Turn in your Bible to Hebrews chapter 1:2, It begins like this, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers by the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.”
Now, that’s the statement I want you to focus on. I don’t intend to exhaust all of the ramifications of that statement, but in its simplicity, it is abundantly clear and deeply profound.
It’s giving us the essence of revelation.
Mark that word. Revelation in its simple sense means to reveal, to reveal, to make something known that prior was not known; to make something understood that was not understood; to disclose truth never before known. God has revealed Himself, and here you have a statement with regard to revelation. God spoke long ago and God has spoken in these last days. The writer of Hebrews is, in effect, saying God spoke on two occasions. He spoke once long ago. He speaks in these last days by His Son.
Now, I believe that we are fair in assessing the fact that he has in mind here Old Testament revelation and New Testament revelation. God spoke long ago to the Jewish fathers.
Those were the Old Testament prophets, those who received God’s Word long ago under the old covenant. He spoke to those fathers by means of the prophets in many portions, polumerōs, many books, many sections, and you know that. There’s the Pentateuch and there are the prophetic books and the historical books, and there are the books of poetry. In many, many portions and in many books God spoke. He spoke to the Jewish fathers. He spoke by means of the prophets.
He also spoke, it says, in many ways, polutropōs.
That means through vision and prophecy and parable and type and symbol and ceremony and theophany, and sometimes audible voice, and he even wrote with His finger on stone. There were many ways in which God spoke many things, collected in many texts, put into many books, and He spoke to those of old by means of the prophets. That is a statement with reference to the fact that the Old Testament is God speaking.
Now, let me make it as clear as I can to you, the Old Testament is not a collection of the wisdom of ancient men.
The Old Testament is not a collection of the best of religious thinking.
The Old Testament is not a collection of the good musings of godly people.
Old Testament is the Word of God.
It’s not the thinking of any men; good men, godly men, or ancient men in and of themselves. It is the Word of God.
The writer of Hebrews says, “God spoke.” God spoke. The Old Testament was God speaking to the fathers by means of the prophets.
In these last days since the coming of Christ, He has spoken again, and He has spoken in the Son.
The gospels record God speaking through His Son; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The book of Acts; God speaking through the extension of the proclamation of the message of His Son. The epistles; God speaking through the deep and profound understanding of the meaning of the life and ministry of the Son. Even Revelation, the consummation when the Son comes back in glory, the consummation of God’s communication to this world.
So the Old Testament is God speaking and revealing Himself. The New Testament is God speaking, and revealing His Son.
Old Testament is God’s self-revelation, and that is the theme of the Old Testament.
Genesis to the very end of the Old Testament to Malachi and all in between the main character is God. It is the revelation of God, who He is. What are His attributes? What are His attitudes? How does He react to every possible given human situation? What is He like? What does He do?
That’s the Old Testament. It is the revelation of God. It is not the story of man. It is not the story of Israel. Those stories are there, but it is the revelation of God, and we see God revealed through man, through history, through Israel, through all that happens. God’s attributes are sometimes listed very clearly, as in the Psalms. On the other hand, sometimes we see His attributes very clearly, and He’s not even mentioned such as in the book of Esther where no mention of God is made, and yet He is the dominant force and dominant character throughout the entire book.
The Old Testament is the revelation of God to show men what God is like, who God is, what God tolerates and does not tolerate, how God desires holiness and punishes sin.
The New Testament is God revealed by His Son in the life of His Son, in the message of His Son, in the understanding of the work of His Son, and in the culmination and the coming of His Son to establish His eternal kingdom. But in either case, Old Testament, New Testament, God spoke. What we have is, indeed, the Word of God. This is not the word of man. The New Testament writers wrote down the Word of God.
Jesus promised, “I will bring all things to your remembrance. I will teach you all things. I will lead you into all truth. I will show you things to come.” And in so promising, gave those apostles and along with them, the other writers of the New Testament, the promise of divine inspiration; that they like the Old Testament prophets would write the Word of God. So what we have in our hands, beloved, is not the word of man. It’s not the word of religious men. It’s not the word of wise and godly men. It is the Word of God, the Word of God.
Hebrews 1:1-2 talks about revelation, the revealing of God. What process then did God use to reveal Himself?
Now, we go to the process God used to reveal Himself, and that has come to be known as inspiration, inspiration. In 2 Peter 1:20 it says, “Know this first, know this first.
First of all, that no message –.” The word “prophecy” here has a very generic sense not meaning some kind of prediction of the future, but message. No telling forth. “No message of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,” epilusis. Now, notice this, no message of Scripture is a matter of one’s own epilusis. Now, what does that mean? It could mean releasing, and that might be the truest essence of the term.
No message from Scripture is of one’s own releasing. Some have suggested that the best way to translate it would be “inspiration” because that’s what it’s intending to say.
No message of Scripture is a matter of one’s own inspiration.
That is to say, Scripture does not come out of inspired men in the sense that some men are inspired because of some level of religious genius. The genitive case here suggests that Peter has in mind source or origin of Scripture, and that he’s really not talking about interpreting the Bible in the sense that you would describe what it means.
But He’s talking about the origin so that it could say this,
“No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of origination in one’s own mind.”
No message of Scripture comes out of any human source. That’s the idea.
“For,” verse 21 says, “no message was ever made by an act of human will.”
Scripture is not the product of men. It is not the product of the will of men, but men moved by the Holy Spirit, spoke from God.
Very clear and very vital. No message was ever made, aorist passive indicative. The verb is pherō. It means to bear, carry along, convey, produce, bring forth, bring along.
No message was ever conveyed, borne, carried along, produced, brought forth by an act of human will, but men – same verb, pherō – were borne along, carried along, conveyed, brought forth by the Holy Spirit to speak from God.
The Holy Spirit filled them. The idea is like putting your sails to the wind on a ship and being borne along by the breeze. The Spirit of God moved them along, blew them along.
Now that tells us the process. The content of the Bible is revelation. The process by which that content was written down is called inspiration.