“Inspiration & Revelation”
Part Two of A Living Book Series
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
What is inspiration? Simply, God’s breath upon His book. The Bible is God’s inspiration. It is God breathed. Without God’s inspiration, the Bible could not be called the Bible. Inspiration is the basis of the Bible. It was through God’s inspiration, His breath, that Paul wrote Romans.
What is revelation? It is God’s breathing upon the book of Romans once again, 2000 years later. Through revelation we touch God’s original inspiration. Inspiration is a once-for-all event, but revelation is a repeated experience. When God breathes His breath afresh upon His word today, we see what Paul saw yesterday - we have revelation. Revelation means that God is reviving today what He once gave through His inspiration.
God’s Spirit revives His word in such a way that it becomes as living as when it was first written. When God wrote Romans through Paul, God’s life was vibrant in both the writer and the writing. Today that life can be released once again. God can fill His word with the Holy Spirit once again. And when this happens, the word becomes as powerful, enlightening, and life-giving as it was at the first. This is revelation. Without revelation it is useless to merely study the Bible. Without revelation, we can study the Bible from the first page to the last without hearing a single word from God. Yes, the Bible is the word of God. At one time God spoke those words. But if you want those words to be God’s words today, you have to ask God to speak, to refresh those words through His Holy Spirit once again. His refreshing, His revelation, will bring His words to life again. Without revelation, the Bible remains a closed book.
Picture a man preaching God’s word. Suddenly, God begins speaking through him. Now, not everyone will hear God’s word. Everyone will hear the sound and the words, and some will hear God’s speaking, but others won’t. Some will hear the doctrine, the truth, the message conveyed through the sounds and the words. Some may be able to recite those words over and over, but they may not have heard God’s speaking at all. God’s word is not just a doctrine or a teaching. Of course we need to hear doctrine and teaching, but we also need to hear something else. We need to hear God’s personal speaking also. Then and only then can we say, “I’ve heard Your word Lord.” Only then have we touched something Real. And that Real has touches us.
Suppose that same man is preaching the gospel to one-hundred people. Ninety-nine may hear and understand the doctrine and the truth. They may nod their heads and say, “Amen.” All ninety-nine may know and hear these things, but it is possible that only one of the hundred, the one apart from the ninety-nine, receives a teaching beyond the teaching that the others receive, hears a voice beyond the voice the others hear, and grasps a word beyond the word the others grasp. This one hears God’s speaking in addition to hearing the preacher, and he bows his head and confesses, “I’m a sinner. O God, save me.” Such a man has heard God’s word. The ninety-nine may have only touched things related to the human and physical aspect of the word, and as a consequence, not heard God’s word. There is a fundamental difference between the two.
The same is true when reading the Bible. The Bible is God’s word. At one time God spoke to Paul, Peter, John, et alii . . . But God’s word is more than just words, expressions, doctrines, truths, and teachings on a page. It is God’s speaking in addition to man’s speaking. One is the realm of doctrines, truths, teachings, language, and expressions. In this realm anyone who is diligent and intelligent, who has a good mind and a sharp memory, can get by pretty well. But in the other realm, God has to reiterate His word to men. This is revelation. Do we know the difference? God spoke, and His words are recorded verbatim in the Bible. But God can, and must speak to us a second time through the written words of His Bible. This is God’s speaking today. Afresh. This is revelation. God must speak to us again, through the same words He once spoke. He must enlighten us. He must grant us fresh revelation from within His established inspiration.
Many of us have been used by God to speak for Him. Nothing dramatic, just a fruitful word to a fellow’s need. A couple of months may go by and we encounter a similar situation. Now, we may think that what we said before is appropriate for this similar situation today, so we repeat the same words and guess what . . . they fall flat. But why? Because there was no revelation, no refreshing from the Holy Spirit -even though we said the same words. God’s revelation brings forth fruit. We need to recognize the distinction.
We can repeat God’s word, but we cannot repeat God’s revelation. Revelation is in God’s hand. A man may come to us today. If we speak John 3:16, he may readily confess that he’s a sinner and believe. A little later another man may come along. We may be in the same room and quote the same John 3:16, but the Holy Spirit may not speak, and the second man may not believe. John 3:16 has not changed. The seeming contradiction is whether or not the revelation of the Holy Spirit was present in our speaking - not God’s inspiration.
It’s not how much of the Scriptures we understand, or how many verses we can quote. We need another ingredient. We need revelation. Without God’s revelation, God’s inspiration will have little, or no effect.
(next - Part 3: A Living, Organic Whole)
A Living Book (Part Two: “Inspiration & Revelation”)
Published 23 August 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published 11 August 2011 in the FAITH Column of The County Journal.
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