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2.18.2006    |    "Black letter Scripture"
A commenter, Milton Stanley, noted that he hadn't come across the term before. So, a brief explanation.

Black letter Scripture is a term I've used for some years to describe those elements of Scripture that are, or should be, self-evident. Perhaps self-revealing is a better term, given the source of Scripture. Sort of God's little self-extracting bit of knowledge, like a self-extracting zip file.

This is parallel to what is called "black letter law," which means law that is codified (hence, "black letter") and whose prima facie meaning is generally accepted. Not universally; there will be among us always legal beagles who can argue night is day and black is, if not white, at the least some hazy shade of gray.

Getting back to Scripture, not all that is codified in Scripture is accepted as being part of God's book of laws, of course. Enter into discussion with many Anglican churchmen if you doubt this. Or even some of my Baptist colleagues. But I would argue that goodly parts of Scripture are self-evident, and should be generally accepted.

Among these parts I include things such as the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus the Son of God, the Decalogue, and prohibitions against all manner of beastly behavior. Which, in Scripture, most assuredly includes incest, homosexual behavior, and bestiality. And, among Protestants, it should not be necessary to even provide citations for such things (but, for those who need them, try Matthew 1; Exodus 20; Leviticus 18 for these particulars).

"Black letter" Scripture, all. In that they are written down, in black letters, in plain language, and whose first meaning is quite sufficient. To quote a Fox News host from this morning's show about one of those sins, he kind of shouted something like, "you mean you need a law for what's written in the Bible!?!" Meaning, some things are self-evident from Scripture. Black letter Scripture.

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Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the explanation, JL. You've given me a new term for my toolbox. Peace.

8:01 AM, February 22, 2006  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.