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BEREAN EXPOSITOR VOLUME 2 & 3.
The Limitations of Scripture.
"For I am conscious of nothing in myself, nevertheless am I not
justified. . . . So then do not judge anything before the time, until the
Lord shall come. . . . Learn in us the lesson of not letting your
thoughts go beyond the things that are written" (I Cor.iv.4-6).
We can imagine that some of our readers will read the title of this article with some
misgivings, and we hasten to explain our meaning so as to avoid giving unnecessary pain
or anxiety to those who love the Word of God. To say what we do not mean will help us
to make clear what we do mean by the title. We do not mean to suggest the slightest
distrust in the Word of God. We rejoice to be able out of a full heart to say that we
believe "All Scriptures is God-breathed." We believe that not only is Scripture inspired
in its general outline, but that divine inspiration extends to the very language and choice
of individual words and phrases.
What do we mean then by the limitations of Scripture? We mean that the Scriptures
nowhere claim that they contain the record of all God's purposes and ways, but that such
glimpses of those unfathomable depths and infinite heights are given us as our finite
capabilities will allow. If I turn to the writings of men I find that many of them deal with
subjects which go entirely beyond the inspired limits of Scripture. Revelation starts with
God as Creator, "In (the) beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen.i:1).
Man's theology is not content with this, it must probe into that over which God has
drawn a veil. Man's theology and philosophy come to us and say, "God never had a
beginning." Within the limits of human experience and reason that which never had a
beginning does not exist. In vain we attempt to conceive otherwise. The blessed fact
we would point out is that God Himself has never burdened our minds with such a
statement. He Who on earth could say, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye
cannot bear them now," has also, in the wider scope of the complete Scriptures, given us
just so much as we are capable of understanding here.
Have we never felt when searching the Scriptures upon some theme the desire for
some further explanation which God has been pleased to withhold? Is there no truth in
the words of Zophar the Naamathite, "Canst thou by searching find out God?" Do we not
need the rebuke of Job xxxvi.26, "Behold, God is great, and we know Him not, neither
can the number of His years be searched out." Canst thou find out the Almighty unto
perfection? In the highest revelation given to us are there not "unsearchable riches"?
Are we not endeavouring to get to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge?
Did not the apostle, when concluding the revelation of God's ways with Israel, rightly
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How
unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out. For who hath known
the mind of the Lord (knowledge)? Or who hath been His counsellor (wisdom). Or who
hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again (riches)?"