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Tuesday
Apr132010

Theological Term of the Week

illumination
The work of the Holy Spirit within us, enabling us “to grasp and to love the revelation that is in the biblical text” as we hear and read it, and as it is explained to us by teachers and writers.1

  • From scripture:

    Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:12-14 ESV)

  • From The Westminster Confession, Chapter 1:

    The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word…. 

  • From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem:

    Another aspect of the Holy Spirit’s revealing work is teaching certain things to God’s people and illumining them so that they can understand things. Jesus promised this teaching function especially to his disciples when he said that the Holy Spirit” will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26), and said “he will guide you to all the truth” (John 16:13). …

    The illuminating work of the Holy Spirit is seen in the fact that he enables us to understand: “We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12) Therefore, “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts (literally, things) of the Spirit of God” but “The spiritual man judges all things” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). We should pray that the Holy Spirit would give us his illumination and thereby help us to understand rightly when we study Scripture….

Learn more:

  1. J. I. Packer: Illumination
  2. Bernie Gillespie: The Illumination of the Holy Spirit
  3. Bob Burridge: The Holy Spirit in the Ministry of the Word
  4. Daniel Wallace: The Holy Spirit and Hermeneutics
  5. S. Lewis Johnson: Illumination, or Truth Made Clear (mp3 with transcript)

1Concise Theology by J. I. Packer

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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Reader Comments (2)

I like this term; and I hadn't realize there was much available on it online.

April 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon

I hadn't realized there was such controversy regarding illumination until I started researching it.

April 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterrebecca

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