Was intrigued this morning with this scene in Acts where Philip is told to go over by a chariot, where he hears him reading from the book of Isaiah. He asks, “do you understand what you are reading?” the Eunuch’s response is telling.
And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:31 ESV)
It strikes me that God’s word is meant to be expounded by a person and not read in isolation. The doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture is true, but that speaks of the Scriptures as a whole, and doesn’t exclude the need for preachers and teachers. As Paul explained to the church in Rome, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”(Romans 10:14 ESV) It also points out that it is not just anyone that is qualified to explain, but one appointed and prepared for the task. Philip is one of the apostles and sent by the Holy Spirit. While the apostles were a unique office, the task of preaching continues to be appointed to those qualified and appointed by the church (this does not mean that lay persons are excluded from testifying about Jesus. All are called to that task. This speaks more to an authoritative interpretation of Scripture). The qualifications and key to interpretation is also given in this passage and that is an understanding of the person and work of Christ. Jesus is the key to understanding the passage in Isaiah, just as he is key to understanding every passage. The whole of Scripture is revealing Jesus in some way, whether in preparing a people or giving types and shadows to his person and work.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: Jg 4, Acts 8, Jer 17, Mk 3