Perspicuity of Scripture

TomFL

Well-known member
A doctrine maintaining that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the *salvation obtained through him are clearly presented in Scripture. In protest against a common view at the time prior to the *Reformation that Scripture is too complicated for ordinary people to understand apart from church *tradition and the mediation of priests, *Luther and other Reformers argued for biblical perspicuity. The doctrine influenced both their passion for Bible *translation and their preference for simple *preaching in the vernacular. Affirming perspicuity does not eradicate the need for skilled biblical interpretation or imply that every part of Scripture is plain and clear. Rather, it affirms that the message of Scripture is presented with enough clarity that it can be understood, at least at a basic level, without advanced theological or exegetical training.
from Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition

The Westminster confession notes

VII. All things in scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 19.
 

Sketo

Well-known member
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:12

The “Spirit who is from God” is necessary in order to “understand the things freely given us by God”!

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:13

Remember this verse does NOT say “interpreting spiritual truths to those who are” natural!

Why
?

The natural (psuchikos) person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. - 1 Corinthians 2:14

Natural (psuchikos) man must be regenerated, made spiritual (pneumatikos) man first, in order to understand and believe the Gospel!

There are only 2 options

psuchikos man or pneumatikos man
No other option!

Now what are these "things of the Spirit of God" which people can't grasp without first being made spiritual alive/ regenerated first?

The context makes this very clear. Notice the word "folly" or "foolishness" in verse 14.
Whatever "the things of the Spirit of God" are, they are folly to the natural man. Chapter 1, verse 18 shows us what this is: "The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved (by regeneration) it is the power of God."
The same thing in verses 23–24: "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called (regenerated), both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

In other words, what the natural man can't understand is the heart of the Christian message—the word of the cross - without first being regenerated!



Even Paul himself calls his message “folly”...

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. - 1 Corinthians 1:21

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. - 1 Corinthians 2:2


Regeneration Necessarily Precedes Faith!
Regeneration Has A Specific Purpose in Salvation!
 
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TomFL

Well-known member
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:12

The “Spirit who is from God” is necessary in order to “understand the things freely given us by God”!

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:13
Are you disputing the Westminster confession ?

The pocket dictionary of the reformed tradition

We already know you dispute scripture with that repeat cut and paste

Plain statements indicating the perspicuity of the scriptures

John 20:31 (KJV 1900)

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This clearly presupposes the gospel may be understood

2 Timothy 3:15 (KJV 1900)

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

presupposes Holy scriptures may be understood

1 Peter 1:21–25 (KJV 1900)

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Man is regenerated through faith in the Gospel

Isaiah 55:11 (KJV 1900)

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:

It shall not return unto me void,

But it shall accomplish that which I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God’s word prospers in whatever it is set out to do

Psalm 19:7 (KJV 1900)

7 ………………………The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:130 (KJV 1900)

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light;

It giveth understanding unto the simple.

Self explanitory

Romans 1:16 (KJV 1900)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


Romans 10:17 (KJV 1900)

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The word of God brings faith. It must be understood to do so

Hebrews 4:12 (KJV 1900)

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.



2) The bible reveals man’s problem is not that he does not understand the gospel but that he refuses to believe

2 Thessalonians 2:10 (KJV 1900)

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Romans 11:19–23 (KJV 1900)

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

Hebrews 4:2 (KJV 1900)

2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

3) Warnings about hardening your heart make no sense if the gospel cannot be understood

Hebrews 3:7 (KJV 1900)

7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,



Hebrews 3:15 (KJV 1900)

15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.



Hebrews 4:7 (KJV 1900)

7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.



4) If man cannot understand the gospel why would God blind men so they could not believe

John 12:40 (KJV 1900)

40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

Or speaks to men in parables so they would not understand

Mark 4:11–12 (KJV 1900)

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Why would the devil blind anyone

2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV 1900)

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
 

TomFL

Well-known member
A doctrine maintaining that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the *salvation obtained through him are clearly presented in Scripture. In protest against a common view at the time prior to the *Reformation that Scripture is too complicated for ordinary people to understand apart from church *tradition and the mediation of priests, *Luther and other Reformers argued for biblical perspicuity. The doctrine influenced both their passion for Bible *translation and their preference for simple *preaching in the vernacular. Affirming perspicuity does not eradicate the need for skilled biblical interpretation or imply that every part of Scripture is plain and clear. Rather, it affirms that the message of Scripture is presented with enough clarity that it can be understood, at least at a basic level, without advanced theological or exegetical training.
from Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition

The Westminster confession notes

VII. All things in scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 19.
Yet another Calvinist source


The Four Characteristics of Scripture: (2) Clarity

Can only Bible scholars understand the Bible rightly?


EXPLANATION AND SCRIPTURAL BASIS

Anyone who has begun to read the Bible seriously will realize that some parts can be understood very easily while other parts seem puzzling. In fact, very early in the history of the church Peter reminded his readers that some parts of Paul’s epistles were difficult to understand: “So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15–16). We must admit therefore that not all parts of Scripture are able to be understood easily.
But it would be a mistake to think that most of Scripture or Scripture in general is difficult to understand. In fact, the Old Testament and New Testament frequently affirm that Scripture is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by ordinary believers. Even in Peter’s statement just quoted, the context is an appeal to the teachings of Paul’s letter, which Peter’s readers had read and understood (2 Peter 3:15). In fact, Peter assigns some moral blame to those who twist these passages “to their own destruction.” And he does not say that there are things impossible to understand, but only difficult to understand.


A. The Bible Frequently Affirms Its Own Clarity

The Bible’s clarity and the responsibility of believers generally to read it and understand it are often emphasized. In a very familiar passage, Moses tells the people of Israel:

And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 6:6–7)

All the people of Israel were expected to be able to understand the words of Scripture well enough to be able to “teach them diligently” to their children. This teaching would not have consisted merely of rote memorization devoid of understanding, for the people of Israel were to discuss the words of Scripture during their activities of sitting in the house or walking or going to bed or getting up in the morning. God expected that all of his people would know and be able to talk about his Word, with proper application to ordinary situations in life. Similarly, Psalm 1 tells us that the “blessed man,” whom all the righteous in Israel were to emulate, was one who meditated on God’s law “day and night” (Ps. 1:2). This daily meditation assumes an ability to understand Scripture rightly on the part of those who meditate.
The character of Scripture is said to be such that even the “simple” can understand it rightly and be made wise by it. “The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7). Again we read, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). Here the “simple” person (Heb. פֶּתִי, H7343) is not merely one who lacks intellectual ability, but one who lacks sound judgment, who is prone to making mistakes, and who is easily led astray. God’s Word is so understandable, so clear, that even this kind of person is made wise by it. This should be a great encouragement to all believers: no believer should think himself or herself too foolish to read Scripture and understand it sufficiently to be made wise by it.


Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 105–106.
 
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