Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lambs May Wade

All Scripture…is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16)

C. S. Lewis, in an essay on “Christian Apologetics,” divides religions, as we do soups, into thick and clear: “Now if there is a true religion it must be both thick and clear: for the true God must have made both the child and the man…”

There are indeed “thick” concepts in the Bible: mysteries, subtleties, complexities that challenge the most accomplished mind. And yet, in the same volume, there are concepts that are crystal clear: simple, attainable, and easily grasped. (What surpasses the profundity and simplicity of St. John’s clear affirmation: “God is love”?)

John Cameron, a 19th century writer suggests, “In the same meadow, the ox may lick up grass, the hound may find a hare, the bird may pick up seeds, the virgins gather flowers, and a man finds a pearl: so in one and the same Scripture, are varieties to be found, for all sorts of conditions. In there, children may be fed with milk, and meat may be had for stronger men. (There) ‘the lamb may wade and the elephant may swim…’”[1]

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in the Book—ocean depths that can bestir the most sophisticated mind, and shoals that can be negotiated by any simple, honest soul.

That said, why hesitate? “All scripture is profitable.” Jump in!


[1] This last phrase was originally used by Chrysostom, a 5th century Church Father.


gcorron said...

I think a great portion of the meaning of 2 Tim 3:16 was lost on the cutting room floor. By extracting just 4 words from that verse, then mixing in some Lewis and Cameron, we get a completely different meaning than the original text. What is scripture profitable for? The four actions given (teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness) head straight into the direction of the challenging, the complex, the uncomfortable areas of thought, not as David Roper would have us believe, into areas where there is no disagreement. Paul is telling Timothy, don't be timid about using scripture to make strong arguments and to challenge your flock. The objective is not childlike simplicity, but maturity as a competent man of God. We should develop a taste for meat, not milk (Heb 5:12-13). Those who choose to stay in the shallow end of the pool the writer of Hebrews calls "unskilled" and "a child", and he goes on to exhort the reader to leave behind the more simple doctrines. Clearly they are not as profitable as some would suppose.

dskn said...

I'm not entirely sure of gcorron's points, but I don't see Mr. Roper suggesting a belief that there is not disagreement along the path of teaching, reproof, correction and training. All scripture is profitable for those things (and even more), but meat and milk are both mentioned in scripture as viable and necessary "foods" for Christian growth. Getting believers to "meat" is good, feeding an infant believer "meat" is unwise. I very much appreciate Mr Roper's point that the scriptures have something for everyone at every level of their growth. God can reach anyone at any level with His word if we listen and follow. It's His heart's desire that none should perish and miss the gospel message regardless of where they are in life and at whatever academic level. He has a Father's heart to connect with us (even while we are yet sinners!). Thank you Lord!

gcorron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gcorron said...

I'm sure of Paul's point in 2 Tim 3:16, and it is much different that the point of the article. If the Bible does teach that "Scripture has something for everyone", then Mr. Roper should cite the verse that teaches that and rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). I doubt that this article is a legitimate teaching of Scripture. If anyone would like to step up and show me otherwise, please do so.

Is Scripture profitable for the complacent and those who would change Scripture to suit themselves? Proverbs 1:20-31 makes it clear that there are certain prerequisites for receiving and profiting from God's instruction.

Fear of God - don't tamper with his word!

Love of his knowledge - all of Scripture, not just the parts that we find appealing.

Willingness to accept his reproof - be challenged, and not intellectually complacent.

Too often, many who call themselves Christians choose to remain simple precisely because they don't want to be challenged. Jesus warns them that they are not saved (Matthew ch. 25).

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