Our consideration of the giving, writing, understanding, obeying and preserving of Gods Word, the Bible, has brought us to a third step. We call it illumination. It is absolutely essential to a full appreciation of the message and benefit from the ministry of the Holy Scriptures.
First, a note of review is given. Revelation deals with how the message of God came to be known by men. It is Gods self-disclosure to men who otherwise would never have known him in truth. Inspiration deals with how the message of God was recorded in the language of men so that it is still the true message of God. It is Gods divine guidance of the writers so that they wrote what God intended for them to write. The word illumination deals with how we can understand what God has caused to be recorded in the Bible. Let us pursue this rewarding study and learn the truth.
Illumination means to turn on the light; to enable one to understand; to make known to one. It refers to Gods work by which He causes us to know what He means through the words the Bible writers have recorded.
You see illumination mentioned in Acts 16:14 of your Bible. Lydia heard the gospel as it was preached by Paul. The text says that she was one, whose heart the Lord opened. To say that the Lord opened her heart is to say that He enabled her to understand. That is illumination. It is further explained by Paul in Ephesians 1:18-19. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us ward who believe. For the eyes of your understanding to be enlightened means your mind is enlightened, you receive inner illumination of the spirit, your heart is flooded with light, you understand clearly what was previously hidden from you.
You experience illumination as you study or meditate on the Scriptures. A new truth is seen in the passage. A new appreciation of the scope of some truth you have seen before is experienced. Or an insight is gained on another subject as you understand this one more clearly. That is how illumination is experienced today.
One must have spiritual illumination because man cannot understand the things of God without divine aid. I Corinthians 2: 9, 14, reads: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him ... the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness to Him: Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. That text is very clear. The most intelligent person on this Earth cannot understand the things of God apart from the help of God to teach him. A person can be a genius in nuclear physics, for instance, and be ignorant in the field of medicine. One may be very learned in the things of man and yet be totally ignorant in the things of God. The things of God are not understood by the unaided human intelligence. They can be known only by Gods showing them to man. That is why illumination by the Holy Spirit of God is so essential.
Kelton F. Richardson has a doctorate in social psychology and has worked with individuals and families experiencing marital problems. A student of the Bible, he lives in Cortez.