On May 3, 1997, world chess champion Gary Kasparov pitted his strategic brilliance against the IBM super computer, Deep Blue. From the outset, Kasparov’s superiority was evident. But Move 44 from Deep Blue changed everything.
The super computer made a move that was so remarkably amateur and seemingly suicidal it spooked Kasparov. He could not believe his eyes, attributing Move 44 to “superior intelligence” and assuming Deep Blue had set a complicated trap. Out-thinking himself, Kasparov abandoned his normal winning strategy and proceeded to make a series of unorthodox and disastrous plays that led to the triumph of machine over man. It was only in the aftermath of victory that the IBM programmers revealed Move 44 was due to a bug in Deep Blue’s software.
Tragically, many people make the same error when it comes to interpreting God’s Word. Rejecting the plain, clear, simple meaning of Scripture, they chase after some complex, deeper, mysterious truth buried within. They treat the Bible like a coded message, resorting to all sorts of exotic techniques to unlock its meaning—everything from numerology to allegory to postmodern deconstruction.
But God’s Word is not an ancient riddle, and biblical exegesis is not a treasure hunt. There is no fundamental Christian doctrine that hasn’t been plainly revealed in Scripture. And yet much of modern scholarship is overrun with people who are so busy excavating deeper meaning that they end up burying the truth right under their noses.
In the following audio clip—taken from a sermon called “Reasons to Trust the Clarity of Scripture”—John MacArthur reminds us that the Bible is not a mystery, nor is it the exclusive domain of scholars and language experts. God has made His Word readily accessible to all people, regardless of their intellectual status.
We should be thankful that God has mercifully chosen to communicate clearly with fallen men; that He isn’t into obfuscation. He says what He means and means what He says.
With that in mind, we want to hear from you. What passages of Scripture have you seen (or heard, or read) twisted, contorted, and abused for the sake of getting at some deeper, hidden meaning? More importantly, what is the true meaning of those texts, and what do they have to say to us about the authority and perspicuity of God’s Word?