God has revealed himself in two ways, through his creation and through his Word. Many have called these the “two books” of revelation: the book of creation or nature and the book of his divine Word. Before discussing more about the Bible we need to take a quick look at this first book where we know certain things about God, but not everything!

General Revelation

General revelation is the theological term used for the book of nature and it reveals general truths about who God is and some of his attributes. The Belgic Confession (BC) puts this concept beautifully in Article 2: “the creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even his everlasting power and divinity, as the Apostle Paul says.” I love that description of the creatures being characters in a book. Everything you see around you is a letter, stand back and these letters form words, stand further back and these words form phrases that show us the majesty and power of God.

Paul in Romans 1 speaks about these things, but he does not leave us with good news. He acknowledges that there is this book of nature and that we can know true and good things about God through general revelation, but yet in Rom 1:18 he exclaims that man suppresses the truth he has learned about God and for this God’s wrath is rightly against men. Think about it this way – imagine you are standing on some railroad tracks. Looking around you can learn a lot about what might use these tracks. Whatever it is must be really heavy since these solid steel rails are set on really big railroad ties. You also can discern that whatever travels on this track cannot move off of the tracks – its path is determined. Finally, you begin to hear the horn of the train and see its lights coming at you fast. However, imagine suppressing the truth about all you have learned and denying the power behind it. What will happen if you remain on those tracks despite all that has been revealed to you? You won’t last long when the many tons of the train strike.

Special Revelation

While you are standing on those tracks suppressing the truth of what is happening, what do you need? You need somebody to tell you where you are standing, what is going to happen to you, and then grab you and take you off the tracks before the train comes. This is what God’s special revelation, or the book of his Word, does. This book gives us the information that we can find nowhere else. It tells us that we are standing under God’s wrath because we have suppressed the truth given to us in nature, and we are sinful because of the Fall of our first parents Adam and Eve. But God’s Word tells us news that we cannot find anywhere else – news that God has pulled us from the tracks because we were powerless to remove ourselves. Not only that but he has adopted us as sons and daughters because of the merits of his Son Jesus Christ!

So where does the Bible fit in all of this? If all we need to know is some simple good news, why is there so much other stuff in the Bible? The answer is really quite simple, but yet many people overlook this fact – the Bible is a story. The Bible is the story of God choosing for himself a people and redeeming them through his Son Jesus Christ. Once that redemption has been accomplished the Bible continues that story of God redeeming people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. If we miss that the Bible contains the “grand drama of redemption” then we will not be able to properly interpret what the Bible says in its many different books and genres. Everything in the Old Testament is pressing forward to that climatic event of Jesus Christ’s coming, and everything in the New Testament looks back at Christ’s finished work and looks forward to his glorious return. This is truly special revelation because we cannot hear about these things any other way!

Whenever people forget that the Bible is a story and forget that all its myriad parts are connected in this manner, then there is a great injustice done to God’s Word. And since this is God’s Word then we must pay attention to it! I hope in the coming weeks to continue to explore with you what a wonderful gift God’s Holy Word is, but yet we have been given this gift for our edification and ultimately our salvation.

If this interests you and you would like to read the Bible this way, then please consider being part of the Bible Study that we are trying to form in the Gig Harbor area. We would love to dig into God’s Word with you, but we need to know you are out there! So please leave a comment or drop us an e-mail at gigharborreformed*at*gmail.com.