“I’ve read that passage 10 times in my life, heard several messages in church, but never understood what God was trying to teach me until your message. Thank you.”
This is something that most Bible teachers and pastors hear from time to time. It’s meant as a compliment to the preacher… and it is. It is a compliment to preparation, creativity, and delivery. When I receive that compliment it always helps validate the hours of work that go into everything from simple lessons to the most complex sermon to a weekly youth group talk. But the primary compliment goes to God. When I hear that comment I know that the Holy Spirit has done something in that person’s life.
Here is the definition of illumination I learned in college:
The Illumination of the Bible (also relates to pneumatology) That supernatural help of the Holy Spirit which enables man to understand and comprehend the meaning of God’s revelation.
Illumination has two aspects as it relates to us. First for unbelievers, illumination is the Holy Spirit helping the person to understand God’s truths for the purposes of salvation. Practically, this is what makes the difference between someone who has heard the gospel message 20x’s and not responded and responding to the 21st time. Second for believers, illumination is the action of the Holy Spirit when you understand God’s revelation to you. (99% of the time that revelation is the Bible)
Practically, what does illumination look like or feel like?