This phrase, progressive revelation, bothers everyone who does not understand what it means. Of course, I am talking about the Word. The Word of God. The Bible. It progressively reveals Jesus, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. Most folk will agree with that statement.
However, when we are talking about “progressive revelation” within any passage of scripture, then the misunderstanding begins.
Our God is a multi-dimensional God. He is limitless and endless. This is true in reference to the depth of the understanding of His Word as well. I have been teaching Colossians in our Friday Fellowships during the past few weeks. I spent 2 weeks on Colossians 1 and feel like I barely touched the surface in those two teaching times (app. 45-55 minutes each). Then came Colossians 2 and I have spent two separate Friday meetings on that as well. Yet, there is so much more.
Once we get through doing, what seems to us as an in-depth study of the passage, just about the time we think we have it, you know that Eureka moment, we discover that we have only brushed its surface and there is so much more there. My quandary as a teacher is, do I go on or do I re-visit and discover what is there waiting for us.
It is easy to say re-visit, but that must be weighed in prayer with Him. I never know who is coming to each meeting (with a few staff exceptions), so only He knows what I need to do. It would seem logical to just plan out our times and map our the scriptures I plan to cover, but that does not work for these sessions very well, if I am to hear the Lord and then respond to what He unveils in my study.
I move away from using the word “depth” and prefer instead to use “dimensions,” for the simple reason that it is a combination of the two, but when only looked at with “depth” eyes, we miss a key way to “see” and therefore miss dimension. Also, folk have a tendency to shy from depth, settling instead for a beginners understanding of what the Word says. Oh the depths of the riches of Christ Jesus, revealed in and through His Spirit as we allow Him to open the gates of heaven while we read, study and meditate on what He has written for us.
May we not be fearful of the phrase “progressive revelation” at all, when it is being used of the action of the Holy spirit throughout the Scriptures.