Words within [ ] belong to chief snarkologist Bruce Almighty.
It is vital for Christians to know God’s Word, to love its precepts so much that they hide it in their hearts so they will never forget it. Why? This is the foundation of discernment. God gives the gift of discernment to His people. Some have more than others [And, based on his blog and writing for the Christian Research Network, Mike Ratliff has lots of d-i-s-c-e-r-n-m-e-n-t.] of course, but we all must learn to develop it and it begins by knowing and understanding God’s Word. Why? God’s Word is our plumb line. All Christians have a right and duty, not only to learn from the church’s heritage of faith, but also to interpret Scripture for themselves [But only if their interpretations agree with mine].
Each book of the Bible was written in a way that could be understood by the readers to whom it was addressed [You mean the people who couldn’t read or write?], not in code. I know many who refuse to accept this as they point to the books of Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation. They contend that the heavy use of symbolism in those books require them to “decode” them. However, the main thrust in these prophetic books is always clear, even if the details are clouded. Our understanding of any book in the Bible includes the words used, the historic background, and the cultural conventions of the writer and his readers. When we understand these things then we are well on the way to grasping the thoughts that are being conveyed. There is another aspect of God’s Word, however, which is the spiritual understanding [Gnosticism, anyone?]. This is the Christian discerning the reality of God, His ways with His people, His present will, and one’s own relationship to Him. This spiritual understanding will not reach the Christian from the text until God removes the veil from his or her heart [So, God keeps people from understanding the Bible?].
Each book proceeded from the same divine mind, so the teaching of the Bible’s sixty-six books is complementary and consistent. I know of many Christian leaders who doubt that what I just wrote is true. I know of some professing Christians who comment here at times who reveal that they doubt it as well. If we find ourselves in this place of doubt then the fault is in us, not in Scripture. There are no contradictions in Scripture [*sigh*]. I know that there are some who specialize in revealing supposed contradictions, but not one has ever stood in light of proper Biblical exegesis. [Proper is code for “my infallible interpretation of the Bible.] Scripture interprets Scripture. [That’s a hoot. At best, the Bible is confusing. At worst, it is a contradictory mess that leads honest, unbiased readers to conclude that God was off his meds when he “wrote” the Bible. According to Ratliff, the Bible is true because it says it is.] This sound principle of interpreting Scripture is sometimes called the analogy of Scripture, or the analogy of faith. [Ah yes, the analogy of faith, a thin layer of sweet-smelling bullshit painted over textual errors and contradictions.]
No meaning may be read into or imposed on Scripture that cannot with certainty be read out of Scripture—shown, that is, to be unambiguously expressed by one or more of the human writers.[Yet, 2,000 years and countless denominations later, this is EXACTLY what Christians have done.] Careful and prayerful observance of these rules is a mark of every Christian who is “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
The weakness and apostasy we are seeing the Church in our day is directly attributable to an incredible lack of biblical discernment [Also known as people who disagree with me]. Doctrinal truth is either ignored or not known. These conditions arose when relativism invaded the church. This caused a de-emphasis of proper Bible study from the top down in the churches compromised by it. Strong Churches [Churches that I would go to] are doctrinally sound and this happens when God Word is properly taught and then studied by the believers within. This proper handling of God’s Word must be according to these guidelines which are the “ordinary means” through which God’s people become solidly grounded in God’s Word.
— Mike Ratliff, Possessing the Treasure, Christians Can Understand the Word of God, March 7, 2017