By almost any measure, a bold and confident use of the Bible is a hallmark of Christianity. Underlying such use are a number of assumptions about the origin, nature, and form of the biblical literature concerning its authority, diversity, and message. However, a lack of confidence in the clarity or perspicuity of Scripture is apparent in Western Christianity. Despite recent, sophisticated analyses, the doctrine is ignored or derided by many. While there is a contemporary feel to these responses, the debate itself is not new.
Mark Thompson surveys past and present objections to the clarity of Scripture. He expounds the living God as the Guarantor of his accessible, written Word. He engages with the hermeneutical challenges and restates the doctrine for today.
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“2. The doctrine fails to acknowledge the God-given role of the church as the interpreter of Scripture.” (Page 21)
“1. The doctrine fails to take account of the transcendent mystery that is the subject of Scripture.” (Page 20)
“4. The doctrine fails in practice given the reality of diverse interpretations.” (Page 28)
“our second observation about it: Christian theology is essentially and unavoidably trinitarian” (Page 50)
“Neglect or dismissal of the clarity of Scripture almost inevitably undermines all talk of the authority of Scripture. How is a text supposed to function authoritatively if its meaning is considered to be inaccessible?” (Page 46)
Certainly there are few topics more pertinent in the first decade of the twenty-first century. . . . The ‘perspicuity of Scripture’ (often designated claritas Scripturae) has fallen on hard times. Dr. Thompson’s clearly written and robust articulation of the clarity of Scripture will help many people think about these matters knowledgeably, crisply, faithfully, pointedly. The purpose . . . is to handle Scripture itself with greater wisdom and confidence.
—D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
. . . a solid and clearly written introduction to the biblical and theological issues that frame the conversation.
—John R. Franke, Religious Studies Review
. . . Timely and relevant in a climate where attacks on the character of Scripture as God’s word are radical and far-reaching.
—Gordon Cheng, The Briefing
Head of Department of Theology, Philosophy and Ethics, Moore Theological College.