In previous issues of the column we have covered the meaning of Revelation; Inspiration; and Illumination. We continue to explain in more detail the topic of Illumination. As previously defined, the short meaning of Illumination is to enable one to understand or to make one know. It refers to Gods work by which He causes us to know what He means through the words which are recorded in his book, the Bible.
How does Illumination occur? Is it accidental and unexpected? Is a person suddenly enlightened apart from interest or effort on his own? No!
We must study the Bible to be able to understand the Bible. Jesus said, Search the Scriptures ... they are they that testify of me (John 5:39). The people in Berea set an example in that They received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). We are under a specific command, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, A workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth (II Timothy 2:15). There is no substitute for ardent Bible study. No one can expect to know God unless he is a student of the Word of God. Give yourself to regular and systematic study of the Bible. Study involves more than just reading. The effort expended in studying Gods Word is well spent and very valuable.
As we study, the Holy Spirit teaches us. Jesus promised, When He, the spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. (John 16: 13, 14). We discipline ourselves to study the Bible and the Holy Spirit enables us to understand what we study. Without the help of the Spirit of God, we hear but do not understand, we see but we do not comprehend (Matthew 13:10-15).
We receive with humility what the Holy Spirit teaches. James 1:21 states it this way, Receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls. Such a spirit is promised the special blessings of God. We study, and the Holy Spirit reveals, and we, therefore, receive.
We apply to our conduct what the Holy Spirit shows us in Gods Word, the Bible. Like seed in good ground, it is our opportunity to hear the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience. God commands, Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22). Knowledge alone is never our goal. We desire to know that we may do all that God commands, in His perfect way.
Understanding the Bible is never to be done for mere academic purposes. It is the supreme Book of all books! It is Gods Will made known to us through Gods Word. We study that we may know. We know that we may do. We do that we may please God. Let us approach the Bible with a spirit of humility, being willing to be taught the truth.
The most rewarding exercise in which you can ever engage is seeking and doing the Will of God as it is revealed unto us in Gods Word, the Holy Bible. It is beyond our ability to even set a value on the blessings received when we obey Gods Will.
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.