The Clarity of God’s Word

These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them … when you lie down, and when you rise.”

- Deuteronomy 6:6–7

The clarity of Scripture is another attribute of the Word of God that is developed throughout the Old Testament. Our Lord has made it plain in His Word that His inscripturated revelation is not to be locked up in libraries and universities and studied only by scholars; rather, it has been designed so that all people can read and understand its basic message.

Scripture testifies to its clarity in several ways, the first of these being its understanding of divine accommodation. God did not speak to us in a lofty or strange language but instead accommodated Himself to our weaknesses, speaking to us on our level so that we might understand and obey His commandments. Exodus 33:11 says this of Moses, the first great biblical author: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Our Creator did not reveal Himself to Moses in a divine language no one could understand, nor did He give examples or analogies uncommon to human experience. Instead, he spoke as a friend would, in a manner that would be clearly understood by the hearer.

God also illustrates the clarity of His Word in commanding everyone in the covenant community to have it on their lips and teach it to their children. Today’s passage assumes that every person in Israelite society, from the most educated priest to the most illiterate peasant, would be able to comprehend enough of the Word of God to teach it to others (Deut. 6:6–7). If the Lord had made His revelation so obscure that few could understand it, He never could have commanded His people, saying that there must be “no portion of time unoccupied with meditation on the Law” (John Calvin).

Jesus also presumed that the people could understand God’s Word. In Luke 24:25–27 He expects the disciples on the road to Emmaus to have understood and believed the basic teaching that the Messiah must die and rise again. The problem with their understanding was not Scripture but their unbelief.

Not everything in the Bible is equally clear; Scripture implies as much when it appoints teachers for God’s people (Eph. 4:11–14). Yet as Jesus’ encounter on the Emmaus road shows, the gospel is plain to anyone who will read the Bible.

Coram Deo

Some parents do not spend that much time talking about the Scriptures at home because they believe it is too hard to understand. But the Bible is clear enough that anyone who is willing to sit down and read can understand its basic message. If you have children at home, are you taking time to instruct them in the things of God? If you do not have children, how are you helping the church to teach children and support parents in their important work?

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 119:129–130
Proverbs 3:1–8
Matthew 12:1–8
John 3:1–15

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