This post was first published during November 2019. –ed.
The Bible isn’t some mystical transmitter of truth. It’s not a coded message with numerological keys. Nor does its text require ethereal insight to unlock its meaning. God has kindly chosen to communicate with man by engaging the mental faculties He has blessed us with—through the clear, objective, and rational expression of His revealed Word.
The objective revelation of God in Scripture is meant to be understood by normal reasoning. It is logical and noncontradictory. There are no errors, lies, or unsound principles. There are, in reality, no logical contradictions, though to us there may appear to be inconsistencies or paradoxes due to our human limitations. But ultimately, there are no contradictions in Scripture, no fantasies, no absurdities, no inconsistencies, and no myths.
The Word of God contains the actual history of real people told in normal language. And Scripture is to be understood in the same way we would seek to understand anything—by the process of reason. We use reason to solve a math problem, read an engineering schematic, or diagnose an illness. In the same way, Scripture is understood according to the normal patterns of human reason. It is understood by the mind, not by mystical intuition or epiphany.
That doesn’t mean that there is no spiritual component to understanding the Bible. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” The natural man is unregenerate, and his mind is still darkened by enslavement to sin. It’s the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit that brings saving faith and repentance. So while a true understanding of Scripture in all its fullness is limited to believers, the believer still comes to that true understanding through the normal paths of reasoning. In the same way, the unregenerate person is responsible for not believing in God because he has been given evidence of God’s existence that accords with his normal reasoning powers (Romans 1:18–20). Man is subject to God’s wrath because he does not follow the normal path of reason and conscience to recognize God as his Creator, Lawgiver, and Judge. In spite of what the world claims, it is far more reasonable and rational to believe in creation than evolution. Man is culpable before God because he doesn’t follow the path of God-given reason to the most obvious reality in the universe—God.
The rationality of Scripture also has implications for believers: We are meant to understand God’s Word through reason. In Nehemiah 8, Ezra stood up and read the Scripture in front of the people for half the day, explaining to them its meaning. In chapter 7, we learn that Ezra read the Scriptures, studied them, lived them, and then preached them (Ezra 7:10). He came to understand Scripture’s meaning before explaining it to the people. This is an important point, because so many Christians believe that the true meaning of Scripture falls on an individual through some intuition or experience. They’re looking to unlock the rational truth of God’s Word through irrational means.
This is another area in which the church cannot afford to mimic or follow the lead of this perishing world. J. P. Moreland describes in vivid terms the dangers a culture faces when it has surrendered reason and critical thinking: “We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and we can no longer afford to act like it’s loaded with blanks.”  J. P. Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1997), 21. He continues:
Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for a well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality. In the political process, the makeup man is more important than the speech writer, and we approach the voting booth, not on the basis of a well-developed philosophy of what the state should be, but with a heart full of images, emotions, and slogans all packed into thirty-second sound bites. The mind-numbing, irrational tripe that fills TV talk shows is digested by millions of bored, lonely Americans hungry for that sort of stuff.  Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind, 21.
What Moreland is describing is the massive tidal wave of anti-intellectualism that has overwhelmed much of society today. Tragically, it has flooded into the church, too. Today, many professing believers have no interest in the carefully reasoned study of God’s Word, preferring to seek illumination and instruction through alternate means. Some adopt the rituals of pagan religions, while others simply wait to hear the audible voice of the Lord or receive intuitive mental impressions from the Spirit to interpret the Bible.
That mystical approach to God and His truth is inherently irrational. In fact, the pursuit of private, subjective interpretation effectively denies both the objectivity and rationality of God’s truth. It also denies the sufficiency of His inspired Word, presuming that there is more we need to know than what God has placed in Scripture. In the end, this anti-intellectual search for truth often leads to the kind of chaos we see dominating the charismatic movement. For others, it leads to disappointment, despair, and apostasy.
God had a purpose when He gave us the capacity for rational thought. If we want to know Him and understand what He has revealed in His Word, we must approach Scripture rationally, following the normal processes of logic and reason with sound hermeneutics to come to a true understanding of its meaning. The rationality of Scripture is actually a great blessing. It means that instead of a multitude of elusive, scattered, subjective interpretations, there is a fixed, consistent meaning to God’s Word for everyone to know with settled confidence.
(Adapted from Final Word)