A recent discussion within a previous thread on the BB made me consider and question how we Christians personally arrive at and hold to any of our scriptural beliefs. How is it that we come to correct conclusions about what scripture teaches? It seems that we have a moral obligation to study the scriptures and to pray for guidance, instruction and enlightenment as we do. Especially obligated are those that have or project a dogmatic certainty as to scripture's interpretation. However, it seems reasonable that we should be able to become very certain about the interpretation of scripture. I am in the process of inquiring into Calvinism with the purpose of settling my opinion. Pursuant to this I have been given advice as to how to reach an accurate resolution: 1. Bible Study 2. Prayer 3. Read scholars from both sides. By not coming to a settled opinioin about these two ideas I acknowledge that I am unable to come to much more of a certainty about the understanding of the correctness of this issue than Descartes did about the reality of his own existence. At least if I were to come to a settled opinion, I would, in the worst case, be only "wrong". Who is comfortable with that though? I am willing to change my belief in light of new understanding of scripture, knowing that it would basically overturn my entire understanding of reality that I've had my entire adult life. I have done this at least once, which happened in the past year. Have those who diligently pursued the three steps above made progress toward arriving at a particularly correct opinion? Does God illuminate our mind as through an epiphany such that we do not need to follow the three steps above? Regarding those that do have a correct view of the issue of Calvinism (or any subject for that matter), did they acquire that view by being more humble, spiritual, intelligent, persistent or is it simply that God chose to enlighten their mind in spite of following the good advice given above? It seems that, bound up in this question are the greater 'meta' questions of what is the best model of reality (Calvinism or some degree of radical freewill ). I am concerned that replies will simply be a reflexive parroting of the theology that we each already have and, if that be the case, then what's the use of you replying to this post (so please don't)? I think it is reasonable to presume that respectable men, in all aspects greater than myself, have undertaken such an endeavor with integrity of thought yet arrive at different opinions. Is it the case that man's attempt to understand or reason is not in the slightest bit significant and that only God imparts the understanding but not maybe just not immediately? Should I pray something to the effect that God would just mystically endow me with a correct confidence? If humans are not arriving at their conclusions based on their own God given ability of reasoning and judgment then how do we get to the correct conclusion? Thoughts anyone….?