Summary: Revelation, inspiration, and preservation are the processes by which God communicated His Word to humankind. These three words assure us that the Bible is 100% pure.
When asked what the three most important elements in real estate are, realtors respond: ‘location, location, location.” Such a response usually gets a chuckle, but the issue really isn’t a laughing matter. Those three responses are the most important issues in real estate and giving consideration to them will save you from making a colossal error in buying a home.
If you asked Christian scholars what the three most important elements of the Bible are, they would respond: ‘revelation, inspiration, and preservation.’ I understand, it lacks the humorous and catchy flair of the real estate answer, but consideration of these three issues will prevent you from making a colossal error in discovering God.
These words are more then theological terms. Revelation, inspiration, and preservation are the processes by which God communicated His Word to humankind. We know the Bible is credible because of the evidences found internally and externally (science, history, etc.), but how do we know that it is 100% pure? For instance: how do we know that the writers didn’t copy some other writing during their day, or just make something up, and then pass it off as ‘scripture from God?’ And how do we know what we have today (hold the Bible up) is exactly what the original authors wrote? The three words I mentioned will be our answers. Let’s examine each of them briefly:
I. REVELATION—Hebrews 1:1-2.
A. Revelation is the act of making something known that was previously unknown.
1. According to Hebrews 1:1-2, divine revelation occurred by two means:
a. Verse 1—“God…spake in time past…by the prophets.”
1) God’s prophets were given His Word by visions and by voice.
2) At first thought, one might think this could be easily faked. After all, who would know?
3) But according to Deuteronomy 18:22 God provided at least two ways to test the authenticity of a prophet:
a) First, the prophet had to speak in the name of the Lord.
b) Second, everything he said had to come to pass! No exceptions!
c) Listen to this verse: Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously.”
4) According to Deuteronomy 18:20, when a prophet spoke “presumptuously,” he died: “…the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.”
[Illustration: By contrast, Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormon religion, which is also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) claimed to be a prophet and made several predictions. Not one of them has ever occurred! He wrote the Book of Mormon. It records history that has been proven to be false, prophecies that have never taken place, and huge amounts of confirmed and documented plagiarism (i.e. taking the writings or ideas of someone else and using them as your own!). When someone accepts the Book of Mormon as authentic and pure; they accept the writings of a foolish, deluded, “presumptuous” liar! This is the difference between the Bible and fiction—DIVINE REVELATION! See ’The Kingdom of the Cults’ by Walter Martin, chapter six.]
b. The second means of divine revelation is found in Hebrews 1:2, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.”
1) In the New Testament, the gospels record the literal words of Jesus, and the gospel writers, along with the apostles, quote His words throughout the remainder of the Bible.
2) The apostle Paul testifies his writings came by this means in Galatians 1:11-12, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” [It came by revelation!]
[The means by which God insured and guaranteed an accurate record of this revelation is:]
II. INSPIRATION—II Timothy 3:16.
A. The word ‘inspiration’ means ‘to breath.’ Thus, Paul tells Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God;” i.e. from His mouth! He spoke it!
1. Paul reiterates this truth in writing to the Romans (3:2) concerning the advantages of being Jewish. He says, “unto them were committed the oracles [or verbal utterances] of God.” [According to Webster’s Old English dictionary, 1828]
2. The importance of this fact is obvious. Scripture is not a collection of the ‘thoughts, feelings, commentaries, or ideas of humankind.’ It is the very words spoken by God Himself!
B. In II Peter 1:20-21 we are given the process by which inspiration occurred. Here we are told:
1. “Holy men of God spake as they were” “moved by the Holy Ghost.”