Summary: How does God reveal himself in the Bible? What are inerrancy and infallibility? How do we understand the Bible? How does the Holy Spirit help us understand the Bible?
How does God reveal himself in the Bible? What are inerrancy and infallibility? How do we understand the Bible? How does the Holy Spirit help us understand the Bible? All this is a special part of studying God by studying how important his revelation in the Bible is called bibliology.
How God Reveals Himself
Since ancient times God has revealed Himself to humans in various ways that are familiar to us. He reveals Himself to us in everyday experiences of His creation, and God also reveals Himself in special ways. One of those special forms of self-disclosure is the Bible.
1. General Revelation
Does all creation broadcast the abundant and compelling evidence for God’s existence?
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4 NIV)
Do people suppress the truth of God’s existence?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20 NASB)
Is God’s law universally instinctive throughout human cultures?
Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. (Romans 2:14-15 NLT)
Does God still provide even to those who ignore Him and the obvious evidence for His existence?
… turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:15-17 NKJV)
God reveals himself in his creation, in human culture and in history.
… in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ … He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness… (Acts 17:22-31 NKJV)
There is common ground between believers and unbelievers on the evils of murder, theft and a host of other things. However, that common ground is limited.
How far can we discover information about God unless he also provides us with extra, special revelation?
2. Special Revelation
When God provides us special revelation beyond what we can observe with our eyes, He is unveiling His person to us and His plan of salvation in Jesus.
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40 NIV)
He must condescend to and accommodate our limited human abilities. We are only physical and cannot understand spiritual things without extra help. There have been other kinds of special revelation.
God has revealed Himself in dreams.
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman." (Genesis 20:3 NIV)
God has also revealed Himself in visions.
In a vision during the night, I saw a man sitting on a red horse that was standing among some myrtle trees in a small valley. Behind him were riders on red, brown, and white horses. (Zechariah 1:8 NLT)
A theophany is a visible manifestation of God.
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him… I am the commander of the army of the Lord… Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15 ESV)
God has revealed Himself in voice only.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? (Job 38:1-2 NASB)
God has revealed Himself in special acts.
And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses. (Exodus 14:31 KJV)