In other words, revelation is a verbal activity, in the sense that “God has communicated with
The fact that revelation is verbal does not mean that knowing God is simply a matter of
Again, “all history is, in one sense, God’s deed, but none of it reveals Him except in so far as He Himself talks to us about it. God’s revelation is not through deeds without words (a dumb charade!) any more than it is through words without deeds; but it is through deeds which He speaks to interpret, or, putting it more biblically, through words which His deeds confirm and
“For no public historical happening, as such (an exodus, a conquest, a captivity, a crucifixion, an empty tomb), can reveal God apart from an accompanying word from God to explain it, or a prior promise which it is seen to confirm or
The notion of propositional revelation in no way denies the revelatory activity of God in events, personal encounters, or in the dynamic and relational ways whereby he engages his people and makes himself immediately and experientially known to them. We read in Hebrews 1:1 that “long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.” The “many ways” in which God “revealed” himself personally included theophanies, angelic visitations, an audible voice from heaven, visions, dreams, supernatural writing, inward impressions, natural phenomena, etc. But in each of these
In other words, whereas not every statement or revelatory deed comes to us in strict propositional form, all do in fact presuppose a proposition on the basis of which a truth claim about the nature of reality is being made.
Another characteristic of revelation is that it is progressive, i.e., cumulative. God has not revealed himself comprehensively at any one stage in history or in any one event. Revelation is a series of divine disclosures, each of which builds upon and unpacks or unfolds that which preceded it. Revelation moves from what is piecemeal and partial and incomplete (but always accurate) to what is comprehensive and final and unified. This contrast between the incomplete and complete, between the partial and the full, is not a contrast between false and true, inaccurate and accurate, but a contrast between shadow and substance, between type and antitype, between promise and
Inspiration, on the other hand, was the related process whereby God preserved the biblical authors from error when communicating, whether by his voice or in writing, that which he had shown them. The Holy Spirit superintended the writing of Scripture, that is to say, he acted to
The doctrine of verbal, plenary (i.e., complete, total) inspiration means that the words of the Bible are the words of God. This doesn’t mean that God spoke every word himself, but that the words spoken by the authors of Scripture are the words that God desired them to speak in the revelation of himself.
Thus there is no significant difference between the ultimate authority of God and the immediate authority of Scripture. “The authority of Scripture is the divine authority of God Himself speaking” (96). Some argue that one cannot stand under the authority of the living Word, Jesus Christ, and at the same time stand under the authority of the written Word, the Bible. This is a false antithesis. Jesus Christ is the
This article was written by Sam Storms and originally appeared at his blog. Find it here.