“Sometimes a Koala is just a Koala, and a cigar is just a cigar, and a verse is just what it says.”
Recently, I wrote on the sufficiency of Scripture. One way to reject Scripture’s sufficiency is by trying to make it say something it isn’t saying. We try to find a “deeper truth” in the verses, or force a verse to be talking about the Gospel in ways that it really isn’t. This not only violates the perspicuity of Scripture (an earlier topic in my Bibliology series), it offends sufficiency — we’re effectively deciding that what the verse says isn’t really good enough, that we need to find another deeper truth.
So, this was running through my mind when I encountered a comment in a discussion on Kent Brandenburg’s “What is Truth” blog. Joshua graciously gave permission to repeat the whole thing here.
Perhaps unwelcome levity, but my Dad told me this joke when I was a kid:
There once was a Sunday School teacher in Australia who wanted to teach the children about the wonder of God in creating the animals. So as we do here, she called all the children out the front during the “kids spot” section of church, and sat them all down in front of the congregation.
“Okay children” she said, “Tell me what I am. I have grey fur, a black nose, and funny little ears.”
Dead silence greeted her. She tried again:
“Come on children, who knows? I have grey fur, I climb trees, I sleep all day…. I eat gum leaves.. and I have funny little ears”
Again dead silence greeted her. She tried one last time before finally a boy in the back row raised his hand:
“Miss… I know the answer is Jesus, but it sounds like a Koala!”
Sometimes a Koala is just a Koala, and a cigar is just a cigar, and a verse is just what it says. If the verse says that an unjust balance is an abomination to the Lord, it means He hates cheating in business. It’s not about how 21st people can only be balanced if they accept Jesus.
The Scriptures testify of Christ (John 5:39), but that doesn’t mean every verse has any kind of direct reference to Him. Maybe we aren’t supposed to find Christ in every one of the Proverbs, even though Proverbs certainly tells us much of Him.
If the Scriptures are sufficient, and they are, we should let them speak for themselves, rather than trying to add extra layers of meaning. What that verse says is sufficient for the purpose for which God gave it to us, and we have no right to give it another purpose — even if that purpose is about Jesus. Thanks to Joshua for a memorable story that makes the point so well.