Rightly Dividing and Perspicuity — “Love for Dummies”?

“That Book in Your Hand”

This evening, after you eat the lovely supper your wife made for you, you have a message for her.  You stand up, walk around the table, pull her to her feet, look her in the eye, smile, and say, “Thank you, my dear, that was wonderful.  I love you, and I want to do something special for you.  I want things to be perfect between us — so I’m never going to talk to you directly again.”

Rewind

Sermons on the nature of the Bible:

  1. The inspiration of the Scriptures, their divine nature, from II Timothy 3:16.
  2. The moving of the Spirit in giving us the Scriptures, from II Peter 1:19-21.
  3. The inerrancy of God’s Word (its complete reliability).
  4. The preservation of God’s Word.
  5. The illumination of the Scriptures, the work of the Holy Spirit in helping us to understand spiritual truths.

Previous posts on this sixth sermon on the “perspicuity” of the Scriptures (the doctrine that they are clear and understandable):

What Kind of a Relationship is THAT?

You love her.  But it is long past time to really set things right in this relationship, and that means making sure she understands you.  So instead of talking to her, you hired someone to handle it.  You go to the door and bring him in.

He says to her, while you look on and nod, “I’m your husband’s priest.  You can’t understand the things he says very well on your own, so I’m going to talk to you for him and explain it all to you.  It’s much better that way.”

Your kids protest that this is insane, and your priest says, “Well, there’s hidden truths in his words that your mother would miss.   Some of it is beyond her.  We can’t have that.  His messages are too lofty to speak in terms she can understand.  No, there’s going to have to be a guru or priest or somebody to fill her in on the deeper meanings.  Otherwise, she’ll get it wrong sometimes!”

Prediction:
You’re going to have an AMAZING marital relationship from now on!

*******

In previous posts on the perspicuity (clarity and understandability) of the Scriptures, we’ve seen both the responsibility and the possibility of interpretation.  We’ve looked at the fact that understanding the meaning of Scriptures is not always easy, but that God communicated with us in terms we could understand.  In this third and final post, I want to get to the central issue of perspicuity.

It’s All About God’s Love

God loves you.  That’s the point, and the proof, of perspicuity.  He wants fellowship, a close, loving relationship with you.  He loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for you.  He uses marriage to illustrate His love for you.  When He chose that illustration, He didn’t have in mind a marriage where a husband speaks two languages, and talks to his wife only in the one she doesn’t understand….

God could talk to us in Divine terms we can’t comprehend, or He can talk to us in human terms which we can understand.  He is quite capable of handling either one.  Which did He do?  Does any sane person think God would condescend to die as a man but wouldn’t condescend to speak in terms we can understand?

The Scriptures can be understood by mortal man.  Proof?  Two verses, perhaps more than any others, prove this doctrine:

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:32

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

The Cross of Christ proves the perspicuity of Scripture 

If God loves you enough to send His Son to die for you, He loves you enough to be willing to talk to you in terms you can understand.  That’s part of the “all things” His love freely gives us.

If you believe those verses and yet deny the perspicuity of Scripture, you have accomplished an amazing pinnacle of illogical thought.  You probably bought a “Love for Dummies” book and think you’ll help your marriage by talking to your wife through a “priest.”

*******

The Scriptures teach of Christ, of God’s love, of what a right and loving relationship with God means.  That’s why the Scriptures are clear — so we can understand the Cross, and all it means for us, for this life and the one to come.

The Cross of Christ is the point of the perspicuity of Scripture

God’s love and the perspicuity of Scripture are implicitly and irrevocably intertwined.  You can’t have one without the other.  Deny perspicuity and you deny His love.  Deny His love and perspicuity is a sick joke.  His love proves perspicuity, and perspicuity proves His love.

Is God’s Word difficult sometimes?  Of course it is.  But you can understand it.  The Cross of Christ proves it.  We can either hide from our responsibility to know the Scriptures by denying His love and saying it is too hard, or we can rejoice in His love, quit messing around, and really get serious about His Word.

I’ll take the message of the Cross and the Scriptures.  Care to join me?

Next main article:  The Canon of Scripture

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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