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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: God Has Spoken to Us

Don Stewart :: Are All Parts of the Bible Special Revelation?

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Are All Parts of the Bible Special Revelation?

God Has Spoken to Us – Question 15

No. Although it is correct to call the Bible “special revelation” we must recognize that God has not directly revealed everything contained in the Bible. There are parts of the Scriptures that are historical in nature. The events are recorded by authors who were either eyewitnesses or who recorded eyewitness testimony.

In addition, the human authors, at times, involved themselves in historical research before they undertook to write their books.

The following points need to be made:

1. Some Parts of Scripture Could Have Only Come from Special Revelation

While certain parts of Scripture came as a result of historical research, or observation of events, there were other parts that could only come through divine revelation.

The Genesis Creation Account

This is particularly true of the creation account in the Book of Genesis. According to Genesis chapter one, God did not create any human beings until the sixth day of creation. The Bible says,

And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:23-26 NIV)

During the previous five days, there were no human observers to record the events. Obviously, God had to reveal to humanity everything that occurred during those five days.

The Scenes in Heaven Can Only Be Known through Special Revelation

When the Bible describes scenes in heaven this can only be known as a result of special revelation. It is not possible for any human observer to witness and record any event that occurs in this realm. For example, we read the following in the first chapter of the Book of Job:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” (Job 1:6, 7 ESV)

Obviously, it was only by special revelation that this episode could be made known to us.

2. Other Parts of Scripture Are Not Special Revelation

There are parts of Scripture that did not come about through special revelation. They include the following:

Luke Did Historical Research

Luke tells us that his gospel was written after he did historical research. He begins his work by stating the following:

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. (Luke 1:1-4 NRSV)

His gospel is the result of first-hand research—not divine revelation. However, what he wrote was true in all of its details because it was supervised by the Holy Spirit.

The Writer, or Writers, of Chronicles Used Sources

The writer, or writers, of First and Second Chronicles also used sources. Some of these sources are named within these books. They include: the Chronicles of King David, The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah, the writings of Samuel the Seer, Nathan the Prophet, Gad the Seer, Iddo the Seer, Isaiah the Prophet, and the Chronicles of the Seer. These works were consulted when compiling the record that became part of Holy Scripture.

The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke Were Based upon Research

The genealogies that are found in the gospel of Matthew, and the gospel of Luke, were also a result of researching records that existed in the first century.

Thus, there was no special revelation involved in compiling the record of the ancestors of Jesus.

Therefore, while it is correct to say that all parts of Scripture were written by divine inspiration, with God supervising the details, not all parts were specially revealed.

Summary – Question 15
Are All Parts of the Bible Special Revelation?

There are parts of Scripture that could have only come from God’s special revelation.

For example, the account of the creation of the universe and of Adam and Eve had to be divinely revealed by God seeing that no human observer was around to witness these events. This is also true of scenes that occurred in heaven.

While Scripture is entirely God’s Word to humanity, not all Scripture is divine revelation. There are parts of Scripture that are the result of historical research. This includes the writing of Luke’s gospel, the sources used by the writer of First and Second Chronicles, as well as the genealogies found in Matthew and Luke.

God divinely guided the composition of these books, but He did not specially reveal the facts found in them.

Thus, the Bible consists of two kinds of material—special revelation and known facts.

What Is Special Revelation? ← Prior Section
What Does Special Revelation Do? Next Section →
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