Approaching Scripture, part 1
Note: This post is part one of a six-part series.
- Part One – Introduction
- Part Two – Inspired
- Part Three – Inerrant and Infallible
- Part Four – Authoritative
- Part Five – Sufficient
- Part Six – Clear and Unified
I wonder if you’ve ever heard the story of the blind men and the elephant.
As the story goes, some blind men stumble upon an elephant, but not being able to see it, they try to determine what it is by what they feel. One man touches the belly and things it’s a wall. Another grabs his ear and thinks it’s a fan. Another grabs his tail and thinks it’s a rope. On and on they go, each assuming it’s something different than what it really is, never knowing that it’s an elephant.
The point of the story? Often it’s told to make the point that We’re all blind men when it comes to God. Maybe we know a part of him, but we can’t really know him. Therefore, no one can be sure that he is more right than anyone else. We’re all just grasping in the dark, thinking we know more than we actually do.
In everything we encounter, we always come with certain presuppositions. Certain things from our background that give us a certain lens through which we view things. And we all know that sometimes our presuppositions can be wrong, and sometimes they can be right. Sometimes our presuppositions are affirmed, and sometimes we need to change them.
In that story, the presuppositions of those who promote it to make the point I mentioned above are that we can’t see the whole thing, so therefore we can’t be sure about anything that we think we know. But while they rightly recognize that we’re limited and finite, they leave out the key factor that needs to change their presuppositions:
The story is told from the point of view of a narrator who knows what the elephant is. The story wouldn’t make sense if there wasn’t a narrator who told us that the thing was, in fact, an elephant. Therefore, when it comes to the knowledge of God, if someone—someone with knowledge, someone authority, someone who could be trusted—if someone spoke up, then that changes everything.
Even better: What if the elephant in the story could talk? What if he told all those people who he was and what they were touching and gave them context to understand it?
Yes, we’re limited in our understanding, and if it was up to us, we’d be guessing at best.
But the truth is, God has spoken. And therefore we’re not guessing. God has spoken, and so that should change our presuppositions. We can know him, because in his grace he has chosen to make himself known.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to use this space to write about God’s Word. My hope is to remind us of some of the core truths of God’s Word and how those truths should impact the way in which we read, hear, and respond to God’s Word—really how they should impact the way that we live the entirety of our lives.
What we’re going to see over the next few weeks is this – God’s Word is:
- Clear, and
God has spoken, which means we can know him. God has spoken, which means we need to listen, and we need to listen with trusting ears to everything he has to say.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.