Perspicuity of Scripture


#1

The question is:

“What is, in your opinion, the best argument supporting the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture ?”

Notes :

For the supporters of the perspicuity:

  • the definition of the doctrine you refer to could be usefully quoted
  • assessing whether this is for you a central tenet or a marginal one will be welcome

For fellow catholics and everyone not accepting the doctrine:

  • adding a refutation of the argument you consider the best one will be welcome
  • Please: abstain from comments such as " There is simply no argument whatsoever", or " Clarity of Scripture is *clearly * nonsense", or anything like that.

The spirit of the thread should be a genuine inquiry about the strength of the doctrine, its importance and possibly the implications of both of them.

Thanks in advance to all contributors.


#2

Perhaps the OP could give those of us who aren’t in the know a brief break down of what is meant by the perspicuity of scripture. Some of us might have very strong opinions about it, but are not familiar with that name.


#3

I think it means that the true meanng of the Bible is clearly self-evident to the point that no one needs an interpeter to grasp its deepest meanng. It’s basically an assumption that anyone can pick up the Bible and interpret it correctly so long as they have the Holy Spirit guiding them.

In theory, it works well. There is some truth to this, provided the Holy Spirit is truly interpeting it for them.

In practice, it leads to hundreds of different Christian denominations interpreting the Bible differently too, effectively revealing that not all people are moving by the same Spirit.


#4

This is essentially the issue of material sufficiency of Scripture vs formal sufficiency of Scripture. Material sufficiency of canonical Scripture, would recognize that in one way or another, scripture contains all truths necessary for salvation, or at least the outline. Whereas formal sufficiency not only includes material sufficiency, but that Scriptures would have to be so clear that it does not need any outside information to interpret it. The claim of formal sufficiency of Scriptures is used outside the Church to justify right of private interpretation.

What’s more, the charism of infallibility was given to pope. God never promised lay Catholics, nor any of those outside the Church that the Holy Spirit would protect them in their interpretations or teachings of faith and morals. However, some say that they in essence have this charism of infallibility in protection by the Holy Spirit. It’s certain that the Holy Spirit is capable of doing this. However, that’s not what God promised. Therefore, some claim to have a protection that God never formally granted to them.

Just follow the Church’s teachings on this. Catholic Church does not teach the formal sufficiency of Scripture.


#5

That’s the more radical or “enthusiast” version. The classical Protestant version is best expressed by the Westminster Confession 1.7:

: VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all:[15] 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 the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.[16]

Note the phrase “the due use of the ordinary means.” The argument is not that you just sit down with an English Bible and God zaps the interpretation into your head, but that you devote serious effort to studying the Bible, listening to sermons, reading commentaries, etc., and then (trusting in divine guidance) can be confident that you won’t go astray on the important matters.

I think the strongest argument in favor of perspicuity is the fact that the Fathers frequently (a) assert material sufficiency and (b) cite Scripture in a manner that implies that their readers should be able to see clearly that Scripture supports their position. I.e., you find Athanasius, Augustine, and others saying things like “the Arians [or Manicheans, or whoever] say X, but Scripture clearly says Y, and since Scripture is authoritative it follows that the Arians are wrong.” Reformed (and other Protestant) apologists would argue that this is much more like the way they argue today than like the way Catholics do.

I think there are three responses to be made to this:

  1. The Fathers’ arguments are not as clear as they often claim. They may have thought that Scripture obviously supported their positions, but to us they frequently seem to be using Scripture in rather odd ways, dictated by their theological presuppositions.

  2. Not all the Fathers took this approach, and some who used it at times were not consistent in doing so. Tertullian argued that his opponents had no business citing Scripture at all, because it wasn’t “their book.” Basil fell back on tradition to support his arguments concerning the divinity of the Spirit. Augustine did the same thing to some extent with regard to infant baptism.

  3. Most important, I think, is the fact that the Fathers argue from Scripture in the context of an authoritative Church and a living tradition. This explains the former two points: they can appeal to perspicuity in ways that seem odd to us, because they are starting from assumptions handed them by the tradition. And they don’t feel the need to maintain this apparently “sola scriptura” approach consistently, because for them the authoritative Scripture is the book of the authoritative Church.

I think that this Protestant argument derives most of its plausibility from the misguided “nose of wax” approach of many Catholic apologists (from the sixteenth century to the present), which appears to downplay the authority of Scripture. Dei Verbum, in contrast, does an excellent job of speaking strongly of Scripture’s authority while maintaining the importance of the Church’s Tradition.

Edwin


#6

Thanks Edwin and everyone.

    i hope Sideline can consider the two definitions hitherto presented in order to  express his impressions.   I did not propose a definition in the OP because  the variety of the definitions  makes the adoption of one of them  part of one's 

attitude towards doctrine.

Certainly the distinction between material and formal sufficiency
is essentially related to our issue, as reminded by MDK.

I expected Westminster 1647 to likely come up as classical definition, and I do agree it reveals much more soberness than the description offered by Camron.

Among what I appreciate in Edwin’s (as always) valuable post
is the suggestion that assertions about the alleged perspicuity of a text cannot be considered outside the CONtext.
Hence passages which have “obvious” interpretations within a given tradition, and different not less “obvious” meanings in the context of another tradition or mindset. Producing the paradox of groups sharing the belief in the clearness of Scripture and particular passages within it only to sharply differ from each other about … what those passages do say.

Two brief notes on the 1647 definition: one off topic, about the necessity to “observe”, in order to be saved, the things which one has to believe ( in a “sola fide” environment ?). The other much on our issue.

This is the restriction ratione materiae of the area of the scriptural perspicuity. We are told Scripture, with due caveats on the right approach to the text, is clear (at least) about what matters for salvation.
In other words the Westminster Confession appears to tell us that on everything honest disputations could be expected, but (or at the very least more than ) on soteriology.
Nevertheless, it is manifest, even only from our own Forum, that
soteriology is far from being the least debated area among scripturally educated Christians. :slight_smile:

Isn’t that an Achilles’ heel of that sober version of the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture ?


#7

I appreciate the explanations, and I think I understand the issue now. Unfortunately, it’s not really my area, and anything I add to the conversation would be far less useful than the opinions of people who have studied this in more detail.

Thanks, though.


#8

Gee, all the best arguments support the opposite position. :stuck_out_tongue:


#9

I was not aware of this distinction. Thank you for pointing that out. :slight_smile:

The claim of formal sufficiency of Scriptures is used outside the Church to justify right of private interpretation.

What’s more, the charism of infallibility was given to pope.

God never promised lay Catholics, nor any of those outside the Church that the Holy Spirit would protect them in their interpretations or teachings of faith and morals.

Hopefully it didn’t come across like I was suggesting that all Catholics have a guarantee of infallibility. If it did, it’s not what I intended.

However, some say that they in essence have this charism of infallibility in protection by the Holy Spirit. It’s certain that the Holy Spirit is capable of doing this. However, that’s not what God promised. Therefore, some claim to have a protection that God never formally granted to them.

Are there any examples of this that you can think of-- those (besides the pope) claiming to have this kind of protection?

Just follow the Church’s teachings on this. Catholic Church does not teach the formal sufficiency of Scripture.

Thanks. I have to admit that, being Catholic all my life, I had not really thought about any distinction between the issues of material sufficiency of Scripture vs formal sufficiency of Scripture. To be honest, I wasn’t even fully aware of the distinction as you’ve explained it.

I guess I just thought that the Bible required the “living witness” of the Catholic Church as guided by the Holy Spirit. Thanks again for pointing out the difference. :thumbsup:


#10

That’s the more radical or “enthusiast” version. The classical Protestant version is best expressed by the Westminster Confession 1.7:

: VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all:[15] 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 the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.[16]

Thank you or pointing that out.

Do you adhere to the Westminster Confessions?

Note the phrase “the due use of the ordinary means.” The argument is not that you just sit down with an English Bible and God zaps the interpretation into your head, but that you devote serious effort to studying the Bible, listening to sermons, reading commentaries, etc., and then (trusting in divine guidance) can be confident that you won’t go astray on the important matters.

Again, thank you for pointing that out. Keep in mind that, as you already know, there really are some groups that really do seem to be of the opinion that God will illuminate their minds nearly instantly with a simple reading of Scripture.

I do understand (as you’ve pointed out) that this is not the only version of the “Perspicuity of Scripture”. But it is worth noting the possible degradation of views from the Westminster Confessions to the “enthusiast” version you’ve noted already.

Do you feel that one is related to the other-- or entirely separate movements?

I’m not trying to disrespect any opinions that you might hold. But it really does seem to me that the largest argument against the “Perspicuity of Scripture” is the rather wide divergence of opinion of what the Bible actually means according to many who claim that the Bible alone contains “…those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation…”

I realize that it also says “the due use of the ordinary means” impying a lot of work, escially for the unlearned. But even the learned among the various denominations often disagree on serious matters of faith (and they are all reading the same Bible, and they are all claimng the “due use of the ordinary means” too).

I think the strongest argument in favor of perspicuity is the fact that the Fathers frequently (a) assert material sufficiency and (b) cite Scripture in a manner that implies that their readers should be able to see clearly that Scripture supports their position. I.e., you find Athanasius, Augustine, and others saying things like “the Arians [or Manicheans, or whoever] say X, but Scripture clearly says Y, and since Scripture is authoritative it follows that the Arians are wrong.” Reformed (and other Protestant) apologists would argue that this is much more like the way they argue today than like the way Catholics do.

Hmmm…interesting.

Again, do you personally agree with the “Perspicuity of Scripture”? Or is this simply excellent information that you are aware of but do not actually believe?

I think there are three responses to be made to this:

  1. The Fathers’ arguments are not as clear as they often claim. They may have thought that Scripture obviously supported their positions, but to us they frequently seem to be using Scripture in rather odd ways, dictated by their theological presuppositions.

True. I am aware of some of the early fathers usage of “Scripture” to justify some things that would not be considered “evidence” today, mostly numerological symbolisms and the like.

  1. Not all the Fathers took this approach, and some who used it at times were not consistent in doing so. Tertullian argued that his opponents had no business citing Scripture at all, because it wasn’t “their book.”

I suppose Tertullian did pass way as a Montanist if I recall correctly.

Basil fell back on tradition to support his arguments concerning the divinity of the Spirit. Augustine did the same thing to some extent with regard to infant baptism.

True.

  1. Most important, I think, is the fact that the Fathers argue from Scripture in the context of an authoritative Church and a living tradition. This explains the former two points: they can appeal to perspicuity in ways that seem odd to us, because they are starting from assumptions handed them by the tradition. And they don’t feel the need to maintain this apparently “sola scriptura” approach consistently, because for them the authoritative Scripture is the book of the authoritative Church.

I agree with this. If one removes the living witness of the Church then anything can (and often does) happen.

I think that this Protestant argument derives most of its plausibility from the misguided “nose of wax” approach of many Catholic apologists (from the sixteenth century to the present), which appears to downplay the authority of Scripture. Dei Verbum, in contrast, does an excellent job of speaking strongly of Scripture’s authority while maintaining the importance of the Church’s Tradition.

Edwin

Here’s the link to Dei Verbum for anyone caring to look further. It’s very much worth reading. :slight_smile:

Do you think the Counter Reformation has led to degrading the value of the Bible?

I have to confess that I’m not familiar with the “nose of wax” phrase. Not sure if I want to know what it means either.

Anyway, here goes…

(A). Mutable and accommodating (faith). A waxen nose may be twisted any way.

I guess I’m not sure what you mean by this. How has the Bible been twisted any which way over the last 400 years by the Catholic Church?

Perhaps this would be better as a different thread or even a PM if necessary.


#11

Hi Camron.

Fine points here.

There appear to be indeed positions which are far from a Westminster-like approach out there. You are often told “just read the Bible”, without any other guide than the Holy Spirit.

One could consider that this radical approach, far from being a strawman against the doctrine of perspicuity, boasts more consistency than the Westminster approach.

If we follow Edwin in his interpretation of “the due use of ordinary means”, the authors of the 1647 Confession tell us that we do need a guide after all. If I have to do my homework on commentaries and sermons, I’d say in other words it means I do need a guide.

So, does Westminster Confession teach the formal sufficiency of Scripture after all ?

Now, the next issue is: whose sermons and commentaries have I to study ?
Am I told here I simply need the teachings of the Westminster-oriented institutions to properly understand Scripture ?
At the end of the day, should I happen not to agree with them on a primary point ( is this possibility foreseen ?), whose interpretation shall I follow: mine own, or theirs ?


#12

Thanks. Hopefully I’m not confusing things here. :o

There appear to be indeed positions which are far from a Westminster-like approach out there. You are often told “just read the Bible”, without any other guide than the Holy Spirit.

I know that I have visited with some Baptist colleagues in college and they have essentially told me this. I didn’t agree with them, but I mainly kept silent as I listened to their testimony. Perhaps I should have spoken up more and voiced my concerns.

One could consider that this radical approach, far from being a strawman against the doctrine of perspicuity, boasts more consistency than the Westminster approach.

I have wondered that myself.

For example, those who take the Bible at its literal word are far less likely to have strayed into the errors of same-sex marriage and the like. So while I may not approve of the more extreme versions of the perspicuity of the Bible, I do at least admit that the more fundamental approach one takes to the reading of the Bible (so long as they do not go to the extreme), the less likely I think one is to stray into immoral decisions.

Theological decisions (as in dogma), on the other hand, do not seem to greatly benefit from the more extreme versions of the perspicuity of the Bible. In this regard, I think the traditional Westminster approach that Edwin noted has a stronger base, although I do admit that some of those who hold the older traditions of the Reformed Church tend to have strong conservative morals too.

Oddly enough, the more fundamental approach seems to lead to a stronger moral base yet weaker theological statements.

The traditional Westminster approach, on the other hand, seems to lead to a weaker moral base yet stronger theological statements.

If we follow Edwin in his interpretation of “the due use of ordinary means”, the authors of the 1647 Confession tell us that we do need a guide after all. If I have to do my homework on commentaries and sermons, I’d say in other words it means I do need a guide.

I’m not sure if that’s what Edwin implied but that’s what I noticed too. Regardless of how it is worded it appears as if one has to always eventually return to the living witness of the Church as a steadfast guide.

Certainly many people in other Christian denominations do eventually appeal to their leaders for guidance and instruction on how to understand the Bible. Even those who claim that all one needs to clearly understand the Bible is a sincere willingness to know God coupled with the Holy Spirit eventually look toward their own leaders for guidance, even as they claim that all one needs to clearly understand the Bible is a sincere willingness to know God coupled with the Holy Spirit.

They can even be expelled from their denominations if they stray too far from what their denomination teaches—so there must be something more to this than simply being gifted with an ability to understand the Bible. Even in these denominations, even if it’s only occurring on nearly subliminal level, there’s still some authority within their denominations to render these kinds of decisions.

So, does Westminster Confession teach the formal sufficiency of Scripture after all?

Again, I am only now digging into the nature of this terminology. I have to confess that I have difficulty even with both definitions to some extent, because regardless of how you look at it a ”church” (or some structure) needs to be involved.

Many things in the Old Testament are often misunderstood, such as the various laws under the Mosaic Law. Many of the laws were apparently not moral in nature but rather considered a sign of ‘Holiness’ as God used the laws to set the Israelites apart from the pagan nations around them.

The problem with many of these laws is that you need to have knowledge about the pagan cultures in order to know why God was asking the Israelites to not do these things-- to be made “Holy” is to be made “Set Apart”. And without this knowledge the laws often appear strange, even to people with faith in God in our modern day.

To the Israelites who carried on the traditions of the Mosaic Law, they would have no problem understanding which cultures this law or that law was referring to—because they were living amongst and interacting with the pagans that these laws were set up to distinguish themselves from. But someone in out modern times would have great difficulty understanding these laws without the knowledge of the pagan cultures—something which is most certainly not explained in great detail within the Bible itself.

This is an example of what I would consider a “living witness” being required to really understand what the Bible says.

Consequently, I think that just as the Israelites were considered the “living witness” of the Old Testament, I think the Catholic Church is the “living witness” of the New Testament—holding the traditions required to really get into the mind set of First Century Palestine and beyond to our modern day. Interestingly St. Augustine actually refers to the remnant of the Isrealites as a “witness people” if I recall correctly.

Now, the next issue is: whose sermons and commentaries have I to study ?

Am I told here I simply need the teachings of the Westminster-oriented institutions to properly understand Scripture ?

At the end of the day, should I happen not to agree with them on a primary point ( is this possibility foreseen ?), whose interpretation shall I follow: mine own, or theirs ?

I do not subscribe to the Westminster-oriented institutions so I really do not have any answers to these questions. I’m very much learning as I go. Then again, I’m honestly not sure if Edwin fully subscribes to them either. But I too would be interested in hearing explanations for these questions.


#13

Dear Camron,

 we see indeed  different versions of the "perspicuity",  each answering  its own way the question of the CONtext  leading to a sound  understanding od Scripture.

Let’s try to see how the CONtext through and in which Scripture is approached can change, and the distinct visions of perspicuity can be born.

STEP 1 Let’s say in XVI century western Europe I come to believe and propound a doctrine, or a whole doctrinary vision, which is at odds with catholic teaching.

STEP 2. I maintain and preach that my doctrine is rooted in Scripture ( and possibly has some alleged precedents in the fathers)

STEP 3 I necessarily conclude that you can understand Scripture outside the CONtext of the living Tradition of the Church and of her teaching. This amount to the fact that at this point I have so become a champion of the “perspicuity of Scripture”.

STEP 4 Now I start teaching that you have to approach Scripture outside and against the catholic Church, thus beginning to set a new CONtext, albeit just a negative one.
Let’s note that this further step is again necessary, if I want people to come to share my doctrine of which in STEP 1.

STEP 5 A new positive CONtext to properly read or hear Scripture is proposed by myself or by my successors.

It is so in STEP 3 that I propose the perspicuity of Scripture, by preaching that it is so clear that it does not need the CONtext of the living Tradition and the magisterium of the Church.
In STEP 4, nevertheless, I do put a first constraint of mine, which, let’s repeat, is necessary from my point of view in order to get it right in STEP 1, which is the origin of the whole matter.

Thus, STEP 4 is somehow common to any body which comes directly or indirectly from the Reformation.
We can consider it a common kernel of the prescriptions on the “perspicuity of Scripture”.

STEP 5, on the contrary, which is the positive part of the “new CONtext” is where the variety of definitions and prescriptions come up

With a range from the most “individualistic-minded” wing to the most “corporate-minded” one.

TBC :slight_smile:


#14

Regarding my comment that “some say that they in essence have this charism of infallibility in protection by the Holy Spirit. It’s certain that the Holy Spirit is capable of doing this. However, that’s not what God promised. Therefore, some claim to have a protection that God never formally granted to them…” It was simply in reference to Protestants or others who claim they as individuals can interpret Scriptures accurately with the help of the Holy Spirit, and the Catholic Church has no role.

Since the Sacred Scriptures were written by Holy Spirit inspired Catholics, and the books of the Bible were assembled by the Catholic Church, the Bible rightly belongs in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is an infallible teaching institution, which teaches and interprets Scripture infallibly. Therefore, the Bible belongs with the Church.

A mistake is to remove Scriptures from the Church, and try to interpret it fallibly outside the Church.


#15

Here is my take on The Perspicuity of Scripture.

  1. For the formal sufficiency of scripture to be valid it would require that Scripture present itself as formally sufficient axiomatically beyond a shadow of doubt. If that were the case we would not even be having this discussion. Therefore we can immediately dismiss this claim as invalid. Axiomatic truth would minimally require scripture to have explicit verbiage stating itself to be formally sufficient. But it does not and has a contrary indication about the necessity for apostolic teaching and tradition.

  2. There is also a pragmatic issue with “what constitutes scripture”. Again, we have competing standards. The Catholic Cannon is developed 1100 years before the first versions of the Protestant Bible come along. Co-incident with that sad event we immediately find that Protestant scripture differs substantially from Catholic Scripture since Protestants have created their own version that is 7 books short of what Catholics hold. There are also translation errors and very obvious doctrinal “editing” artifacts arising in various different translations of non-Catholic bibles. So, it becomes immediately clear that what Catholics consider the Universal Standard (approved translations) is not accepted by non-Catholics. So there is a fundamental issue about just “what constitutes scripture”. Ironically non-Catholics in attempting to “tinker” with the Catholic Cannon to distinguish themselves as seperate and reformed from the Catholic Church undermine the entire case for formal sufficiency. That is, by unilaterally revising the scriptural standard Protestant advocates for formal sufficiency of scripture immediately soil their own case. Worse, each time a non-Catholic publisher decides to print a new scripture translation to accommodate a new sect’s need total credibility for formal sufficiency is further eroded by “yet another standard”. Bottom line - there is no universal standard therefor there can be no formal sufficiency.

  3. Those portions of scripture that all people calling themselves “Christians” that are more or less hold in common (as an approximate universal standard) contradict each other in interpretation. The very fact that there are a legion of interpretations kills the very notion that scripture stands alone as formally sufficient. What is ironic is that except for the Catholic Church none of the other denominations want to accept the literal words in scripture that tell us that scripture is only beneficial (not sufficient) and that we also need apostolic teaching authority and apostolic tradition to have the entirety of the scriptural message.

Ergo from historical experience and disunity on what constitutes “scripture” and what scripture means and from lack of objective data that a single person was ever saved “by private interpretation of scripture alone” it is only unprovable conjecture that scripture is formally sufficient independent of Church and Apostolic Teaching tradition. All we have to go on is the promise made by Jesus that ‘the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church’. Now of course, its become fashionable for non-Catholics to all claim from a context outside scripture they were members of the original church and the Catholics hijacked it. :rolleyes:

James


#16

continued from post 13

On the “corporate-minded” part of the range of the “*perspicuities *of Scripture”, we have a new CONtext which is essentially constituted by the traditions and teachings peculiar to a particular religious body, son or grandson of the Reformation. Paying due lip service to the individual reading and to a self-declaration of fallibility by the authorities within that body.

In other words this version says something like:

*"Scripture is so perspicuous that you can, ( indeed you have to) understand it outside the CONtext of the catholic tradition and teaching ( "“Sacred Tradition and Magisterium”, as roman catholics would say). . That is by no means to be caricatured so as to say that we believe Scripture is so perspicuous that you can properly understand it without the CONtext …of the teaching of our own religious body
( community). " *


The “individualisitic-minded” wing, as already pointed out by Camdon, would instead say something like:
*
“Listen to no earthly teacher. Trust no man. Just read Scripture cover to cover, listening to the Holy Spirit, and anything essential will be clear”*

To which considerations as the following ones can be replied:

  1. This is the illusion of “a-contextuality” ( minding: "no formal explanation = no CONtext ). But how can an a-contextual reading exist ? ( not to say that I would trust an earthly teaching by accepting the above mentioned invitation to read by myself cover to cover :slight_smile: )
  2. Do I really really enjoy a heavenly guide and, above all, listen to it the right way ?
    How can I know that, and therefore whether I did get sound interpretations, particularly in view of the different and stubborn conclusions by other brothers of mine, who claim precisely the same method and to listen to the same divine assistance ? Shall I say that “they are unable to listen to the Holy Spirit”, or “they are far from sharing my maturity” ( note here the inclusion, quite frequent, of the concept of maturity), or something even worse ?

But, if I cannot know whether my interpretations are precisely those happening to be right, where is perspicuity ? :shrug:


#17

Well, the thread has at present the problem that contributions
have not come so far from supporters of the doctrine under scrutiny. So at this point let’s quote an academical source www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj15i.pdf ( together with brief commentaries of mine in blue)

*Support of Perspicuity

The doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture pervades the Bible, as the following chart displays:

Biblical Teaching about the Perspicuity of Scripture

Scripture is light.“Your word is a lamp to my feet and alight to my path” (Ps 119:105).“And we have something more sure, theprophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shin-ing in a dark place . . .” (2 Pet 1:19a).

That Scripture tells us that parts of Scripture are as a lamp
does not amount to a statement about their perspicuity outside the CONtext of apostolic teaching.
In particular, it is hard maintaining that 2 Peter is exactly a letter encouraging any approach to Scripture outside a sound guide. :slight_smile: ,

3:15-16 “And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures”

As for Psalm 119, it will be noted that it speaks about Law.
Now, since the Reformed position appears to be that perspicuity stands or fall on what is necessary ( to know, believe and observe ) for salvation, and since we are told by reformed brothers that any part of Mosaic Law is not exactly that, we can say that any text dealing about Law appears essentially irrelevant to the support of that position.

Since the very foundation of reformed soteriology is to be found in the pauline letters, we’ve just seen 2 Peter is not precisely a support for the Westminster Confession or similar statements:)

Scripture is profitable.“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, forcorrection, and for training in righteous-ness, that the man of God may be compe-tent, equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16-17).

That Scripture is profitable is manifestly irrelevant to the issue of the right context to get such a profit.

Scripture explains salvation.“. . . the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faithin Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15b).

Again, it is undisputed that Scripture explains salvation.

Scripture is addressed to com-mon people, not religious ex-perts.“Hear, O Israel” (Deut 6:4).“The common people heard Him [Jesus]gladly” (Mark 12:37, NKJV).“to the saints who are in Ephesus” (Eph1:1).“with all those who in every place callupon the name of our Lord JesusChrist” (1 Cor 1:2).

On Deuteronomy, see the point above on Law .

As for pauline quotations, I wonder how the fact of an apostle writing to local churches he has founded and personally taught can support the position that Scripture can and has to be understood outside the context of the Apostolic Church.

The quotation from Mark is rather astonishing: the very words delivered by the Lord are seemingly confused with Scripture.:blush:
,

Parents can teach Scripture to their children.“And these words that I command youtoday shall be on your heart. You shallteach them diligently to your children, andshall talk of them when you sit in yourhouse, and when you walk by the way, andwhen you lie down, and when you rise”(Deut 6:6-7).

See again above for the Law.

Even a child can understandScripture’s message.“But as for you, continue in what you havelearned and have firmly believed, knowingfrom whom you learned it and how fromchildhood you have been acquainted withthe sacred writings. . . ” (2 Tim 3:14-15a).

We just have here that Timothy has been taught the OT since he was a child.

Scripture tests the accuracy of religious ideas.“Now these Jews were more noble thanthose in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining theScriptures daily …" Acts 17*

The conclusions of other jewish believers knowing the same Scriptures were different. That looks rather a blow to the doctrine we are examining.

End of the quotation

I am aware some other pericopes can be quoted for an alleged support of perspicuity besides those found in that paper , and hope someone else ( hopefully a protestant brother ) can point to them too.

At this point the following question is nevertheless unescapable:

" Is the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture perspicuous in Scripture , and is this a necessary requisite or not for it ?"


#18

Thanks again for the information. I’m not really sure if I have much more to contribute. It seems that no one is actually stepping up to defend the opposing side.

I’m curious as to what Edwin actually believes or if he’s defending the Perspicuity of Scripture. I don’t think he is to be honest. Although the information he gave was excellent.

If I could suggest anything in summary, perhaps the biggest blow to the argument for the Perspicuity of Scripture is the fact that nowhere in the Bible is it explicitly stated that the Bible alone is the only sound means for finding salvation.

I suppose if one could at least point out a passage from the Bible that confirms this, that would be a good start. I don’t think that such a passage actually exists though. :hmmm:


#19

Dear Camron,

                    so it seems, so far.

I am a little surprised at that.


closed #20

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