Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem - This post is part of my year-long journey through Dr. Wayne Grudem's world-renowned Systematic Theology. I welcome and hope for your interaction.
The Four Characteristics of Scripture: (2) Clarity
There is a school of thought that suggests that the world made a significant change once the Bible was translated so that the common man could for himself read and understand the Bible.
Prior to the Reformation, the Bible was only available in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Therefore, it was nearly impossible for the common man to consider reading the Bible for himself.
John Wycliffe (c. 1328 – 31 December 1384), an early dissodent of the Roman Catholic Church, opposed this harboring of the Bible and in 1382 translated the Bible into English in what is now known as the Wycliffe Bible.
Carol and I attended a traveling museum, a few years back, called From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Bible in America. The museum's collection includes hundreds of Bibles. It was here that I was able to photograph scores of important Bibles in history including Wycliffe's Poor Man's Bible (pictured above).
In the sixth chapter of Grudem's text, we come upon the the doctrine of clarity which he defines as:
"The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it."
As Grudem points out in his lecture (see audio below), the Bible itself makes it clear that it is understandable with God's help and obedience. Further, the Bible instructs that we should become students of God's words protrayed in the Bible.
But here is an important fact for all of us to consider: if the people in the pews are not reading the Bible for themselves, then they are certain to come under the spell of hucksters seeking their own personal gain.
I remember reading of Martin Luther's humiliation as he witnessed people crawling on their bloody knees giving alms to the Roman Catholic Church hoping to buy their way into heaven.
It was this very scene that birthed the Reformation in Luther's heart and brought about his ninety-five theses that he nailed to the church door in Wittenberg.
I have read the Bible through, cover to cover, twice now in the last two years. I can personally attest that a great deal of the Bible is easily understandable. Certainly there are things difficult to understand, and further, there are things in the Bible that are complete mysteries to us.
But, these few things shouldn't prevent us from the blessings of the whole. As Paul told Timothy:
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (Timothy 3:16-17)
I desire to be competent and equipped for every good work. How about you?