THE BIBLE - FROM GOD TO MAN
The Process Of Revelation
"Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89).
"What is God like?" If I ask that question to ten different people, what answers will I receive? Many people seem to think that if they are going to come to know God, then they must search for Him and find Him, as though He were hiding somewhere.
This process is attempted through a variety of means. What are some of the ways?
God has spoken. This is the unique truth of Christianity. How has He spoken? It has been through His Word - the Bible. This has involved a progression of Revelation. By this, I refer to a deliberate, step-by-step process by which God has made His will and His truths and His message known to man.
We begin with a thought in the mind of God. God has knowledge that He wishes to impart to man. I suppose that it would have been possible for God to take that knowledge and somehow "plug it" into the minds of all people. But instead, He chose to reveal Himself only to a few. These were designated as "prophets."
God, after He spoke long ago to the father in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son... (Hebrews 1:1-2a).
Not all of this revelation took place at the same time. And not all of it was accomplished in the same manner.
But in each case, God communicated His message to them, transforming it into a series of thoughts in the minds of the human authors of Scripture. This process is known as REVELATION.
The human authors of the Bible took the thoughts that God had given them and wrote them out, using their own languages and vocabularies.
God supervised this work so that His complete, infallible and inerrant Word was recorded. This is the doctrine of INSPIRATION.
3. Textual Criticism.
Over a process of time, multiple copies were made of these original manuscripts. While the original manuscripts were without error, these copies were not. Small mistakes crept into the various copies.
The study of these various copies in order to determine the correct reading of the original manuscripts is called TEXTUAL CRITICISM.
After a time, the various books of the Bible were collected together into a single volume of books. This collection was occasionally the subject of some controversy as people sought to determine which of the writings were to be considered as authoritative. The is the study of CANONICITY.
The complete Hebrew and Greek Bible has been translated and retranslated into various languages and dialects. It is because of this that we have the Bible in our own language.
This is the science of TRANSLATION.
6. Illumination and Hermeneutics.
As the believer reads and studies the Bible, its truths are transformed into thoughts and ideas within his mind.
This is not a simple intellectual exercise. It comes both through the ILLUMINATION of the Holy Spirit and through the use of sound HERMENEUTICS on the part of the reader.
This thought in the mind of the believer has not accomplished its purpose until it is transformed into a corresponding action in his life.
Thus, we can see that the end goal of Godís communication to man is to bring about a change in our lives.
We do not study the Bible as a mere academic exercise.
We study it because it brings us to the knowledge of God and because we respond by obeying Him.
The purpose of this series of lessons will be to follow this seven-fold progression of revelation, to see how God has made His message known and how He has brought it to us so that we can know Him.