Theology Ditty 4: “How is the Bible Special Revelation?”

Well, shiny things distracted! Between mid-terms, my teaching schedule, getting laryngitis (twice!) and finals, I have been elsewhere than blogspace. My apologies — now that school has wound down, I will again try to post at least every other week (so embarrassing when people ask when I’ll post again!) In future events, once I get it revised, I will post a link to my theology paper, “The Trinity and the Gender of the Pastor”

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The Bible is special revelation in two senses: it is revealed in a manner unique to the human understanding and it is revealed in a manner unique in the human experience. That it utilizes language, unlike general or natural revelation, means that it can only be engaged at the human level, by means of our consciousness and intellect. That it involves relationship with God means that it is tailored to our place in creation as His images.

Beyond the mere fact that words and language were utilized to bring us special revelation, the ideas that expand and expound upon what is seen and understood (Romans 1:19,20) are best explained and presented in language. Think only of the difficulty of our attempts to transmit the Word and the truth of the gospel across linguistic and cultural barriers, where we lack the words or even the common framework of ideas to address even the simplest and most obvious aspect of the human need for Christ. That the gospel, and God’s progressive plan of history, is logical and easily discerned in His Word testifies to the idea that the advent of language and culture have enabled the transcendent God to reach finite mankind.

The Bible is also special revelation at a more personal level: it speaks to me individually even when it uses corporate terms. The truth of the gospel is not merely an intellectual proof or logical system. It is also a deeper, emotional and spiritual fulfillment, a completion and expansion of who I am and what I desire to be. The communion with the Father through the Son by means of the Spirit brings me into a community of love in the spiritual sense while I am brought into fellowship with a community of faith and hope in this physical realm. The Scripture speaks to me, to my condition, to my needs, hurts, and longings and it does so for all who have been enlightened by the Spirit’s power.

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