Thursday, 28 May 2015
For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end… 2 Corinthians 1:13
This verse has been translated and analyzed in a variety of ways showing the difficult nature of the words that Paul has written. And yet, it seems to be an appeal to the Corinthians that his letters to them are clear and without ambiguity.
It may be inferred that Paul was told that the some of the Corinthians accused him of writing things in such a way that he would have an “out” when challenged on the intent of what he wrote. If this is so, Paul is defending his letters as clear and concise and without ambiguity or equivocation.
In order to convey this he says, “For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand.” Said another way, “The message is clear on the surface and as you have read it, that was its intent.” In the Greek, there is a play on the words which cannot be reproduced in our English language. The words “you read” are anaginōskete, and the word “understand” is epiginōskete. Ellicott gives his analysis of the wordplay –
“I have no hidden meaning in what I write and you read. What you read you read aright in its plain and simple sense. I hope” (the very hope implies that it had been otherwise) “that the more you know me the more will you so read me and judge me even to the end, the great day when the Lord shall come and all things shall be made plain.” Charles Ellicott
As he noted, Paul’s continued words of, “Now I trust” implies that they had felt what he had written was not plain and simple. In order for them to reconsider that, he fully states, “Now I trust that you will understand, even to the end…” He is asking them to trust his words unfailingly, even to death itself, which is implied in the words “the end.” For all times, and in the life of any believer who reads his words, it is his intent to properly explain and clearly word every precept needed for proper conduct, holy living, and right doctrine.
If we consider that the words of the Bible are given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can then further contemplate the truth of this message. God may hide intricate details, patterns, and pictures in His word, but He will never give us a word which is ambiguous or unclear. It would be contradictory to His very nature to do so. Therefore, we can read the Bible, taking it at face value, but always remembering context. To some, things may seem contradictory when taken out of context. However, by keeping things in their proper place we will always see God’s word clearly presented and fully reliable.
Life application: When someone challenges the Bible’s reliability, it is because they have misapplied some portion of it. Instead of doing the hard work and searching out its truths in a methodical fashion, they will take it apart in unintended ways, thus making it out to be a faulty source of wisdom. Don’t be fooled by such people. They have already fooled themselves, and there are enough fools in the world because of this.
Lord God, in understanding Your word a bit more each day, I am fully convinced that it is clear, accurate, filled with truth, and having no contradictions at all. It is a perfect word for my mind, a useful tool for gaining wisdom, a source of joy in times of trouble, and a precious gem more valuable than gold or silver. It is the lamp for my feet and the light for my path. I thank You for this precious, superior word! Thank You for the Holy Bible. Amen.