This is the fourth post in a series on the biblical view of the Bible. In previous installments we have briefly touched upon things such as the inspiration, authority, and inerrancy of the Bible. And that brings us to another very important attribute of Scripture – its clarity. (Theologians commonly refer to this as the “perspicuity” of Scripture – somewhat ironically, not exactly the easiest term to understand!) In other words, the Bible is clear.
So the Bible can be understood without a secret decoder ring. And it can be understood by people other than religious professionals with advanced degrees and lots of letters behind their names. (There is nothing wrong with advanced degrees, of course, but they are not prerequisites for reading and comprehending the truths of Scripture.) The Bible is meant to be read and understood by both the simplest child and the most learned scholar alike. It is an open book.
Now to say that the Bible is clear does not mean that everything in the Bible is equally clear or easy to understand. The Bible itself even tells us so. No less than the Apostle Peter attested to this fact in one of his epistles. In 2 Peter 3:15-16 he writes,
“And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” (ESV)
Even Peter himself said that some things in the letters of Paul “are hard to understand” (v.16)! Ever have difficulty understanding something in one of the epistles of Paul? Welcome to the club! Nevertheless, the essential message of Scripture (especially the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ) is abundantly clear.
We may not always know what to make of all of the different visions in the Old Testament prophetic books or in the book of Revelation, but it doesn’t take a Ph.D to read and understand the basics: that there is one true and living God who created the universe and everything in it; that we have all sinned against Him and are in need of a Savior; that God has sent His only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be the one and only Savior of sinners; and that whoever trusts in Christ will be saved! You can read and understand the Bible, and I sincerely hope this helps you to do just that.