“Cumulative Revelation?” Nah, Stick with “Progressive Revelation”

“My personal preference is to speak of ‘cumulative’ revelation. It would be possible to see the word ‘progressive’ as registering an advance from a ‘primitive’ to a ‘mature’ understanding, leaving the ‘primitive’ behind. This is not what happens in the Bible: hence the word ‘cumulative’ is preferable. Truth is built up layer upon layer, so that nothing is lost. The earlier statement is not primitive but partial— part of the complete whole that is yet to be.” -Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament

BTW NOTE: I don’t think Motyer is correct here. It’s not merely that layer is added to layer, nor that there is a cumulative build up of truth across Scripture. That overstates the unity of revelation. There is an age of types and shadows and there is an age of fulfillment. With the age of fulfillment, it’s not just that layers are added, but some things are taken away and replaced by other ideas.

‘Law’ is Broader than ‘Commandments’ in the OT

“We must be very careful over that word because in our common use it means regulations, prescriptions, bits and bobs to be obeyed. ‘Law’ suggests a narrow focus on rules, legislation, even on restrictions and prohibitions, but, in the Bible, ‘law’ means ‘teaching’. It has its regulatory, legalistic component, but basically it means an imparting of the truth that the Lord wishes to share with His people. Proverbs 4: 1– 2 is a good illustration: ‘Hear, my children (lit., sons), the instruction of a father… Do not forsake my law.’” -Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament