So far we have spend a good bit of time looking at how the Bible presents itself as God’s sufficient revelation of all that we need to know for life in this world and for our entrance into the next. However, this does raise a question; is the Bible clear in its teaching?After all haven’t some of the stupidest ideas from some of the craziest people been introduced as coming from the Bible? Probably many of us have been engaged by Jehovah’s Witnesses on the doorstep who were overflowing with confidence in their knowledge of what the Bible said. All of this may leave us wondering if it is even possible for us lesser mortals to know what the Bible is about (if anything).
This is a big subject which I will commence today and in two weeks revisit with a follow up post. DeYoung (we are still following his book Taking God at his word) kicks his chapter off by looking at Deuteronomy 30.11-14;
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
What is said in this part of Scripture can be said of all Scripture. God has given us a clear message. A message which we can clearly understand. A message that doesn’t require us to do mental gymnastics or to engage in a paper chase from Ireland to China as we vainly look for answers. No, God has gone to the trouble of putting all that you need under your nose. Before any court of law ‘ignorance is no excuse’ and this is certainly true before Heaven’s high Court because the Bible is within easy reach of all of us.
But isn’t the Bible heavy going? Something best left to the professionals like priests and theologians? Again the answer is a definite ‘no’. God gave His Word not just to the 'super smart' but to us all. One historic confession of faith puts it very well-
“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them”
This is a very helpful statement about which Kevin DeYoung makes the following points-
Some portions of Scripture are clearer than others. Not every passage has a simple or obvious meaning.
The main things we need to know, believe, and do can be clearly seen in the Bible.
Though the most essential doctrines are not equally clear in every passage, they are all made clear somewhere in Scripture.
That which is necessary for our salvation can be understood even by the uneducated, provided that they make use of the ordinary means of study and learning.
The most important points in the Scriptures may not be understood perfectly, but they can be understood sufficiently (Page 59).
In my next posting we will develop this a little more but for now why not put any reservations which you might have to the test by simply picking up a Bible and reading it for yourself? It is a fact that when Jesus walked this earth, it wasn’t usually the theologians and scholars who flocked to him but the simple ordinary people like you and me. They found, as I think that you will find, that Christ spoke on their level, ministering to where they were at rather than where they weren’t. His Words were powerful, clear and always right on target!