ESSENTIAL TRUTHS - SPECIAL REVELATION
Theologians have called God’s words - spoken at first and later written down - His special revelation. God has not only created us and all of the magnificent universe, but He has also revealed Himself to us and desires that we know Him personally.
God’s revealing of Himself to us is usually broken down into two types: general and special revelation. General revelation is His works of creation and providence, and is in a word, general. As the psalmist writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). Special revelation refers to God’s more specific, detailed and extensive revelation to us - God’s Word. Historically, the Christian church has affirmed that the Bible is the vox Dei, the “voice of God” or the verbum Dei, the “Word of God”. The Christian church also recognizes that the Bible is a collection of books written by many human authors.
The Bible itself calls attention to its human authors, and each human author has his own particular literary style, vocabulary, perspective etc. If the Bible was produced by human authors, how can it be regarded as the Word of God? The Bible is regarded as the Word of God because the human writers did not merely write their own thoughts, but their words were inspired by God. God was the ultimate source of Scripture. This is why the prophets often prefaced their words by saying, “Thus says the Lord.” Paul explains that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). From the original Greek, the word inspiration can be more directly translated as “God-breathed”. God superintended the production of Scripture. The Holy Spirit guided the human authors, not that He dictated His message, but rather He communicated through the human writers the very words of God. From the standpoint that God is the ultimate author of the Bible, Christians affirm that the Bible is infallible and inerrant.
Any literary product normally produced by humans is liable to error. However, the Bible is not a normal human piece of literature. It is inspired and superintended by God. This does not mean that the Bible translations we have today are without error, but that the original manuscripts were absolutely correct. Care also needs to be taken in understanding the specific purpose and literary type for every statement. As an example, Ecclesiastes contains some statements from the standpoint of human despair that are false out of their specific context. In the case of Ecclesiastes, in revealing the false reasonings of a despairing man, the Bible speaks truth about man’s need for God. It is a wonderful privilege to possess the special revelation of God in the Bible.
The Bible reveals to us His character so that we may better understand general revelation, and it also explains our desperate need for salvation from sin. God gave His only Son so that we could be free from the penalty of sin and be made Holy in His sight. The revelation of God’s love and saving grace
offered to sinners is His beautiful Word that must be shared with joy to others.
For more information see: Essential Truths