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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Is Special Revelation?

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Don Stewart

Humanity needs to be able to correctly interpret the truths that God has revealed by means of general revelation. In addition, these truths are limited. Therefore, humanity desperately needs God's special or supernatural revelation.

Special Revelation Defined

Special revelation can be defined as a supernatural communication from God that has been given to humanity. This communication can come in either oral or in written form. The truths revealed by special revelation could not be known through looking at unwritten tradition, nature, providence, history, our conscience, or any by reasoning process. God must reveal directly them to us.

In the past, special revelation came to specific people at specific times and in specific places. These acts of special revelation can now be found in only one place - the Bible.

There Are Three Parts To Special Revelation God revealed Himself at different times, in different ways, and to different people. The writer to the Hebrews says.
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by the Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds (Hebrews 1:1-2).
God revealed Himself at specific times in the past. At those specific times, God revealed Himself in a number of different ways. Finally, He revealed Himself to a number of different people. The Bible Completes The Revelation God has partially revealed Himself in nature but He has more fully revealed Himself in the written Word, the Bible. The various ways in which God has made Himself known to humanity have been documented and recorded in the Bible. In the Bible, God has not told us everything we could know about Himself-only everything we need to know. The Bible Is Both The Record And The Explanation Scripture is both a record of past events and the divine explanation of them. For example, Paul says.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Here we have a good example of both history and revelation in the same verse. The fact that Jesus Christ died is an historical event. Divine revelation is not necessary to tell us that. However, the meaning of Christ's death - that He died for the sins of the world - can only be known through divine revelation. No amount of historical research or investigation can tell us this. Historical events are not divine revelation. However the interpretation of these events must come from God Himself and therefore become special revelation. Special revelation includes all ways in which God has revealed Himself to humankind. It includes both the event and its interpretation. Other Observations About Special Revelation There are a number of other observations that can be made about special revelation. 1. Special Revelation Is Accurate The revelation of God to humanity is accurate. Jesus acknowledged this in His prayer to God the Father.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17).
It is the consistent testimony of the Bible that everything is truthfully recorded. 2. Special Revelation Is Progressive God's revelation to humanity was done in a progressive manner.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways (Hebrews 1:1).
God did not reveal everything to humanity at once. Rather He did it over a long period of time to various people in a variety of methods.

3. Special Revelation Has A Purpose

God's revelation to humanity has a purpose. Paul wrote to Timothy.

And how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Scripture was written to make its readers understand the salvation that God has provided.

4. Special Revelation Is Sufficient

The Bible is God's revelation of Himself to humanity. There are, however, some things that He did not choose to reveal.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever, to observe all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29).

5. Everything In Scripture Carries God Divine Authoritative

Although God chose to reveal His truth to humanity by a number of different methods, every verse of Scripture carries the same divine authority - no matter how the truth was communicated. Jesus said.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:17,18)


General Revelation tells us that God exists but it does not tell us enough information about Him. For this we need special revelation. It provides us with the specifics about Him so that we can know who He is and what He wants from us. God has revealed Himself in special ways at different times, through different means, and through different people. Special revelation completes the revelation of God to humanity. It records the events and then explains them. The result is that special revelation is accurate, progressive, has a purpose, is complete, and is fully authoritative.

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