I have been trying to dive deeper into the difference of revelation and understanding. God has been slowly teaching me in this area. This is a glimpse of what's been running through my head as God intertwines His voice with my thoughts.
Please know these thoughts are in process and my hope is to get your mind moving towards what God truly thinks.
I start here with what Paul says in Ephesians chapter 3 verses 3-5
"how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
In short, Paul gained revelation from God and not from man.
Teaching from knowledge or Revelation?
We often teach and live from knowledge and not from revelation. Revelation will allow the Word (spoken from God or the written Word) to become living and active. This will happen not only in your life, but will overflow into the lives of others. When God does something in your life, He isn't just doing it for you, but for the world around you.
We so often teach from knowledge, which will affect our theology but not our lives.
What happens when you speak out of understanding and not revelation? We see here that understanding boosts our ego. In 1 Corinthians chapter 8 verse 1 it says,
'....This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up."
I'll argue that the love that Paul is talking about is a revealed love. Not an understanding of what love is, but a experiential and lived out love.
Right now, as you read these words you are in an intellectual exercise that allows you to explore what you think. As you read, your searching for what you believe and what I'm claiming is truth. You have some sort of theology, or basis for which you think.
To put it another way, you have a world view, which has been shaped by numerous things throughout your life. We could argue that our deep thinking effects our theology. A couple questions to ponder:
Have we allowed intellect to replace action? Do we claim to know things that we haven't put in place in our own lives?
In our Greek style culture, I would argue that an intellectual exercise has replaced the actual living out of our answers.
The answers to deep questions has satisfied us to the detriment of our action.
Another question to think about: Can our answers move us into action?
We can come up with five reasons why Jesus is the way, the truth and the life for a nicely packed sermon. It tingles and resonates with our need for deep thinking. Something that goes beyond our normal conversations about the weather. But does it do more? Is that what Jesus modeled?
Here's what I'm getting at: Our sermons and our conversations at coffee shops need to come from revelation and not just understanding. Once we have understanding, it's easy to create arguments and examples that back up what we think. But revelation will be lived, it isn't just a thought, it's who you are.
The obvious question is how do you gain revelation?
Paul said that it ONLY comes from God..... And with that I leave you. Because revelation can't be summed up in five points. Think, but then act and allow your thoughts to become real. I believe we serve a real and active God, and maybe that's what revelation is: real and active. Not specifically defined, but explored within relationship.
My challenge to myself and the reader: Let's spend more time with God, who is the only one that give revelation, to a world that badly needs it.
Jason LaLone was on staff at YWAM Brisbane and is currently doing a Bible school in Mexico. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus' command to make disciples a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and used to dislike Monday's, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone's previous articles might be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/Jason-LaLone.html