The Spirit in special revelation
We have seen that the Spirit of God has kept alive in us a sense of right and wrong, and often a longing to overcome the sin in our lives and come into personal contact with God. But conscience cannot tell us how to do this. When we sinned we turned away from God, and we lost all knowledge of the way back. For this we need a “special” revelation showing us the way, and telling us how we can be at peace with God. This is what we have in the Bible.
Written by men
It is true that the Bible was written by men, and there are traces everywhere that they were human like ourselves. But they had an experience of God in which He gave them a revelation of Himself which they would communicate to their fellowmen. It was the Holy Spirit who gave them that revelation and made it possible for them to communicate it correctly to others. This ultimately they did in writing, and this writing we have in the Scriptures.
It can be seen that the Scriptures contain a knowledge of God that meets our spiritual need, and that it is correctly sent to us by holy men entrusted with the task. This spiritual knowledge we call revelation, and the ability to communicate it to others we call inspiration. The Holy Spirit is the author of both the revelation and its inspiration and He ensures that it reaches us as God would have us receive it.
God’s word for me
It must have impressed you often, as you read your Bible, how different the writers were from one another. Some were kings, some were shepherds; some were highly educated, some were ordinary fishermen. But they had this in common, that God had spoken to them, and that He asked them to tell the others what they had received. Of this they had no doubt. So vivid and real was the experience that some of the prophets — Isaiah, Amos, Micah — could say that they “saw the word of the Lord”. Sometimes it was like the voice audible and intelligible so that the prophet could say “The word of the Lord came to me saying …”. Thus he was in no doubt as to its message. But whatever the medium through whom it came, it is God’s word for us.
Don’t you think it was gracious and kind of God to send us His saving message through people like ourselves, and that while they could not conceal their human identity it was God’s message they gave to us. The New Testament often speaks of it as “The Lord’s message through the prophet Isaiah …”. The Lord was the source, the prophet was the channel.
Now if the Spirit gave the revelation, and watched over its communication by His inspiration, you and I can be sure that He is still in that word giving us light and understanding of what we read. This is His illumination. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us every time we read our Bibles. And let us thank the Holy Spirit for his three great activities, revelation, inspiration, illumination, which still make the Bible His supreme means of grace to us.