Roots of the Faith – The Clarity of Scripture

My sermon notes for Wednesday night, Nov 30th. Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon. They are provided as an outline each week for our Tabernacle Church family. Our study over the next few months will be “The Roots of the Faith.” This study will focus on key biblical truths that will transform our thinking and allow us to faithfully live out the Christian life. The church provides a live stream of the service each Wednesday at 6:30 on Facebook. We also provide the services through YouTube. You can find Sermon Notes, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer List, and other resources at our Church Website.

Helpful Resources for this Study

50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith – Gregg R. Allision

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine – Wayne Grudem

Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth – John MacArthur & Richard Mayhue


  • Can we understand the Bible?
  • What does it take for me to learn the meaning of the Bible?
  • Why do so many people disagree over biblical matters of life?
  • Deut 6:6-7

Scripture is written in such a way that it can be understood by God’s people. (Gregg Allison, pg. 39)

The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that it is able to be understood, but right understanding requires time, effort, the use of ordinary means, a willingness to obey, and the help of the Holy Spirit; and our understanding will remain imperfect in this lifetime (Wayne Grudem, pg. 109)

The Bible affirms its own clarity

  • Psalm 19:7; 119:130
  • We can know and understand.
  • It is progressive in nature.
  • We never learn everything.

We should not expect EVERYONE to grasp the truths of Scripture

  • 1 Cor 2:1, Luke 18:34
  • Can an unconverted person understand?
  • It is the spirit that teaches, guides, and illuminates.

Why do Christians misunderstand Scripture?

  • We are all sinful and fall short of God’s standard.
    • We need better hermeneutics (methods of interpretation).
      • The method of our study.  The process we utilize
    • We need better exegesis (process of interpreting a text).
      • The work of the study.  What does the text mean?

The role of teachers/scholars/theologians

  • They fulfill the office of teacher – 1 Cor 12:28.
    • They utilize their giftedness to build up the body.  A tool to help us understand more clearly.

Practical Considerations

  • There will be differences over minor doctrine, so there is liberty
  • See THEOLOGICAL TRIAGE on under topical studies
    • Major verse minor
  • Liberal Churches do not take the Bible as inerrant and infallible
    • All of Scripture is not true
    • Part truth, but not all
  • The lost world will never grasp the Bible as God’s Word
    • To them there is no absolute truth

Requirements for understanding scripture rightly

1. Time

2. Effort

3. The Use of Ordinary Means

  • Using a translation of the Bible in one’s own language
  • Listening to teachers of the Word, for God has given the gift of teaching to the church (1 Cor. 12:28).
  • Reading of commentaries where available, for these are merely the written form of what is taught by teachers in the church.
  • Being aware of the wisdom contained in the history of interpretation of the church (even if this only comes not firsthand but through reading commentaries that reflect some knowledge of that tradition).
  • Seeking understanding in fellowship with others, as in small group Bible studies (or at academic conferences).
  • Using modern tools such as concordances, Hebrew and Greek lexicons, grammars, and sources of historical background information, which help modern readers understand more precisely the sense of the original language and the historical context in which a passage was written.

4. A Willingness to Obey

5. The Help of the Holy Spirit

6. A Humble Recognition That Our Understanding Is Imperfect

7. The Reasons for These Requirements

We might ask why God did not give us something simpler, something where our understanding would be instantaneous and automatic? Perhaps for several reasons:

  1. The Complexity of the Subject Matter. God communicated to human beings in Scripture with the purpose of guiding the entire belief system and the lifelong conduct of billions of different people in hundreds of cultures throughout centuries of history. Communication sufficient for this task must necessarily be quite extensive and intricate. An infinite God is telling us about himself and his purposes in all creation! The subject matter is vast.
  2. The Value of Relationship. God delights to teach us in relationship with himself. The prayers for understanding that are found in Scripture (see section B.5 above) indicate an awareness that Scripture is rightly understood only in personal relationship with God, only in a context of prayer for his presence and his help in right understanding.
  3. The Value of a Lifelong Process. God causes us to delight in the process of growing in likeness to him. Growth in understanding Scripture is merely part of the larger process of growth in sanctification, and God in his wisdom has ordained that sanctification is a process, a lifelong journey.

God seems to delight in process, for he delights in gradually disclosing his glory over time. He took delight in creating the world not in one day but in six. He took delight in promising that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent and then in preparing the way for thousands of years so that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4). He has taken delight in building and purifying his church for the past two thousand years.

And he takes delight when we continually increase in the knowledge of himself and his ways through his Word:

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col. 1:9–10)

The process of understanding more of Scripture and more of God is one that will never end in this life. I expect that it will never end even in the age to come. We are finite and we can rejoice in the unending and delightful process of learning more about our infinite Creator[1]

[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020), 113–122.

Q & A with Pastor Jon “Can we trust the Bible” part 2

Q & A with Pastor Jon is a teaching time utilized to answer questions that I have been asked over the course of my ministry. Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon. They are provided as an outline each week for our Tabernacle Church family. The church provides a live stream of the service each Wednesday at 6:30 on Facebook. We also provide the services through YouTube. You can find Sermon Notes, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer List, and other resources at our Church Website.

Are there any errors in the Bible?

Can I really understand the Bible?

Is the Bible enough for knowing what God wants us to think or do?


  • A couple of weeks were considered the TRUSTING of God’s Word. Tonight, I want us to continue that study.
  • A major source of info for this study was Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology.  Go to – Reading List and Bookstore

The clarity of God’s Word

We can understand the Bible.

Deut. 6:6-7 – “teach them, talk of them.”

Psalm 19:7 – “Making wise the simple”

Ps. 119:130 – “it imparts understanding to the simple”

  • The simple person is one who lacks sound judgment and prone to making mistakes.
  • God’s Word is so understandable, so clear, that even the simple are made wise by it.
  • This is of great encouragement to all believers…we all can read, study, and understand the Word of God.

“The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.”  Wayne Grudem

The necessity of God’s Word

The Bible is necessary for salvation and spiritual growth.

Rom. 10:13-17

  1. One must call upon the Lord to be saved
  2. One can only call upon Him if they believe in Him
  3. One cannot believe in Him unless they hear the Gospel
  4. One cannot hear the Gospel unless someone tells them
  5. Saving faith comes by an individual that has responded in faith to the proclamation of the Gospel.

The sufficiency of God’s Word

God has given us all we need to live an obedient life

“The Bible contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting Him perfectly, and for obeying Him perfectly.” Wayne Grudem

  • We need to search scripture for answers – What does God want us to know about doctrinal issues and life?  Depending on the Bible for our answers not men and ministries.
  • We are not to add to scripture – We are not to add anything to the Word of God nor are we to search for additional writings of equal value. (Example – The Book of Mormon)
  • We are not to count outside guidance equal to scripture – An inner impression, peace, or feeling is never to be more authoritative than the Bible.
  • We should remember that God has given us all He intended us to have in His Word – Deut. 29:29 – “the secret things belong to God.”  We need to be content with what God has revealed of Himself and His ways. We too often look to the other sources for the life questions that we have.  Be satisfied with what the Bible teaches about all of life and begin to live it out.