Revelation And Inspiration -- By: E. P. Barrows

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 024:96 (Oct 1867)
Article: Revelation And Inspiration
Author: E. P. Barrows


Revelation And Inspiration

Rev. E. P. Barrows

No. I.

It is proposed to discuss, in a series of Articles, the related subjects of Revelation and Inspiration, not so much in their details as in their fundamental underlying principles, and with special reference to the errors of modern times.

The Terms Defined And Distinguished

It is necessary, at the outset, to have a clear idea of the meaning of these several terms. This will give at once their relation to each other, and their difference.

Revelation (Latin, revelatio, from revelo, to unveil, throw back the veil; Greek, ἀποκάλυψις, from ἀποκαλύπτω, to uncover, lift off the cover) properly signifies the act of unvailing, and so disclosing a person or thing that was before hidden. So the scriptures speak of “the revelation of the righteous judgment of God”;1 and of “the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”2 Then, by an easy transition, the word is

applied to the truth itself which is revealed. Of this latter usage we have some examples in the New Testament. “When ye come together,” says the apostle, “every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation,” where “a revelation”3 is manifestly something revealed by God’s Spirit. So when he speaks of “visions and revelations of the Lord,”4 and of “the abundance of the revelations,”5 the word comprehends the things made known to him by the act of revelation. So also the last book of the New Testament is called “the revelation of Jesus Christ,”6 as containing the future events revealed by him. In this secondary sense the word “revelation “is exceedingly common in theological usage.

In neither its primary nor its secondary usage does the word “revelation” refer to the manner of the disclosure. It insists only upon the fact that it is something that was before hidden. It is therefore, as theologians say, eminently objective. It directs attention to something existing without the mind, which is in some way uncovered to its view. The agent of revelation may be man (“Unto thee have I revealed my cause,”7 Heb.

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