On the Clarity and Complexity of the Scriptures

Hanegraaff, Hank-Clarity and Complexity of Scriptures

How can an all knowing and wise God permit people to misinterpret the Bible?

God gave us the ability to think and reason, and He made certain things so clear that you couldn’t mistake them. The essentials of the historic Christian faith, they’re so clear that they’re unmistakable. But, in secondary issues, you have a very complex Scripture that people can misunderstand. The biblical faith is simple enough for a child to understand in terms of its essential Christian doctrine but its deep enough for a theologian to drown.

When you get into something that is a reflection of God Himself—for example the nature of God is such that finite people can never fully comprehend it, we can apprehend it in Scripture but we cannot fully comprehend it—so you can imagine something that is so sophisticated is maybe something that we can misunderstand, unless we spend the time studying the Scriptures.

That’s why as Christians we don’t say, “I’m a lone ranger Christian.” We stand on the shoulders of giants who’ve gone before us, so that we can learn from them. If someone has given their whole life to the study of the Book of Revelation, for example, as a believer and someone who has a keen mind, we do well to listen to what they might give us in terms of insights.

I think you have complexity that leads to misunderstanding and God just doesn’t make us omniscient. He’s made us finite beings and our finiteness cannot bear the burden of omniscience.

Are we then finite so that we’ll seek God and His guidance?

Yes, and we will also spend an eternity getting to understand the God who created us and exploring the universe that He created for us. It’s an on-going process. The difference in eternity we’re going to learn, and grow, and develop without error, but we will not be omniscient, we will not know all things, we will continue to learn and develop.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, ESV).

Open my eyes, that I may behold | wondrous things out of your law (Psalm 119:18, ESV).

For further study, please see the following equip.org resources:

The Perspicuity of Scripture (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Denomination Should I Join? (John M. Frame)

This blog adapted from Why did God allow for the misinterpretation of his word?

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