One of the foundational beliefs of Christians is that God exists and has revealed himself to us. Theologians typically talk about two main types of revelation: general (or “natural”) revelation and special revelation. General revelation refers to God”s revelation through nature and history, while special revelation refers to God”s revelation through Scripture and Jesus Christ.
1. (Psalms 19:1-6) How much can we know about God based on general (natural) revelation? Is this knowledge enough for salvation?
2. (Rom 1:18-20) Often, we speak of general revelation as being of lesser value than special revelation. Many people, however, will never have access to the Bible. How can it be fair if they are judged based upon an inferior revelation from God?
3. (Heb 1:1-2) Special revelation refers to God”s revelation in Scripture and in Jesus. In what ways is special revelation superior to general revelation? The coming of Jesus is an historical event. Are there ways in which it is a continuing, concrete, personal event today? If so, how do we meet Jesus today?
4. Besides nature and the Bible, what are some of the other ways that God communicates with us today? Why do some of these methods of communication seem to be more common in other cultures?
5. (1 Sam 3:1) In 1 Samuel, we read that “in those days, the word of the LORD was rare; there we not many visions.” Does this mean that there are times when God does not communicate with us as clearly as at other times? Are we living in a time when the word of the LORD is rare?
6. (1 Tim 4:2; Titus 1:15) The Holy Spirit can speak through our conscience. How reliable is our conscience? Should we understand it as a voice from God? What if our conscious tells us one thing, and the community of faith we belong to tells us something else?
7. (1 Cor 14:1-6, 39; Acts 2:17-21 [from Joel 2:28-32]) Paul tells his readers to eagerly desire the gift of prophecy. In Acts, Peter says that in the last days, many will prophesy. Has that day of “many prophets” come, or is it yet in the future? Has is already come? In what way does one go about desiring the gift of prophecy for themselves? According to Acts 2 and Joel 2, prophecy is clearly gender inclusive. Are there other spiritual gifts that are limited to a specific gender?
8. If God really wanted to communicate with us, could he do a better job of it? Please explain your answer.