The whole of Christian doctrine, 140 characters at a time

2. The Doctrine of Revelation

2. The Doctrine of Revelation.

2.1 Revelation is the process by which God makes known truth about Himself to his creatures.

2.1 Revelation is God’s way of inviting us into God’s knowledge of Himself.

2.2 Creatures may discover knowledge of creatures by investigation, argument, or insight; knowledge of God cannot be gained in these ways.

2.2.1 (Creatio ex nihilo means the causal system of creation is closed, so there can be no argument from created reality to truth about God.)

2.2.2 God is revealed in creation (Rom. 1) but this is divine decision, not available deduction.

2.3 God reveals Himself most fully and most clearly in the person of Jesus Christ.

2.3.1 In Jesus Christ, God reveals His fundamental nature to be love, and His fundamental purpose to be salvation.

2.4 Scripture is God’s revelation because it is the inspired disclosure of who Jesus Christ is.

2.5 Therefore, all Scripture is, in some sense, about Jesus Christ.

2.5.1 Properly, we read Scripture to know God’s revelation in Christ better, and for no other purpose.

2.6 Scripture is primarily cast as a [series of] narrative[s]; accounts of revelation must take this with complete seriousness.

2.6.1 Narratives communicate truth by implication or allusion as well as proposition; they disclose character, motive, and intention.

2.6.2 Minor genres in Scripture must similarly be taken seriously.

2.7 Exegesis is therefore a complex task, demanding theological insight and literary skill.

2.8 Scripture is clear/perspicuous: finding its meaning requires no specialist knowledge, only the help of the Holy Spirit.

2.8.1 We cannot read Scripture well without the help of the Holy Spirit, however.

2.8.2 We may grasp the meaning of words and sentences, and believe the claims made, by natural ability.

2.8.3 Without the Spirit’s aid we will never perceive the vision of Jesus, and the gospel offer, that is the essence of Scripture.

2.9 Scripture is properly read in the context of worship, in the gathered congregation.

2.9.1 Private reading of Scripture in the context of prayer for the purpose of devotion is derivative, but not improper.

2.9.2 Critical reading of Scripture is necessary to the work of theology, but must be conditioned by liturgical reading.

2.10 Scripture is authoritative: its teachings, properly understood, are to be obeyed.

2.11 Scripture is trustworthy: its teachings, properly understood, are to be believed.

2.12 Scripture is holy: it belongs to God, and cannot be mastered by human intellect.

2.13 Scripture is sufficient: with the Spirit’s help, all that is needed for salvation may be known from the Bible.

2.14 God’s revelation in Scripture is conveyed by human authors, with their own styles, contexts, and concerns.

2.14.1 The humanity of Scripture must be acknowledged, and must affect interpretative practices.

2.14.2 Acknowledgement of the humanity of Scripture does not change the fact that God is the primary author.

2.15 God is truly revealed in creation, but fallen humans are naturally blind to this revelation.

2.16 Humans may however see in creation remarkable confirmations of the truths of Scripture.

2.17 Reason is a good gift of God, and a way of deriving new consequence from truth previously known, but no more.

2.18 Experience will teach us much about the world, and may confirm truths about God known from revelation.

2.19 Tradition is an important, but not infallible, witness to revealed truth.

2.20 God often gives particular guidance and insight through prophecy, the Bible, or circumstances.

2.20.1 Such particular guidance is revelation, properly speaking, but it is occasional and not authoritative for all people or all time.

2.21 Through Scripture, and also in countless other ways, God constantly testifies to His love for His people and His world.

2.22 Through Scripture, and also in countless other ways, God constantly calls all people to faith, to joy, and to holiness.