Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why the Bible contains difficult passages

Adapted from William Whitaker's Disputations on Holy Scripture

1. Because God intends that we should be stirred up to be persistent in prayer in order to seek His help in interpretation.

2. Because God intends that we might come to know and acknowledge that the understanding of the Word is given by God Himself.

3. Because God intends to stimulate our diligence in reading, meditating upon, searching and comparing the Scripture and making use of the due and ordinary means of understanding and interpretation.

4. Because God wanted to prevent our losing interest in the Scriptures and the temptation to despise it or place small value on it. Our corrupt nature grows weary of easy things and we think we have gone beyond what we have understood completely.

5. Because God intended that the truth would to be sought and found with real effort and labour and to be the more esteemed and valued because of that - things easily obtained are despised but matters of great difficulty are only surmounted with extraordinary effort.

6. Because God wished to subdue our pride and expose to us our ignorance

7. Because God willed that the sacred mysteries of his word should be opened freely to pure and holy minds and that impure dogs and swine be kept from holy things.

8. Because God wished to divert our minds from the pursuit of external things and daily occupations and focus them and our time upon the study of the Scriptures.

9. Because God intended to accustom us to a certain internal purity and sanctity of thought and feeling because this is what we need in order to profit from the Bible. Those who bring profane minds to the reading of the Scriptures do not profit from reading and seeking to understand them but those with holy minds get real spiritual advantage from them.

10. Because God willed that in his church some should be teachers and some disciples. We are more apt to esteem the ministry of the Word which has been ordained for the opening and interpreting of Scripture when God uses it in order to make plain the difficult areas of Scripture (Eph 4:11&14).