Of The Holy Scriptures
Chapter 1, Paragraph 7
“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all;…”
2 Peter 3:16. What does Peter say is hard to understand?
There are churches that preach the Gospel. Yet how they understand other matters of Christian theology and practice differ. One example would be Reformed Baptist churches and Reformed Presbyterian churches. Both preach a saving Gospel, yet how and to whom baptism is to be administered differs between the two groups. Another example would be whether women should wear headcoverings in worship. Some earnest Christians believe Scripture clearly teaches such a notion; yet other, equally earnest Christians do not think it such a clear-cut issue. How do we determine who is correct?
The approach to Scripture’s hard teachings varies. Some throw up their hands and decide to not bother with what these difficult parts of Scripture say.”Who cares? As long as they preach the gospel, anything else doesn’t matter.” Others say that they have no need for commentaries or aid from learned pastors and teachers: “The Bible states it, therefore I know it means this and don’t need any opinions of man!” Neither of these stances respect or recognize the efforts of God-fearing, gifted theologians who have wrestled with the difficult texts in order to aid the Church.
Our approach should be different than nonchalance or stubborn pride. There are parts of Scripture that take work -yes, work!- to understand, and there are conflicting views concerning their meaning, but that should not scare us from rolling up our sleeves and putting forth the effort. We also should make use of the resources available to us in comprehending these portions of God’s Word. Most importantly, we should humbly trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.
Questions to Consider
- What are some parts of Scripture you find hard to understand?
- Are you patient with Christians who have a different understanding of secondary issues?
- Are you willing to strive toward a clearer understanding of these hard passages?