Let Scripture Speak for Itself

by Ken Hamrick

When it comes to understanding the Bible, the intended meaning of the author ought to be held in such importance that the text is bible-open-to-psalm-118allowed to speak for itself—with every effort made to not read into the text ideas that were not intended—and to get our clues as to what was intended only from the text itself, rather than permitting ideas, claims, evidences and authorities from outside of the text to tell us what the text means. This is why we go by the axiom, If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense. When it tells us that Christ physically rose from the dead and left the tomb, we don’t allow science to weigh in and tell us that He must not have actually died, but only “swooned,” since dead bodies do not reanimate (CPR might work for a few minutes, but not three days after death). Certainly, science has a legitimate stake in the matter, since what is claimed is above and beyond all natural laws and a physical impossibility. Nevertheless, science must be ignored in this, since it is a supernatural matter outside of their ability to explain, detect, or prove. For us today, it is a matter of pure revelation—the eyewitnesses are dead and unavailable for examination. Christ Himself no longer appears, having ascended to heaven. But we believe the Bible’s testimony because our faith lets Scripture speak for itself, authenticated by the witness of the Holy Spirit; and we refuse to look for an alternative interpretation, regardless of how ridiculous or absurd our belief might seem to skeptics. It’s the same for the creation account as for Christ’s resurrection or any other miracle. We let the Bible speak for itself—if a particular passage makes sense in its plainest reading, then why would we need to look for any other understanding? When the straightforward, plain-sense reading is that of an historical account, we ought to give Scripture the benefit of the doubt and assume that the plain reading is the correct understanding unless Scripture itself gives us warrant to look for an alternative meaning. Anything less than this standard of Scriptural authority yields a hermeneutic by which anyone can make the Bible say anything he wants it to say. Stand firmly on the Word!

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