Tag Archives: messenger formula

The inspiration of scripture: prophetic sermons

Michelangelo’s painting of Isaiah in the Sistine Chapel Note: If this is your first exposure to this series, I’d appreciate it if you’d start with the introduction to the series and read through in order so that you’re able to put this post in context.

The previous installment in this series examined all the texts I could find in the Bible in which a heavenly being (God, the exalted Christ, or an angelic interlocutor) tells a human to write something, and discloses to that human the content that should be written, but does not quote an exact string of text that the human in question should write. In most of these few instances, the human writer is having or has just had some sort of visionary experience, which he (I haven’t found any such texts involving women) is told to communicate to someone else (as in Ezekiel 40–48). I also dealt with the closely related phenomenon of a biblical figure having a visionary experience and then communicating that experience to other people despite the absence of any divine command to write (as in Ezekiel 1). I called this “inspiration by disclosure” (because “inspiration by revelation” could create confusion with the biblical book of Revelation, and because “revelation” doesn’t start with a d —a point you’ll appreciate more fully later in the series).

But what about straight-up prophetic sermons that don’t derive from visionary experiences of the type associated with Ezekiel and Revelation’s visionary John? Do these represent instances of “inspiration by dictation,” “inspiration by disclosure,” a blend of the two, or something else entirely?

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