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Don Stewart :: Is There a Difference between Revelation and Divine Inspiration?

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Don Stewart
Yes. Although the terms are often used synonymously there are differences between the two concepts. Revelation means, "God disclosing to humanity truths they would not otherwise know" - human beings could not find out these truths for themselves. Divine inspiration means that God preserved the writers from recording error when they wrote the various parts of Scripture. All things they recorded are accurate. The words were actually said, and the events actually happened. Revelation, therefore, is concerned with the giving of truth while divine inspiration refers to the recording of truth. Divine Revelation Does Not Always Imply Divine Inspiration

Divine inspiration does not always imply revelation. For example, Moses was divinely inspired by God to record events that he himself witnessed. These events were the actual source of his knowledge on the subject. The subject matter was not beyond human knowledge but was there for any observer to record.

There Are Lies Recorded In The Divine Record

We also have to distinguish between certain words of Scripture and the faithful recording of them. There are statements in the Bible that are lies. Yet the lies are correctly recorded. The statements are not given by divine revelation. The devil was certainly not speaking for God when he made the various statements recorded in Scripture. Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Yet the Devil's words are part of Scripture.

Revelation Sometimes Refers To Illumination

In the New Testament the word translated, "revelation" sometimes refers to illumination.

Paul wrote.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:17,18).

Revelation, in this context, refers to what we call illumination - the ability to understand the truths that God has already revealed. Human beings are not able to impart divine revelation; they are only able to receive it. In addition, all believers do not receive supernatural revelation to impart to others. That was granted only to a special few.

Summary

Divine inspiration and revelation are not synonymous terms. Revelation is God disclosing truth to humankind that we would not otherwise know. Divine inspiration deals with the recording of God's Word - it does not always imply revelation.

Statements recorded in Scripture are divinely inspired in the sense they are the things that God wanted revealed to humanity. However not everything found in Scripture is divine revelation neither is everything found in the Scripture true. There are things in Scripture that any observer could record. However, what they could not record was the divine explanation of the event. Scripture correctly records what occurred - this includes misstatements and lies. What is assured with divine inspiration is that each event and saying is accurately recorded.

Revelation can refer to what we call illumination - the ability to understand what God has revealed in His Word. Divine revelation has been given to very few people while all believers are able to receive God's illumination.
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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