14 October 2005

Perspicuity of the Scriptures (Intro)

LBC2 1.7 "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them. (2 Peter 3:16; Psalms 19:7; Psalms 119:130)"

This statement in the Second London Baptist Confession intrigues me. (It comes over directly from the Westminster Confession.) I wish I could ask the pastors and theologians who penned the words a number of questions.

(1) The first question is philosophical or specifically epistemological. The God of the confessions is not a God I can comprehend. How can I be sure that any communication between us can be "plain," or "clear"?

(2) The last two questions are hermeneutical. First, does being "learned" help with understanding those "things in Scripture [which] are not...plain in themselves"? Or in other words what role does external learning have in exegesis?

(3) Second, what constitutes "due use of ordinary means"?

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