Is the Bible Understandable?
Paul Dean Dr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog
- 2019 Oct 23
So I had this conversation with a self-avowed-smart-guy who’s not a Christian but reveres the bible and in many ways is quite religious. At the same time, he says we can’t understand the bible or God. No one can know the mind of God says he, so all those who think they know what the bible says are dangerously wrong; Christians are dangerous. Of course, what’s really dangerous is revering the bible if you think it’s a closed book. I wouldn’t waste my time reading the bible if I thought I could never know what it meant.
But I did try to engage him with more than that: on the one hand, there are some things in Scripture that I’m not certain about due to my own sinfulness. On the other hand, there are things in Scripture that are absolutely plain, and anyone can know exactly what’s being said. It is true that we cannot know the mind of God on our own; that’s why God has revealed Himself to us in His word. It’s also true that God is capable of opening our eyes to the truth and communicating to us in a way that we can understand. It would make no sense to worship a god who is either too incompetent or uncaring to communicate clearly to us. That’s why I worship the God of the bible – He has spoken that we might know Him.
So, to all those Christians drinking the pomo Kool-Aid and babbling on about not being able to really understand the words of the bible, I say please drink something else. The Kool-Aid is bad enough, but it’s worse when spiked with self-avowed-smart-guy-nonsense: “well God has revealed Himself in His word but certainly not so that we can understand it.” I wonder how these Christians would answer my self-avowed-smart-guy; “I know you are but what am I?”
Here’s what I ended up saying: “The reason you say you can’t understand the Scriptures, and the reason you believe all kinds of things that contradict them is that you are suppressing the truth (Rom. 1:8f). You are in rebellion against God, and you need to repent of that, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Once you do that, you’ll begin to understand the things God has for those who love Him, because He has revealed them to us by His Spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-12).
The point is you have to believe the bible to be a witness for Christ; you also have to believe it’s understandable in order to believe it. And frankly, you have to believe both of those things to be a Christian. I know I am but what are you?
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