So far we have seen that God-breathed Scripture is absolutely sure and unbreakable, and that it shall never pass away. How then are sinful men going to avoid submitting to it? Many try to ignore it. Others attack it, calling it "cunningly devised fables" (II Peter 1:16). Others argue that the Bible’s meaning is simply a matter of personal opinion: "That’s what you say it means!" Many try all three of these methods to avoid obeying God’s Word. Moreover, Peter even writes of these who are "unlearned and unstable" who "wrest" or twist the writings of Paul and "the other scriptures" (II Peter 3:15-16).
The "other scriptures" (16) certainly include the inspired OT. Paul’s epistles (15) are also Scripture, placed on a par with the OT as divine writings, since Peter refers to the OT as "other scriptures" (16). The OT, all the inspired letters Paul wrote, and indeed the remaining NT books constitute the sacred Scriptures. The 39 OT and 27 NT books are the product of divine "wisdom" (15) given to God’s chosen penmen. Wisdom is that which perfectly adapts to reality, and all Scripture perfectly accords with the reality of the sovereign Triune God and His redemption in Christ Jesus. The 66 books of the Scriptures, as the product of Jehovah’s infinite wisdom, are a perfect unity and contain no mistakes. For what part have errors in God’s wisdom?
There are, however, difficult parts in God’s Word—in the OT, in Paul’s epistles and in the rest of the NT—for there are "some things hard to be understood" in the Scriptures (16). This does not oppose the orthodox doctrine of the perspicuity or clarity of Scripture. "Hard to be understood" does not mean impossible to be understood. Furthermore, "some things" are "hard to be understood;" not all or even most things; merely somethings. This means that most of the Bible is not hard to understand. As the Psalmist says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105). Thus "ordinary" believers—and not just church officers or those with theological degrees—can and must read the Scriptures in the confidence that most of Scripture can be understood. There are some hard bits, but do not let them discourage you. Interpret the hard parts in the light of the easier parts. Study more diligently. Pray over the Word for divine illumination. Use commentaries or ask an orthodox church teacher.
The infinitely wise God included some hard parts in Scripture in order to serve our salvation. These difficulties subdue our pride and stir us up to pray and search the Word. Moreover, we often only esteem that which we obtain with difficulty. God also uses the difficult sections of His Word to snare the wicked, for they twist especially the hard parts of Scripture to their own destruction (16), as we shall see (DV).
- Volume: 9
- Issue: 9
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851