I. God’s Gracious Revelation
Unless God chooses to graciously reveal himself and his ways, men have no ability to acquire the truth regarding God’s person and will. Without such gracious revelation, men are left to their own guesses, imaginations, preferences, and superstitions. However, there is good news – God has graciously chosen to reveal much regarding himself, his thoughts, will, actions, and future plans. He has done so through nature and conscience. He has also done so through his prophets and their writings.
II. God’s General Revelation
God’s General Revelation is Communicated through Nature
God’s general revelation comes man’s way by means of science or the light of nature. As men consider the immensity, complexity, beauty, and order of the universe; it screams. “Intentional design!” Yes, the universe communicates knowable truth regarding the preexistent, powerful, creative, and organized First Cause.
God’s General Revelation is Communicated through the Conscience
God’s general revelation is received by means of man’s conscience. Within each person, an internal, default, moral code is found. All people possess categories of right and wrong which have been engraved upon their hearts; this cannot be denied. Consequently, all men find themselves wrestling with thoughts of judgment and eternal life. All men have spiritual thoughts welling up within. It is for this reason that all societies engage in religious rites or activities.
God’s General Revelation is Insufficient
God’s general revelation is general in both content and recipients. It presents general truths about God and is given in some form to God’s general audience – all humanity. While general revelation is sufficient to teach general truths about God, it is not sufficient to teach how one can be worship rightly and be reconciled to God. Therefore, God has been pleased to communicate to via special revelation.
III. God’s Special Revelation
God’s Special Revelation is Communicated through Various Means
God’s special revelation has been communicated to men at various times and in many different ways. These ways include divine appearances, angels, animals, stars, rainbows, dreams, handwriting on walls, visions, voices, sermons, and prophetic pronouncements.
God’s Special Revelation is Communicated in the Written Word
God’s special revelation has ultimately been presented in written form. We call the compilation of his writings the Scripture, the Word of God, or the Holy Bible, and it is the summation of all God has spoken in former days.
God’s Written Revelation is Inspired
God’s special revelation in written form did not come by means of dictation. God inspired or supernaturally “breathed upon” men and their writings. The result was that their natural, human words became his supernatural, inerrant, divine words.
God’s Written Revelation is Inerrant
God’s special revelation in written form has been sovereignly safeguarded by him. Because he has providentially provided his divinely inspired words, God’s words are true and inerrant.
God’s Written Revelation is Canonized
Over the centuries, God has guided his people in the discovery and collection of his inspired texts. This process is called canonicity. God’s writings have been organized in 66 books which make up our Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament contains 39 books written largely in Hebrew. The New Testament is written primarily in Greek and is composed of 27 books. It is God who has overseen this canon of Scripture, and it is complete. Nothing is to be taken away or added – regardless of its origin.
God’s Written Revelation is Infallible
The Bible is infallible. Throughout the ages, God has supernaturally safeguarded his Word from defilement or destruction. Consequently, we have God’s transcultural revelation that continues to stand the test of time. A fundamental rule of interpretation is this: clearer passages must be used to help us interpret unclear passages.
God’s Written Revelation is Sufficient
God’s Word is sufficient. By this, we mean we have in one resource all that is necessary for salvation and worship. Consequently, we are free from the traditions, commandments, and doctrines of men which are not found in God’s Word.
God’s Written Revelation is Authoritative
Because the words of Scripture are the very words of God, they are to be believed and obeyed; they are authoritative. Therefore, Scripture alone is the ultimate judge over all traditions, interpretations, creeds, councils, traditions, and spiritual impressions.
God’s Written Revelation is Accessible
God has communicated his will in words that can be understood by the simplest of men and women who are filled with the Holy Spirit. All of us, in Christ, can read and understand the elementary and essential truths of God. The theological term for this is perspicuity.
God’s Written Revelation is to be Translated
For this reason that the Scripture is to be translated into the language of every people group. Third, since Scripture is a unified collection of God’s thoughts, and since God is its primary author, it must be interpreted consistently and without contradiction.
IV. God’s Suppressed Revelation
Finally, while there are many internal and external proofs that give evidence to the divine nature of scripture, it is only the Holy Spirit that brings about persuasion. The same Word that is delightful and followed by some, it is disbelieved and discarded by others.