The doctrine of the clarity of scripture is something that was rediscovered at the Reformation, it was one of the great doctrines of the Reformation brought about by Martin Luther and others. They saw that the church for too long had been hindering everyday people from understanding the Bible. The services of the church would not be conducted in the language that everyone spoke, so people were not being given the opportunity to understand the Bible.
The result of that was that only people who were educated could understand what was going on in church, could understand the Bible. And so, one of the goals of the Reformation for Martin Luther and others, was to make the Bible something that every person could read.
One thing he did was that he translated the Bible into German, he also made sure that the services were conducted in a language that people could understand.
Over here in the UK, we had someone called William Tyndale who had this wonderful vision when he came to see the doctrine of the clarity of the Bible… He had this famous vision that even an uneducated ploughboy to be able to understand the Bible. And so, he worked on translating the Bible. That was an illegal act in the eyes to the established Church of Tyndale’s day so he was burnt at the stake.
And yet this doctrine of the clarity of scripture gained momentum over the years, but the Roman Catholic Church found this something quite worrying for them. There are even accounts of Bible translated into English, being burnt on big bonfires, so offensive was it to the church that people would read the Bible for themselves.
That’s the context in which the Reformation took place. And as we did last week, we want to affirm the doctrine of the clarity of scripture, that everyone can understand the Bible or should be able to understand the Bible in their own language.