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How to Interpret the Bible for Yourself (2 of 2)
Dr. Ron Dunn
Let's go on to the third rule of interpretation.
Rule 3: The revelation of God is a progressive revelation.
Now, the two words that provide the key to understanding what we call progressive revelation are accommodation and apprehension...in other words, the accommodation of God to the apprehension of man. Now, by this we mean when God revealed Himself He spoke in language you and I can understand. You don't talk to a three year old the same way you talk to a thirty year old. And when we speak to a child we have to accommodate ourselves to that child's ability to understand what we're saying.
Bernard Ramm said, "The Bible represents a movement of God with the initiative coming from God, and not man, in which God brings man up from the infancy of the Old Testament to the maturity of the New Testament." Progressive revelation is man's growing apprehension of the redemptive purpose of God which culminated in the coming of Christ. It means that God revealed to us only that which we were able to comprehend. And in the infancy of the human race, He has led man slowly and carefully, step by step.
I believe this is what Jesus was referring to when He said in Matthew 5:17, "Do not think that I am come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." He did not come to annul the law, Jesus is saying, but to bring it to blossom. The Law was right and good as far as it went, but it didn't go far enough or high enough or deep enough. Remember in Galatians 4, Paul talks about the fullness of time. And you might picture it like this...the time before Christ was the kindergarten of the human race and with Christ came the higher education. In the Old Testament God was teaching the "A, B, C's" and in the New Testament He is teaching the "X, Y, Z's."
You remember what the letter of Hebrews says in chapter 1 and in the first two verses... "God after He spo ...
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