The Rational Vs. the Irrational Mind In Understanding the Bible

One must ALWAYS use one's rational mind in studying God's word. The alternative is to accept irrational conclusions which are not warranted by the evidence. God has given us the power to reason, and expects us to use that ability.

First, it is important to understand the concept of plenary verbal inspiration. Plenary merely makes reference to global scale: the ENTIRE Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit. None of it is written by the whims of anyone. It contains the words of others, including the Devil; but, they were recorded by the direction of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:21). Verbal means that the individual words were inspired. This means that not only the words used are inspired, but also the verb tense, singularity or plurality of nouns, feminine or masculine forms of nouns and adjectives, and other grammatical structures are all carefully chosen by the Holy Spirit.

Consider these examples of the use of logic and reason.

Jesus defends the resurrection with the present verb tense in “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Matt. 22:23-33)

Paul makes use of the singular form of “seed” to emphasize that God's promise to Abraham referred to Jesus, alone, and not to the nation of Israel (Gal. 3:16).

The Pharisees came to the correct conclusion from their reasoning of Jesus' question regarding the baptism of John (Matt. 21:23-27). Unfortunately, they were so hard hearted that they were unwilling to face the consequences of their conclusion, and instead answered “We don't know.” They were spiritual cowards, dishonest with both themselves and Jesus.

Paul used reason and the scriptures to persuade both Greeks and Jews (Acts 17:1-4, 18:4, 19, 24:25).

And, finally, the Holy Spirit commends those in Berea, saying “They were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, to see whether those things were so.“ (Acts 17:11) It is true that we must put on our spiritual glasses, as it were, to correctly understand what God wants us to know. When Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes he would say, “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear.” It's like, “OK, folks, listen up. These may be mere physical examples but they portray spiritual truths. You had better pay attention.“ I think of Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night when I think of someone who forgot his spiritual glasses (John 3:1-12). For one who was supposed to be spiritually minded (a leader of the Pharisees) he was not applying spiritual lessons from the master teacher. We should learn from him. We should also learn from Felix, who understood the spiritual teachings from Paul; but rather than acting upon his understanding, he put it off, possibly for the rest of his life. How sad that he lost his soul because of his unwillingness to let go of his own comfort zone (Acts 24:24-27).

It is true that God chose what men consider foolish things of this world to fulfill His plan, but that was to confound the wisdom of men, not to throw reason and rational thought out the window. The scriptures demand logical thought processes throughout the books of Romans and Hebrews to understand the arguments of how God saves man and how superior the Gospel system is over the Law of Moses. James uses logical arguments to prove that faith without works is dead.

If someone asks you to remove your thinking cap when trying to persuade you regarding spiritual things, that would be grounds for suspicion, and should run up a red flag. Just accept what you say without any proof? No correlating your position with what I know, or can determine, what the Bible says? That, my friend, is utter foolishness. Not reason, without scripture; not scriptures with no reason: but, scriptures coupled with the useful and discriminating tool of reason. Not mere man's wisdom, but accurate application of sound reasoning principles using God's word as the standard.

Curtis A. Little, Royse City, TX

Curtis A. Little
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