Clarity of Scripture

Bible, Clarity of Scripture, Truth No Comments

The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture, also called the perspicuity of Scripture, teaches that the meaning of a biblical text can be clear to the ordinary student of God’s Word.  God uses the text of the Bible to communicate His nature and His will to man.  The mind of God is revealed to the mind and heart of man through the inspired Word of God.  The human mind is fully capable of knowing and understanding God’s Word.  In John 8:32, Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”  In Eph. 5:17, the apostle Paul wrote, “Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
While some passages of Scripture are more difficult to understand than others, these more difficult passages are also capable of being understood (II Pet. 3:16).  Peter recognizes that Paul wrote some things that are difficult to understand.  However, he did not say that they were impossible to understand.
Satan used various means to obscure the truth.  For instance, he is the father of lies (John 8:44).  He uses false doctrines and false ideologies to deceive men (Matt. 7:15; II Tim. 4:1-5; II Pet. 2). Knowledge of the truth is the only way to distinguish the lies of Satan from the truths of God’s Word.  We must study God’s word and interpret it correctly in order to understand it properly.
Consider the following passages that affirm the clarity of the Scriptures.  Moses states, “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deut. 30:11-14).  “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psa. 119:18).  “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17-18).  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16).  Other passages for your consideration are: II Cor. 4:6; Phil. 3:15-16; and II Pet. 1:3-4; 16-21).
The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture is a safeguard against the Roman Catholic Church which asserts that Scripture is unclear apart from the interpretive framework of the Catholic Church and its traditions.  It also safeguards against Postmodernism which asserts that subjective experience should be preferred over knowing the originally intended meaning of Scripture.  We do not create our own reality as postmodernists affirm.  God defines reality both by His creative work and His special revelation given in the Bible.