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Why The Bible Does Not Have A Simple Blueprint


From S. Lewis Johnson, as to why God’s word does not provide simple passages that explain everything we want to know about a particular doctrine

You might wish that the Bible did contain one little blueprint that you could turn to that would answer all of the questions, but it seems to me that one of the reasons why this is not so is that God evidently has thought that it was necessary for us to ponder and study the Scriptures in order that through the pondering and study of the word of God, we might come ultimately to the knowledge of the truth.  In other words, it’s necessary to do what the Reformers used to do when they spoke about the Analogy of Faith:  compare Scripture with Scripture, because this is a good test of one’s desire to know the truth.

Incidentally, it’s not simply concerning the doctrine of the second coming that these comments could be made.  They could be made concerning most of the doctrines of the word of God.  If we wish to have a full understanding of all aspects of them, it’s necessary to look at a number of passages in the word of God.  And the very fact that we are willing to do this is some evidence of a desire to know, and it seems to me, that one of the reasons that God has not given us one passage that answers all of our questions concerning each doctrine, is that he does want to test our desire to know holy Scripture.

Now theologians speak of normative passages, and by that, they mean the central passage, the one passage that one turns to, first of all, to gain the major outlines of the teaching of a particular doctrine.  We don’t deny that there are normative passages—there are—but there are, for most of the major doctrines of the word of God, no one passage that answers all of our questions.  I do think that that is something for each of us to think about.  It means that if we are really to know the teaching of the word of God, it is necessary that we ponder and reflect a lot more deeply than simply looking at the word in a surface kind of way.

I think there’s another reason why the Bible does not contain an organized obviously plain statement concerning the second coming doctrine.  We might be so pleased with this blueprint that we discover in the word of God that we forget that the truth concerning the second coming is designed to change our lives.  You may remember that in almost all of the passages of the Bible in which the Second Advent, or the second coming of the Lord Jesus, is referred to, there is a statement in which that truth is made applicational.  That is, it has to do with ethical or moral issues that are to flow out of it.

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