The Precision of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 11, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Perspicuity of Scripture, that is, the clarity of Scripture. As comments and feedback came back from that post, I wanted to take this idea to another level. The Bible isn’t merely clear; it is precise. It is very specific and for the most part, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for leeway or “other interpretations.” I get a LOT of kickback when I say this, and it’s always from those who want Scripture to be open to their ideas. I’ve even had people try to cite 2 Peter 3:16 to show that “Scripture is hard to understand,” and they don’t cite actually hard to understand passages but easy ones like Creation. But when Scripture says it is hard for some to understand, who is it addressing? Unbelievers who seek to distort the Bible from what it actually teaches. When I pointed this out to one such person, he got very quiet about it and didn’t go back to that point. Paul makes the argument that the reason why Scripture is unclear to someone is because it is spiritually discerned, and you will never understand it in the natural mind.

But that said, many unbelievers do understand what the Bible says all too well. Samuel Clemens is noted for saying, “Many people are disturbed by the parts of the Bible they don’t understand. I find I am disturbed by the parts I do understand.” Even Richard Dawkins understands the Gospel. He knows that the Bible teaches a 6-day creation, and that Adam is believed to be responsible for the sin of the world. He knows that Jesus died believing that, too. He is an adamant denier of the Bible, but he knows what it says. I say that knowing that he actively and intentionally misrepresents God in his arguments, but when he speaks against the compromisers, he gets it right. The Bible is precise.

This is a vital doctrine to engage with in this Christian life. We are in a war, whether we want to realize it or not. If we reject the precision of Scripture, its authority, its accuracy, its clarity, its sufficiency, its inerrancy, etc., then we are sitting ducks for the enemy to pick off at will. A few weeks ago I was listening to John MacArthur’s series on the Armor of God and specifically on the Sword of the Spirit. I have my own teaching on that, using the sport of fencing as a visual aid, and MacArthur brought a point that really caught my attention. It’s something I’ve used before but not quite articulated as clearly. To combat the false teachings, the lies, and the temptations we face, we must use Scripture precisely.

Let me use fencing to illustrate this point. In fencing, the body is divided into four areas we call lines. To defend that line, we have specific parries (moves) that protect that area of the body, and then each parry has a riposte (an attack immediately following a defensive parry). We stop an attack and then respond with an offensive attack. Now, if our parries are too big, then we lose the chance to riposte and we also make it too easy for our opponent to disengage and get around our defense. But if the parries are too small, they won’t stop the attack.

The same is true with Scripture when facing false teachings and the spiritual forces of darkness. We must know how our “sword” is used and know precisely where and when to use it. How can we use our best weapon if we don’t believe it works? And how can it work if it’s not precise? How can Scripture be used as the standard for truth of it’s not precise? Scripture is precise when it says, “Man does not live by bread alone.” It is precise when it says, “March around the city once for six days.” It is precise on the instructions for building the Tabernacle and the Temple. Moses spends nearly half the book of Exodus describing the Tabernacle. The genealogies are extremely precise, so precise that I’ve heard of account of tribes in Africa immediately accepting the Gospel because of the accuracy of its genealogies. It is precise on what it means to be a Christian. It is precise on origins. It is precise on every topic it speaks on.

Yet, if we reject the precision of Scripture, then any use we make of it will miss the mark. The devil knows Scripture, and he knows when you are using it correctly or when you aren’t. Trust me, I know this from first-hand experience. I know what Scripture says, but it’s not enough to just know what it says. You have to know it in its power. Jesus knew Scripture in its power. That’s why He succeeded in refuting the temptations thrown at Him from the devil and the attempted tricks of the Pharisees. Jesus relied on the precision of Scripture to handle them.

I hear so many people proclaim they believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, yet when I listen to them argue, they do not accept the clarity of Scripture or the precision of Scripture. The “inerrancy” they believe tends to be not in Scripture but their ideas of it, all the while trying to pin that charge on those who actually believe Scripture. My friend Allen Dunckley, in response to my post on perspicuity, stated that false teachers depend upon the lack of precision and perspicuity of Scripture. That’s how they get their lies in. Whether it be Deep Time ideas, moral issues, indulgences, Prosperity Gospel, or enneagrams, “Christian Yoga,” “Progressive Christianity,” or whatever. There is always a question on the precision of Scripture.

That was Satan’s first lie: “Has God indeed said?” You better know what God said if you are going to be able to answer this, because if you don’t, you are doomed. Satan has had such great success in this field over the last two hundred years just by getting the majority of Christendom to question what the word “day” means in the creation narrative. The Bible is precise, and God did not leave that basic fact up for debate. Yet the deception is so strong that it’s even overtaken some of our good men. Why? Because it has been deemed a “secondary issue” and as a result, they turned the whole Bible into a free for all, either by they themselves or by the next generation.

If you are going to survive the persecution to come, you had better know Scripture and beyond that, know the God of the Scripture. You had better be well trained in the spiritual weapons we have. The bulk of the opposition won’t be coming from oppressive governments but from within our ranks. Be ready.

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