Nature of Inspiration and Revelation
H. E. Phillips
"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21). There is no way that man can know the true and living God and his will by worldly wisdom. Many of those who sit in the chair of worldly wisdom, and pursue higher education as the number one priority, generally reject the revelation of God. Some of these show contempt for those who have a simple faith in the integrity and completeness of the Bible as verbally inspired by God.
All truth is in the mind of God. Truth is what God knows about anything and everything. We search for real truth when we search for that which is in the mind of God. How can I know what is in the mind of God? I cannot do so by comparing what I think with what I imagine God thinks. God is not a man (Num. 23:19). Gods thoughts and ways are not those of man. As the heavens are above the earth, so are Gods ways above mans ways and Gods thoughts above mans thoughts (Isa. 55:8,9).
The things revealed by God, bound and loosed on earth, must first be bound and loosed in heaven (Matt.16:19). That word that is first bound in heaven is also settled forever in heaven; no changes can be made in it (Psa. 119:89). The truth was sent down from heaven by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:12). Jesus said all revelation from heaven is from the Father himself (Jn. 12:49,50; 16:13). The Father has spoken only through his
Son in this dispensation (Heb. 1:1,2). Christ spoke to the apostles by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 17:6,14,26; 1 Cor. 2:16; Acts 1:1-3). And the Holy Spirit spoke only what he heard from Christ (Jn. 14:26; 16:13,14), and he gave the words to the apostles to ex-press the mind of God (Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 2:1-13; Eph. 3:3,9). The apostles wrote these words which we call the New Testament. Any tampering with these words will affect truth as it came from the mind of God. That is the nature of the revelation of God and the inspiration by which it was given to us.
Revelation and Inspiration
Henry Thayer defines revelation: "an uncovering; prop. a laying bare, making naked . . . a disclosure of truth, instruction, concerning divine things before unknown esp. those relating to Christian salvation given to the soul by God himself, or by the ascended Christ, esp. through the operation of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10)."
In reference to the Bible, revelation and inspiration are so related that any definition of these words must consider both together. Only God can "uncover" what is in his mind. He did so through Christ by the Holy Spirit unto the apostles. The method by which this revelation is made is called "inspiration" or "the breathed of God" (2 Tim. 3:16,17). "Revelation" is what is made known from the mind of God, and "Inspiration" is how God revealed it: by His words. The inspired apostle Paul said of the mystery received by the Spirit of God: "Which things also we speak," that is the revelation; "not in the words which mans wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy
Ghost teacheth" that is how the things are revealed: by inspiration (1 Cor. 2:13). It takes both to make the infallible Book.
Inspiration essentially includes revelation. As God "breathed" the eternal purpose which was in his own mind, words were essential to convey his mind to another. "Inspiration" does not tell the whole story. It takes inspiration and revelation to make Gods mind known.
2 Timothy 3:16 says that all Scripture is given by inspiration. All scripture is given; that is the revelation. By inspiration; that explains how it is given. This does not say that all Scripture came by revelation, which is totally different.
If God had revealed his mind by implanting the thought in the twelve apostles, and left them to express it in their own words, can you imagine the anarchy that would follow? Imagine these twelve men writing about the trial, crucifix-ion, burial and resurrection of Christ in just a few sentences as it now appears in the New Testament. They would have written many volumes, full of errors from personal prejudices and opinions. There would be errors in explaining some teaching of Christ. There would be errors of omission, errors in exaggeration, errors in imprecise language, bias because of national customs and prejudices, errors in prophecy, and errors in scientific and historical information. Their writings would be just like the creeds and doctrines of men.
The revelation of the mind of God that is given by verbal inspiration is accurate, unchangeable and complete. That is what the Bible claims to be.
The Function of Inspiration
Is not a part of the function of inspiration to create fact material. The Holy Spirit did not create the facts, but only revealed them (Jn. 14:26; 16:13). Inspiration does not make a fact more true, but only enables the writer or speaker to state accurately the facts and truth already existing in the mind of God. Whether they wrote of the past, present or future, they always wrote with perfect assurance that the truth and all the truth was revealed to them.
The fact that words are given by inspiration and words separate the doctrine of Christ from the doctrine of men, it is absolutely essential that we respect every word that is uttered by the Holy Spirit. That is inspiration; that is verbal inspiration. That is why the accuracy of translations in any language is vital. Any "paraphrase" translation is a human product and not the word of God.
In this age only the words "breathed out" by God, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit, to the apostles, written that we may understand the mystery, constitute the infallible word of God. All other "revelations" are false and fraud. Only upon divine revelation do we have "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 2, p. 1