Clarity/Perspicuity of Scripture
God has intended his scripture to be clearly understood. There are no secret codes or hidden meanings for us to find and we don’t need to be a Jewish historian either!
Often when explaining bits of the Bible, people often refer to non-biblical texts and writings of history to interpret and explain it. Whilst other historical documents may be useful to help understand the context and apply certain bits of the Bible, we often forget that all we need to understand the Bible…is the Bible!
If we are required to have other documents to make sense of God’s Word…then it can’t be God’s Word, as it would be incomplete and incoherent! Or we would have to include other non-biblical material within the canon of scripture if it was the ‘required reading’ to make sense of God’s Word. This means we can take the rational and literal meaning of the text (for given genres).
Take what Jesus says here for example:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”Matthew 19:23-24
Many have tried to interpret Jesus’ seemingly absurd statement here by referring to a gate in the wall of Jerusalem known as the ‘eye of the needle’. Supposedly, this gate was small and for a camel to pass through it, it would have to adopt a lowly position and shed itself of its load, mimicking the way in which we enter heaven.
However, there is no mention of this gate within scripture at all, meaning that you would have to rely on non-biblical material to interpret Jesus’ words. Furthermore, there is very little evidence anywhere for this gate even existing and is really considered an ‘urban myth’.
We can take Jesus words literally here. He is saying it is impossible for anyone to enter the kingdom of heaven, but especially those who are rich and love their material wealth.