The Bible an Inspired Revelation from God

(from Lesson 2 of God's Plan for Man)

Christianity claims to be a revealed religion. The record of that revelation is contained in the Sacred Scriptures. Note the following points:

1. REASONS MAN CAN EXPECT A REVELATION FROM GOD. Man's intellectual and moral nature requires a revelation from God. Such will help him preserve and insure the moral and spiritual progress he needs to attain and the higher nature that he cannot hope to reach unaided. There is within man's moral makeup an intuition, a reason, and a hunger for the supernatural and the knowledge of things unrevealed. And as nothing in nature exists without a purpose, these natural cravings must be satisfied. The only way these natural desires of man can be met is by means of a supernatural revelation and manifestation, leading man to the desired end of his creative makeup. Thus, only a revelation of things to come beyond this life can fully satisfy the natural demands of man's nature.
All history testifies to the fact that in those nations where the Bible revelation is not known, there is a very low standard of living. Because of such imperfect knowledge, man's actual condition has been that of moral depravity, and utter helplessness to cope with the evil forces and the higher demands of nature.
What we know of God through nature gives us grounds to know that this lack in human life has been met by a supernatural revelation to supply this need. It is only right to believe that since God made man a moral and spiritual being, for spiritual ends, He also supplied the means to attain these ends. It is not natural or reasonable from any standpoint to believe that the Creator would leave His creation in such an imperfect state by creating within man this longing for the unknown, without meeting his needs with a divine supply. At the same time, both conscience and reason affirm that man is a sinner and merits condemnation. But he cannot from reason alone know that God will be merciful and save him. His doubts can be removed only by God's own word to him. This requires a divine revelation.

2. WHAT MAN MAY EXPECT OF A DIVINE REVELATION. Not only should man expect a revelation, but he may expect that a divine revelation would be in perfect harmony with, and supplementary to, nature. Those who are in any sense honest and rational concerning such proof may expect a revelation that is beyond all doubt from a supernatural source. They may expect this revelation to come through chosen vessels, and be preserved by divine power through the ages. They may further expect it to be attested by miraculous works, and prophetical utterances that have been fulfilled to the letter. All this is true of the Bible, as we shall see in proofs of inspiration below.

3. THE MEANING OF REVELATION. The word revelation is from the Greek apokalupsis, meaning to unveil, reveal, and uncover; or the lifting up of a curtain so that all may see alike what was previously veiled. There can be no excuse for different interpretations of the revelation of God of things that can be seen alike by all, if all will look at the same thing in the same way.
The revelation of God is simply the unveiling of facts and truths which man could not know of himself, but which are divinely revealed by the Spirit of God. About one fifth of the Bible is prophecy which requires a revelation. Then there are many other parts of the Bible as creation, Lucifer's reign, God's plan, and many things that had to be revealed before man could possibly know the facts about them. The history of the Bible did not have to be revealed, but it is as much inspired as the revealed part. Inspiration simply guarantees the true recording of facts as they happened, or as they are going to happen. The method of disclosure and the truth disclosed are alike called revelation (Eph. 3:3; Col. 1:26; Rev. 1:1; Rom. 16:25).

4. THE MEANING OF INSPIRATION. The Greek theopneustos literally means God-breathed. It is that special influence or power of the Holy Spirit upon the minds and in the lives of holy men, which qualified and enabled them to make an infallible record of divine truth concerning the will of God to man. Paul said, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [is God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:15-17). Peter said, "God hath spoken by the mouths of all his holy prophets since the world began" and that, "holy men of God spake as they were moved [borne along] by the Holy Ghost" (Acts 3:21; 2 Pet. 1:21).

5. THE PURPOSE OF INSPIRATION is to secure truth and unity in record and not conformity or sameness of statement. Inspiration has accomplished this beyond human comprehension, as proved in Point VII that follows shortly.

6. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REVELATION AND INSPIRATION. Revelation discovers new truth while inspiration superintends the communicating and recording of that truth. We have examples of inspiration without revelation (Luke 1:1-4); of inspiration including revelation (Rev. 1:1, 11); of inspiration without illumination (1 Pet. 1:11; 1 Cor. 14:13-19); and of revelation and inspiration including illumination (1 Cor. 2:12-16; 14:30).
We find lies of Satan and men, we find false statements; and we find murders, adulteries and many sins recorded in Scripture. Inspiration simply records the truth of what was said or done, and guarantees to us that Satan did lie, that what is written is actually what he said; but it does not change the lie to a truth. Inspiration records sins of men, but it does not sanction those sins as the will of God. The student of Scripture must keep in mind the difference between what Satan and men say, and what God actually says. God is responsible only for what He says, and what He inspires men to say. He is not responsible for what others say. All He is responsible for is the true record of what men and demons have said and done.

7. TO WHAT DEGREE WERE THE WRITERS OF THE BIBLE INSPIRED? Some words were the exact words of God (Exodus 32:16; Deut. 5:4,24; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28); some words were put into the mouths of the speakers who spoke as the Spirit inspired them (Exodus 4:12; Num. 23:5; Ezek. 2:7; 3:10-11: Acts 3:21); and some words were written as the writers were moved by the Spirit (Ex. 34:17; 2 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 1:11). In other parts of Scripture the speakers and writers were inspired to choose their own words in relating divine truth; or saying things that were later recorded by the Spirit through men (Dan. 12:8-9; John 20:30-31; Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-2). Regardless of the way the various passages were recorded it was by a full and plenary inspiration; that is, all of the Bible was inspired of God.
The Spirit used attention, reason, investigation, memory, logic, and all the faculties of the writers and speakers, in speaking and writing the divine record of things past, present, and future. He guided them to choose the material of others, spoken and written, such as imperial decrees, genealogies, letters, historical records, and whatever was necessary for the recording of truth. The Spirit worked in and through their own spirits, and preserved their individualities in their writings. The Bible is in truth the very Word of God in human language, and it should be understood on the same basis that we do other books in human language.