Psalm 19:7-8 "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes."
In yesterday's post we briefly considered the sufficiency of the Bible for everyday life, spiritual life and the life to come. We meditated upon this important trait or attribute of the Bible, noting that it occupies four main attributes expounded by various Bible teachers: sufficiency, clarity, authority and necessity. In today's post we want to consider the second of these important attributes, namely the Bible's clarity.
Clarity of the Bible
The clarity of the Bible is perhaps the most attacked attribute of scripture in the 21st century. Skeptics often will accuse the Old Testament of portraying a mean, vengeful God and the New Testament presenting the God of love. Such accusations make the Bible out to be a fragmented book that is unclear when it comes to presenting the full-treatment of God's revelation.
A quick caveat from church history will reveal that indictments about the Bible's inconsistency and lack of clarity are not new. In the second century we find similar accusations from a heretic named “Marcion” who rejected all of the Bible except portions of Luke and some of Paul’s letters. Is the Bible unclear and fragmented in its revelation of God? Not at all! In addition to the Bible’s sufficiency, we must also affirm its clarity or by the older term used by some: “perspicuity”, to grasp why such attacks are unwarranted. Author Kevin DeYoung offers the following definition:
“the perspicuity of Scripture upholds the notion that ordinary people using ordinary means can accurately understand enough of what must be known, believed and observed for them to be faithful Christians.”
Does clarity lead us to conclude that every verse of scripture is going to be easy to understand? No. We must compare harder to understand portions to those portions of scripture that speak more clearly. The Apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:16 of how some of Paul’s letters were hard to understand and yet Peter affirmed that one’s Christian understanding could be clearly enlightened by the “great and precious promises” of the Bible in 2 Peter 1:3-4.
Thankfully, the Christian is not left to their own devices to figure out the meaning of the Bible. The Holy Spirit has been sent to aid, guide and instruct our hearts and minds as we read and study the scriptures through His ministry called “illumination” (see 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 1 John 2:20,27). Great passages that speak further on this attribute of clarity are: Psalm 19:7-8; Habakkuk 2:2; Psalm 119:104; Psalm 119:89,160; Isaiah 40:8; Proverbs 6:23; John 16:12-14; 1 Corinthians 2:13 and 1 John 2:20,27.