's Holy Spirit is holy and would never lead a young woman to wickedly expose her thighs in public. Those Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are a bunch of bimbo whores, exposing their buttocks, thighs and breasts for ungodly men to lust upon. They are infamous for their lewd calendars. Many of the Dall Cowboy Cheerleaders have sinfully done spreads in Playboy's smut magazines. They are filthy whores!!!

Jesus said in John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Notice carefully that Jesus said to “SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES,” so that we could know we have eternal life. Thus, our text verse from Romans 8:16 makes perfect sense when cross-referenced with this Scripture. The indwelling Holy Spirit testifies with our human spirit that we are saved (if you really are saved), and He testifies in agreement with the Words of God in the Holy Bible. The “Comforter” (as the Holy Spirit is called in John 14:16, 26; 15:26 and 16:7) comforts our soul that we are saved by reminding us of Scriptures, and teaching us. John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

Somebody recently asked me, “How can you know when it is the Holy Spirit talking to you?” I shared these Scriptures with them and explained that the Bible says God speaks to us in these last days through His Son. Jesus is the Living Word and the Bible is the Written Word. Jesus commands us as believers to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES (John 5:39), because they testify of Him, and it is through the Scriptures that we know we are saved (1st John 5:13).

I think it would be a theological mistake to say that the Spirit in Romans 8:16 would bear witness to a believer without including the inspired Words of God. How else could you know if it was genuinely the Holy Spirit or a different spirit? How could you tell? What if it was a demonic (or familiar) spirit? The only way to know for sure is by SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES as Jesus commanded. Since God said that He speaks to us through His Son, Who is the Word of God (John 1:1-3, 14; Revelation 19:13), then we should always expect the Holy Spirit to guide us with the Word of God. I am not saying that the Holy Spirit speaking to us is the same as the Bible speaking to us. The Bible is the Bible, and the Spirit is the Spirit, but they ALWAYS work together.

So I believe that when Romans 8:16 says that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are saved, He always does so through the Scriptures. If that were not true, then how else could we really know that it is the Holy Spirit? This is why God gave us the Scriptures, as Jesus taught in John 5:39, so that we could think that we have eternal life. The indwelling Holy Spirit has beared witness that I am God's child since I got saved at age 13, but He has always used the promises in God's Word to do so.

I wrote this article to answer the question of how to know if it is the Holy Spirit speaking to you? The only way to know for sure is by SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES as Jesus taught us.

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(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)

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