That You May Believe

In previous posts we examined:

  • That only worship and service that is authorized by God is acceptable to Him. (“By What Authority?“)
  • God has revealed this authority through the scriptures. (“These Are Written“)

Some, however, have argued that Bible is too hard to understand. Or, that everybody that reads it will understand it in their own way and therefore it can mean anything.

What does the Bible reveal about this?

  • 1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. [Luke 1:1-4 NKJV]
    • Was Luke correct that by reading his account the reader could have confidence in their knowledge of Jesus’ life and teachings?
  • 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. [John 20:30-31 NKJV]
    • Did John, in fact, write his gospel in such a way that someone reading can come to believe in Jesus?
  • 1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles– 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: [Ephesians 3:1-5 NKJV] –
    • Did Paul write a book that when it was read would give the reader the same insights Paul had or not?
  • 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden [wisdom] which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed [them] to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [1 Corinthians 2:7-13 NKJV]
    • Paul says his words reveal the word of God as revealed word for word by the Holy Spirit. Will we say that the Holy Spirit does not know how to reveal things in a way that man can understand them?

All of these passages show that the Bible was written in a way to be understood. In fact, God considered them clear enough that He Himself said the scriptures are all that a man of God needs to fulfill His work: “16 All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. [2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV]”

This does not mean that all scripture is easy to understand:

15 and consider [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable [people] twist to their own destruction, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures. [2 Peter 3:15-16 NKJV]

But, notice that Peter’s answer to this is neither to throw our hands up in despair nor to simply turn to the “scholars” for the answers. He puts the responsibility on the reader to be aware of this danger and grow in knowledge to avoid the pitfalls:

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know [this] beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory both now and forever. Amen. [2 Peter 3:17-18 NKJV]

As a closing thought, think about the whole concept that God would not reveal His word in a way that men can understand it. What would that say about God’s power and ability? What would we think of a man who could not write a book that other men could understand? Would we blame the reader or the author? Thus, claiming that God’s revealed word is not understandable is an accusation against God and His ability to reveal His word.

Which God do you believe in? The one with the knowledge and wisdom to reveal His word to man in a way that can be understood or the God who can’t?

Dan Fontenot

(Note: Verse references are clickable links that will open the verses in context in BlueLetterBible.org)

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