A Brilliant Observation by Mark Labberton in ‘The People’s Book’

9780830851638Labberton’s essay is the last in The People’s Book: The Reformation and the Bible.  The editors certainly saved the best for last.  In his wonderfully engaging essay on the perspicuity of the Bible he notes

… the priesthood of all believers did not mean the equality of all readers (p. 229).

That’s gold right there.  He continues

First, let it be said that Luther and Calvin could only imagine Bible reading occurring in the context of Christian community and not by isolated readers on their iPhones between dumbbell sets at a twenty-four hour fitness club (p. 229).

Earlier he noted

The great irony about perspicuity is that it is not perspicuous, or at least not as clear as it might sound.  The greatest evidence that perspicuity is not self-evident is provided by Calvin himself, who argued for the perspicuity of the Bible but did so while writing thousands of pages of commentary to help make plain to the ordinary reader what the Scriptures were saying and teaching.  …. Scriptures can be meaningfully described as clear but not as easy (p. 228).

What a wondrous essay in a wondrous collection of essays.  You should read this book.  And watch for my full review in Relegere sometime this Summer (which will also contain some mild rebukes of other essayists).


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