The Bible Its Own Interpreter -- By: Richard V. Clearwaters

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 12:3 (Fall 1969)
Article: The Bible Its Own Interpreter
Author: Richard V. Clearwaters


The Bible Its Own Interpreter

Richard V. Clearwaters

Founder and President

Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis

Unless the Bible is its own interpreter giving us absolute truth, it will become a book of authority subject to “private interpretations” (II Peter 1:20), which will give us only relative truth.

Herbert Spencer, the English philosopher, named what he called five infathomable concepts: life, time, matter, space, and motion. All five of these are found in the first two verses of Genesis as God began his revelation to man. In fact the first phrase of the Bible: “In the beginning God” denies Atheism, Polytheism, Pantheism, Materialism, and Fatalism.

The philosopher of human wisdom dealing with relative truth must assume four or five basic assumptions: (1) He must assume his own existence. (2) He must assume that his mind is an instrument of knowledge. (3) He must assume that the objective world exists. (4) He must assume that his knowledge of the objective world corresponds with reality, (5) He must assume that we live in a rational universe. Because of the cock-sureness of so many scientists, there may be those who take exception to the categorical statement that nearly all of the facts of science give us relative truth. The reason for this is that there is a universal limitation of reason on all human minds.

The scientist proceeds on the basis of four scientific principles: (1) He must observe objective facts. (2) He must collect objective facts. (3) He must classify objective facts. (4) He must interpret objective facts. All mankind may believe, but we cannot demonstrate that our minds tell us the truth; that our knowledge corresponds with reality; that the objective world exists; that the universe is rational; and that cause and effect are in force in all time and place. The Materialists and Atheists who may be scientists accept these things by faith and believe them, but they cannot prove them.

The scientist finds five limitations which cause him to deal almost entirely in relative truth, namely, (1) There is a limitation of the facts that are available. (2) The second limitation is that of his observing the facts available because of imperfect vision. (3) The third limitation of the scientist’s mind is to organize and correlate the facts

available and observed. (4) The fourth limitation is in interpreting these facts. (5) The scientist also suffers a fifth limitation in the power of speech itself to express fully what he has learned. (6) In the sixth place he might find a limitation in minds able to understand even if he...

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