We’ve all heard someone correct another when he uses “Revelations” instead of The Revelation. While many dismiss this as a trivial oversight, it is important in light of exposition of Scripture to designate the intent of the singular over the plural. The Bible is a little like a jigsaw puzzle: it has many pieces but until they are all put together into one unified composition (picture), the pieces are useless or at best, unfinished. So it is with The Revelation. It is, to say, “The Final Piece” of the overall puzzle of the Bible; without this final part the picture is incomplete. And without the previous books, The Revelation makes no sense any more than putting the last piece of a puzzle on the table and calling it a complete picture.
Part of the completed picture must also include the instruction that taking one piece out of the puzzle, or breaking the Bible message into “revelations” (many) instead of Revelation (one) will result in a skewed message. This is why it is important to understand not just the grammatical difference here between the singular and the plural, but the overall implication to the final, complete composition of God’s Word if one piece is removed and treated or taught as a separate idea or practice.
What’s my point? In returning to our discussion of the necessity of exposition for thorough teaching, the same principle applies. If a teacher pulls a verse out of context and uses it for a single application, the surrounding inferences will come from the student’s own experiences and related knowledge. If the student has no base in the background for the material, he will make his own assumptions from personal experience or the teaching of someone else he has heard or read. This has become a commonplace “chance” some teachers risk, and it is unfair to the student to give him an incomplete puzzle to fit together any way he can with whatever leftover puzzle pieces he finds in his personal background. A good teacher makes every attempt to put all of the puzzle pieces in front of the student and to help that individual fit them together properly to form a complete picture.