Original Research

Revelation as a discourse of language through speech act theory

Anna Cho
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6271 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6271 | © 2021 Anna Cho | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2020 | Published: 16 February 2021

About the author(s)

Anna Cho, Department of Theology, Faculty of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch,, South Africa


Systematic theology regards revelation as a divine discourse between God and us. However, it seems that it does not fully explain how God’s divine discourse transforms our life and what implications it has. Therefore, this article suggests investigating ‘revelation as a discourse of language’ in the light of speech act theory (SAT). If we illuminate revelation as a discourse of language as a SAT, the following three hermeneutical contributions to revelation are expected: firstly, revelation is a ‘communicative act’ between God and believer as a ‘discourse of language’ of God; secondly, it shows how the language of revelation bridges the gap between ‘divine language’ and ‘human language’ in terms of revelation as a discourse of language, and thirdly, it confirms how God’s Word (revelation) is real in the lives of believers.

Contribution: While this article engages the traditional theological notion of revelation as a discourse of language between God and humans, it argues that reconsidering this notion in the light of speech act theory. It can explain God’s language discourse transforms the lives of believers and the Word (revelation) is fulfilled in their lives.


Revelation; discourse of language; communicative act; speech act theory; realization of revelation


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