The Interconnectedness of God’s Revelation
Scripture establishes as the believer’s presupposition the revelation of God. That revelation takes three forms: (1) The illumination of the Holy Spirit, (2) God’s revelation in nature and history (that is, “natural revelation”), and (3) God’s revelation by word (that is, “special revelation”: direct utterance, the speaking of prophets and apostles, and the Scriptures). These three forms of revelation must be taken together. Illumination is nothing in itself, being only a witness to natural and special revelation. Natural revelation must be seen through “the spectacles of Scripture,” illuminated by the Spirit. Special revelation makes no impact apart from illumination or apart from its application to the reader’s situation and the course of nature and history.
So each of these three forms of revelation is incomplete without the others. To do justice to any one of them, we must look at the others. Therefore, on an important sense, each includes the others. Each is a perspective on the whole organism of revelation.
-John M. Frame, The Doctrine of God, 212-213