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

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Don Stewart

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. The human authors at times involved themselves in historical research before they undertook to write their books.

Luke Did Historical Research

For example, Luke tells us that his gospel was written after historical research.

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).

His gospel is the result of first-hand research - not divine revelation.

The Writer 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. There was no special revelation involved in compiling the ancestors of Jesus.

Some Parts Are Special Revelation Alone

While certain parts of Scripture came as a result of historical research there were other parts that could only come through divine revelation. This is particularly true of the creation account in the Book of Genesis. According to Genesis chapter 1, God did not create any human beings until the sixth day of creation.

And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." (Genesis 1:23-26)

During the previous five days there were no human observers to record the events. Obviously God had to reveal to humanity all 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.
Summary

Scripture is entirely God's Word to humanity but 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 did not specially reveal the facts found in them.

There are other parts of Scripture that could have only come from God's special revelation. The account creation of the universe and humankind 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.

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

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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