The Perspicuity of Scripture…huh?

This morning in my devotional (Tabletalk, April 30) I read about the clarity of Scripture. The funny thing is that the word used for clarity is “perspicuous.” For most this sounds like a very old, technical and somewhat nebulous term, yet it is a term that we should all come to know and cherish. The first known use of the word is in 1570…53 years after the start of the Protestant Reformation. The use of the word arose in the defense of Christians having the Bible in their own languages, because up to this point, the Medieval Roman Catholic Church had fenced off the Bible from the average person by only allowing the use of the Latin Vulgate Bible. Their rationale was to protect the Bible from being misinterpreted by the common people. Only the most learned and schooled could read Latin.

The Reformers understood that God’s Word was the only authority for rule and life. Thus all other authorities were subject to the Scriptures and based on Deuteronomy 6:6-7:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

All of God’s people have a responsibility to understand and teach the Scriptures in their own homes. It goes without saying that the Hebrews coming out of Egypt were not Scholars…they were slaves, brick layers, stone cutters, they were common people. Even the priestly class had only been in existence 40 years by the time they were getting ready to enter the Promise Land. So the question is, Can I understand the Bible on my own? The answer is yes.

Every believer in Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. If we approach the Scriptures prayerfully and dependent upon the Holy Spirit who will guide you into all truth (John 16:13) then you can have confidence that God’s gospel is spoken clearly and is not hidden from you. The message of salvation, of God’s character, of Jesus’ words, deeds, and promises are clear for all to see. As your pastor, one of the things that I find challenging is trying to convey to you some of the nuanced and deeper meanings of words in the original text without sounding like I have unlocked some secret lost for thousands of years. If you ever feel that way, remember this article, the Scriptures are clear and are made to be understood. Remember Paul’s words to Timothy:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

Grace to You,
Pastor Wally


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