Summary: Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”(Psalm 119:18)
Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”(Psalm 119:18)
Revelation, inspiration and illumination are three critical concepts for Christians to understand. God has revealed Himself to humans in two ways. The first way is known as “Natural Revelation.” The word “natural” speaks about nature, so the first way God has revealed himself is through nature – through what He has created. The second way God has revealed Himself is through “Special Revelation.” This includes direct verbal communication such as Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall, prophecy, God becoming man through Jesus Christ and finally, the Bible. Most of what we learn about God is contained in The Bible. The Bible was written by humans under the direct inspiration of God. Inspiration, then, is what God used to transmit to us the special revelation contained in the Bible. Illumination refers to God’s work in the lives of believers to make us able to believe and understand the words of the Bible. This is why King David, in writing Psalm 119 asked the Lord “Give me understanding, that I may observe your Law.”
Revelation is a supernatural communication of divine truth presented to men (Deut 29:29), of that which they otherwise would not know, the Scriptures (Old and New Testament) the chief locus (Ps 138:2) of the Revelation. Inspiration is the term used to describe how the Scriptures were given by God, men supernaturally guided to express exactly what God intended (verbal-plenary), therefore that word spoken in old time by holy men of God is infallible, and preserved for us today (2 Pet 1:19-21; 2 Tim 3:16; Jer 1:9; Ps 100:5; Ps 12:7). Illumination refers to the Spirit enlightening the understanding of man whereby the meaning of Scripture is understood by the believer (1 Cor 2:10-14; 2 Cor 4:6; Eph 1:18; 2:1; John 16:13; Isa 29:18). The Spirit of God acts immediately upon the soul (John 3:7).
In the twenty fourth chapter of Luke Jesus, when appearing to the disciples after His resurrection, “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Following His ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide and to illumine the Scriptures for us. Paul referred to this many times, often praying that his readers would experience it. Perhaps the clearest example is in Ephesians 1:17-18 where we read “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…” Illumination, then, is that method used by the Holy Spirit to shed divine light upon all seeking men as they look into the Word of God.
We need illumination because:1. We are naturally blind because of sin. (1 Cor. 2:14, Matt. 16:16-17) 2. We are satanically blind. (2 Cor. 4:3-4) 3. We are carnally blind. (Heb. 5:12-14, 1 Cor. 3, 2 Peter 1). Revelation is when God makes truth known to man, while inspiration is the communicating of that truth. Inscripturation is the writing down of the truth that has been revealed, while illumination is God’s work in the believer when He helps us acquire, grasp, and understand the truth that was inscripturated.