This is a new feature I’m introducing. Once a week I hope to give a very brief explanation of a theological term, include a few quotes on it, and link to some resources that may explain the term and the issues around it more fully.
The teaching that the ordinary reader can understand from scripture what God requires as long as they are willing to seek God’s help to understand and obey it. It does not mean that the scripture contains no passages that may be difficult to understand or that all passages are equally clear. This is the older term for what is now most often called the clarity of scripture.1
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:130)
- From The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 1, section 7:
All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; 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.
- From Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will:
But, if many things still remain abstruse to many, this does not arise from obscurity in the Scriptures, but from [our] own blindness or want [i.e. lack] of understanding, who do not go the way to see the all-perfect clearness of the truth… Let, therefore, wretched men cease to impute, with blasphemous perverseness, the darkness and obscurity of their own heart to the all-clear scriptures of God… If you speak of the internal clearness, no man sees one iota in the Scriptures, but he that hath the Spirit of God… If you speak of the external clearness, nothing whatever is left obscure or ambiguous; but all things that are in the Scriptures, are by the Word brought forth into the clearest light, and proclaimed to the whole world.
- Theopedia: The Clarity of Scripture (This is the source of the Martin Luther quote above.)
- Blue Letter Bible: What Is The Clarity of Scripture? (Perpescuity)
- Wayne Grudem: The Perspicuity of Scripture
- Gerald Bray: The Clarity of Scripture
- Francis Turretin: The Perspicuity of Scripture
- Wayne Grudem: The Clarity of Scripture (mp3)
- Timothy George: The Perspicuity of Scripture (video)
- analogy of faith
- authority of scripture
- inspiration of scripture
- sola scriptura
- sufficiency of scripture