The Plain Sense

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Original photo by Tom of a postcard of the world’s smallest Bible

Daily Reformation, Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

From the Reformer

All the things, therefore, contained in the Scriptures; are made manifest, although some places, from the words not being understood, are yet obscure. But to know that all things in the Scriptures are set in the clearest light, and then, because a few words are obscure, to report that the things are obscure, is absurd and impious. And, if the words are obscure in one place, yet they are clear in another. But, however, the same thing, which has been most openly declared to the whole world, is both spoken of in the Scriptures in plain words, and also still lies hidden in obscure words. Now, therefore, it matters not if the thing be in the light, whether any certain representations of it be in obscurity or not, if, in the mean while, many other representations of the same thing be in the light. For who would say that the public fountain is not in the light, because those who are in some dark narrow lane do not see it, when all those who are in the Open market place can see it plainly?

—Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will

Pulling It Together

Tell it in his words and your own. Read it from the authority of scripture and let the Holy Spirit speak to their hearts. Yet make sense of it. Speak it in plain words too. As much as some clamor about what poor scripture the paraphrases be, God uses them to draw souls near. They make understandable to some what may have seemed too dense to them at that stage of the soul development. They give the sense of what is sometimes obscure. (Yes, in spots, sometimes paraphrases make a muddle of it but so do some translations.)

For some, you may be the plainest sense of the Scripture they ever see. So you too, must speak and live the plain sense of the word. Do so “facing the square…in sight of all.”

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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