The Clarity of the Scriptures

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. ReformedBaptist

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    As I work through my first course with The Midwest Center of Theological Studies (MCTS) I will be sharing some things from time to time. My first course at MCTS is in Symbolics in which I am studying through the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. I rejoiced in this course because my family subscribes to the LBCF as well as our church. The first chapter of the confession deals with the Holy Scriptures. Concerning the clarity of the Scriptures the confession reads:

    I find both amazing and expected that such a statement, written 319 years ago, is very applicable today. It is amazing because of the age of the statement. But it is expected because men were as much sinners in the 1600's as they are today. How many times have we been perplexed or talked with others who are perplexed at the multitude of interpretations that men and churches have of the Scriptures. How many debates continue among Christians concerning some doctrine or another? It is not plain that all things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all? Indeed it is.

    Yet those things which are necessary to be known to make us wise for salvation are so clearly taught in Scripture that even a child can understand it. The classic text of Scripture showing us that is is the case is found in 2 Timothy 3:15-17 which reads,


    The Aposlte by the Holy Spirit wrote to Timothy that even from a child he has known the Holy Scriptures which are able to him wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus! What a great consolation and comfort this is for Christian parents seeking to raise their children in the fear and admonision of the Lord. And what a strong encouragement that they see to it that their children a reared in the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments! We must not begin to think that Scriptures are too difficult for them to understand. There will be parts that indeed will be hard to understand, but of the doctrines of salvation they are so clearly taught and explained that they are able to give that wisdom and knowledge of salvation which is in Christ Jesus.

    Several years ago I was reading the Gospel of John to my eldest daughter. I cannot remember exactly what passage I was reading to her, but while I was reading the Scriptures to her she sat up on the bed and exclaimed, "I believe! I believe!" We noticed from that time a difference in her life and to this day she continues to show the fruits of her faith in Christ. And truly it is written in that Gospel, "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31

    The Scriptures are indeed clear and sufficient to lead anyone who can hear or read them to faith in the Lord Jesus. Yet the Scriptures are also sufficient that the man of God may also benefit. The man of God, that is the minister of the Word of God namely the elders, may by the Scriptures and illumination of the Holy Spirit in them, be thoroughly equipped for all good works.

    This positive assertion that the Scriptures are clear and sufficient refutes the notion I have heard entertained that some things necessary for our lives as it relates to the glory of God, faith, and the obedience of the Christian we will never know. Brethren, we must not speak in this manner. Rather, let us plead our own ignorance and lack of understanding because if we do not we find ourselves in danger of suggesting that the Scriptures are not sufficient after all. Consider what the Apostle Peter wrote concerning the writings of Paul,



    Peter acknowledges the fact that some things which the Apostle Paul wrote are hard to understand. He did not say all things are hard to understand, but that some things are. But look at what he goes on to say. Who are those that he says "wrest" or twist the Scriptures? Is it not those who are unlearned and unstable? And this they also do with the other Scriptures (also, consequently, calling Paul's writings Scripture) unto their own destruction.

    Friends, even the hard things of the word of God are suffient, although not equally clear to all. Let us be careful, if we desire to be students of the Scriptures, to be diligent in our study of them. When we seek to understand some doctrine or another let's make a hard work of it and not be lazy in it, being careful that we are not wresting the Scripture but rightly dividing the word of truth. And if we find ourselves still unable to come to a clear understanding on some matter or another, let us not be so proud in our own opinion and abilities to resent seeking understanding from the man of God.

    Soli Deo Gloria

    Posted this to my blog also..
     
  2. Deacon

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    I plead ignorance, I'm not sure what you're saying in the section quoted.
    You write in a 18th century holiness style.
    Is there a New Living Translation of your blog.

    Rob
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Nope. :jesus:
     
  4. Rippon

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    Get er' done RB. At least up-date the language on par with the TNIV.
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    It makes perfect sense to me. And I have never read the Totally Not Inspired Version. :laugh:
     
  6. Rippon

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    Neither have I. You do know (kidding aside) that no version is inspired,don't you?

    If we haven't had this discussion before... oops. I just realized that I'm on the wrong subject in the wrong forum.
     
  7. ReformedBaptist

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    I don't mind the aside. I agree with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. That should clear things up regarding my view.
     
  8. stilllearning

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    Hi Deacon

    I have a comment about, how your question to ReformedBaptist, matches up so closely with your “signature”:
    My interpretation of this verse, differs from yours.....
    I believe, that “that which is perfect”, is talking about the completed and canonized Bible.
    -It is perfect!-
     
  9. Thinkingstuff

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    What is that statement? I've never read it. How do you compare that to what Jerome said of the scriptures or Augustine?
     
  10. ReformedBaptist

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  11. Thinkingstuff

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  12. ReformedBaptist

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    Sure. But don't spend too much trying to find it. I can live without it. :)
     
  13. Thinkingstuff

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    How? You're a seminarian!
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

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    I have the Scriptures! Speaking of seminarian, the answer to your previous inquireis regarding how we know what Scripture is is three-fold:

    1. The self-authenticating nature of general revelation
    2. The self-authenticating nature of the Holy Scriptures
    3. The testimony of the Holy Spirit to the Scriptures

    "But with regard to the question, 'How shall we be persuaded of its divine original, unless we have recourse to the decree of the church?' This is just as if anyone should enquire, "How shall we learn to distinguish light from darkness, white from black, sweek from biiter?" For the Scripture exhibits as clear evidence of its truth, as white and black things do of their color, or sweet and bitter things of their taste." -John Calvin, Institutes
     
  15. Deacon

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    Since this thread is already going many directions I'll answer this question.
    Read more of the context of the verse.

    When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
    Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.
    All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

    1 Corinthians 13:11-12 NLT

    Do you know completely just as God knows you?

    I certainly don't!
    I believe the verse speaks of a future state more closely related to what Paul speaks about in Ephesians 4:11-16.

    Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
    Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
    This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

    Ephesians 4:11-13 NLT

    Rob
     
  16. Thinkingstuff

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    So what you are basically saying is that scripture states of itself that it is true. That General revelation is true because it has showed itself to be so (generally). And that all of this is revealed by the Holy Spirit? Is this correct?
     
  17. ReformedBaptist

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    Yes, but concerning the testimony of the Holy Spirit, I would add clarification that it is a work of the Holy Spirit to remove from man that unethical principle in man (sin, depravity) that motivates him to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. It is only after regeneration that a person truly sees the Scriptures as the Word of the Living God.

    The Scriptures are self-authenticating and there are numerous evidences of this from Scripture itself and observations that can be made.
     
  18. Thinkingstuff

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    I would submit that the scriptural evidence of self-authenticating are for the OT, and of that "all scriptures are inspired" the LXX was in mind to include apocryphal books; which brings into question the NT . What authentication for the New?
     
  19. MB

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    What has the LBCF have to do with the clarity of scriptures? It certainly isn't scripture nor does it line up perfectly with scripture.
    Anyone who can read can understand enough of scripture for Salvation. Besides man doesn't read scripture with out the drawing because scripture is light.
    MB
     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    If you don't get it...don't worry about it. :laugh:
     

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