As Paul stood before the Corinthian church, he did not arrogantly and eloquently proclaim a humanly-devised philosophy; rather, he fearfully and distinctly declared the wisdom of God (vss. 1-4). In addition, the apostle backed his teaching with miraculous demonstration so the faith of his audience might stand in the power of God, not in the wisdom of men (vss. 4-6). Now, in Paul's defense of his teaching methods, he reminds the Corinthian congregation of the source of his doctrine (vss. 6-16). The apostle assures the church that he did, indeed, proclaim a wisdom, but not the wisdom of this world; Paul declared the wisdom of God. It is here, in Paul's explanation of these matters, that he provides some very vital information on the often-misunderstood subjects of revelation and inspiration. Among other things, the apostle writes about the purpose, process, and preciousness of revelation and inspiration.
Concerning revelation, Paul writes of those things once hidden in the mind of God, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (vs. 10a). About inspiration, the apostle says, "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words" (vs. 13 ASV). These verses indicate that "revelation is an act of Deity whereby God communicates facts and truths which were previously unknown to man," while inspiration is the tool that God uses to guide and control the revelation of those facts and truths.1 The combined purpose of revelation and inspiration, then, is to make known "the things that are freely given to us of God" (vs. 12).
While not every detail involved in the process of revelation and inspiration is covered by Paul in I Corinthians 2, the apostle does mention three important factors: The Holy Spirit (vss. 10-14), the specially selected agents of God ("we," "us," and "he that is spiritual" -- vss. 6, 7, 10, 12, 15, 16), and the act of communicating the mind, or will, of God (vss. 10, 13). When one puts these verses and factors together, he must conclude that by means of words the Holy Spirit guided certain individuals to speak and/or record exactly what God wanted man to know. Other related scriptures include II Samuel 23:2; John 16:13; I Timothy 4:1; and II Peter 1:20,21, which all mention these same three factors.
Paul declares just how precious revelation and inspiration are when he points out that the blessings of the Gospel which were once hidden are now revealed (vss. 9,10) and, accordingly, are able to be taught to others (vs. 13). Because of revelation and inspiration, man can know God, himself, the path upon which God wishes for him to walk, and the rewards that will come to him for walking thereon (Mt. 7:13,14). Though these are but a few of the blessings that come as a result of revelation and inspiration, such vividly portray the preciousness of the same.While revelation and inspiration do not occur today (I Cor. 13:8-12), their final product, the Bible, remains and continues to bless those who will hear and heed its precepts. God be thanked that He was willing to communicate His Truth to man.
1 David Brown, "The Inspiration of The Bible," in Biblical Inerrancy, ed. Jerry Moffitt. (Portland, TX: Gulf Coast Lectures, 1993), 18.
Written By Preston Silcox