January 18, 2013
vii. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
The perspicuity of Scripture does not mean that all things in Scripture are equally clear. Some things, even as Peter reminds us, are hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16). But it does mean, and I think we should reiterate here that it has meant this from the beginning, that those things necessary to know and believe for salvation are so clear and replete throughout Scripture that, with "a due use of the ordinary means" anyone will see and understand them.
Notice that the confession is not saying that in knowing these things one is automatically saved. It is only saying that such things can be known by ordinary means. There is no need or hint of some kind of secret mystery knowledge that can only be attained by the gifted. The gospel can be seen and understood by all. This is the premise upon which you and I share the gospel with anyone, whether a small child, one who is uneducated, or the educated.
This is also important in that it affirms that the scholarly guild is not needed in order for Scripture to be properly understood. It is helpful and useful for the church to have scholars who excel in various aspects of biblical and theological studies, but those scholars must first of all be faithful to Scripture's clear teaching. Anyone who excels in biblical and theological studies, and then uses his expertise in order to subvert, undermine, pervert or contradict the clear meaning of Scripture is no friend of the Christian faith and should be ignored. By the "due use of ordinary means," any such subversive scholar can be refuted.