Can the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit take place apart from the Word? I think not! Regeneration depends upon receiving the Word from the scriptures and giving it moral application in our lives; it is in our moral response that we are either being regenerated or not.
So the work of the Holy Spirit is to do with the Word; the gifts of prophecy, of tongues, of exhortation; these are to do with the Word; the teaching, guiding, declaring what is to come, bringing to our memory all that Jesus said; these are all to do with the Word.
Jesus said that He would ask the Father and the Father would send another helper – or Paraclete, meaning one called alongside. This was necessary because Jesus, in His humanity, was limited by time and space; He could only minister to those immediately about Him. But the Holy Spirit is the eternal spirit of God, and He is not limited by carnality; He is omnipresent and can minister to every one born again everywhere at the same time.
He will minister just as Jesus did. Jesus was the Word of God that became flesh; He brought the Word of God to a people for whom the word had become lifeless and cold. The Holy Spirit will do the same; He will bring life to the logos and turn it into the rhema – the living word by which we are meant to live.
You can hardly have fellowship with the Spirit unless you have large chunks of the Word inside you, placed there by memorization and this is what is meant by eating the Word. In the prophetic scriptures, there are many references to eating the Word;
“Thy words were found and I ate them, And Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts” Jeremiah 15:16).
In Ezekiel 3:3 we also see the prophet ordered to eat the scroll of the word; and it was sweet as honey.
Again, Jesus used the same metaphor when He said;
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves” (John 6:53). The flesh of the Son of Man is the Word of God which became flesh in that same Son of Man.
You cannot separate the work of the Spirit from the Word; The Spirit cannot work outside the Word; He has no authority; His role is authorised in the Word and He abides by the limitations imposed upon Him in the same way that Jesus abided by the limitations of His carnality. His work must conform to the Word; He is the “other Paraclete” who replaces the Word that became flesh so He is not going to do anything that Jesus did not do; the difference in the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the Spirit is the limitations under which they function; Jesus was limited to what the Father told Him and the Spirit is limited by the authority of the Word. The main difference is that the Spirit is not limited by carnality and so His omnipresence allows Him to be working universally and concurrently, wherever there are born again people of God.