Be Alone with the New Testament

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Ps. 119:130

Perspicuity of scripture is the belief that the Bible is sufficiently clear for open-hearted and spiritually-seeking individuals with some degree of faith to understand the Bible’s intent enabling them to come to faith and repentance in Christ. Evangelicals affirm that a man or woman with some measure of literacy can pick-up the Bible and understand it sufficiently to come to saving faith in Christ.

In fact, Evangelicals believe that the difficulty with the Bible is not understanding it, but obeying it. This is the rub, do we make the Bible complicated because we want to avoid the obvious truth of the Word? Do we avoid Scripture study because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit and his desire to conform us to Christ? Are we afraid to be alone with the New Testament?

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?

Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.

Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Soren Kierkegaard , ed. Charles E. Moore (Rifton, NY: The Plough, 2011).

HT: Scott Howard

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