In our interaction with others we should be precise and clear. We should not say one thing and do the opposite, this sends out confusing messages and we will get a reputation of being untrustworthy. Our ‘Yes’ must be ‘Yes’ and our ‘No, No’ (Mt 5:37). One OT prophet was told, “Write down the message, make it plain” (Hab 2:2). This removes the doubt or uncertainty. As believers we need to clearly present the truths of the gospel, stating that the Bible says those who love Jesus and demonstrate it by their lives will be in heaven while those who live in rebellion and don’t walk with Him will be doomed to a lost eternity. In this crucial area there is no room for thinking maybe God will let unrepentant sinners into heaven.
Ambiguous refers to when some form of communication is open to more than one meaning, such as if there is an indistinct fuzzy trumpet call soldiers will not know whether to get ready for battle or not (1 Cor 14:8).
Lord, open my eyes – Ps 119:18
interpretation and allows us latitude for preference and understanding. This provides us with multiple options and room to explore different viewpoints. Clarify your stance by studying all the Bible passages associated with that theme, arrive at your own informed conclusion, and live with a clear conscience. This helps develop a intimate relationship with Him, not cold rules.
It is important not to make a major issue or 'pet doctrine' out of minor non-essential and controversial issues, where there are ambiguous passages. God has not provided Scripture in order to explicitly explain everything, but only to reveal certain things with others matters intended to be vague or hidden from some people (Mt 13:10-13). Scripture communicates truths that are spiritually apprehended and received and for this we need the Holy Spirit's help if we are to understand it rightly (1 Cor 2:14). However fallen man is so resistant to God's truth that he essentially blinds himself to what would otherwise be fairly clear (Eph 4:17,18). Even when Scripture plainly reveals truth, it is generally misunderstood to some degree because we lack the ability to perceive spiritual truth conveyed in spiritual words (1 Cor 2:13). As believers we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth and along with the mind of Christ (the ability to look at life from the Saviour's point of view) we submit to their influence in varying degrees, meaning that even then, sometimes we see the truth and sometimes we do not (1 Cor 2:12,16; 2 Pet 3:16).
Frequently in prophecy, there is a vagueness that allows the Scripture to be fulfilled in any number of ways. The general outline is given without the specifics (although man continually attempts to speculate and predict the details). Rather than get unduly concerned with the finer points we should be motivated to obey Him in order to obtain the promised blessings and avoid the threatened curses. The ambiguity allows for overlapping interpretations and applications that come through a diligent searching of the Scriptures and His leading in prayer to ascertain the approach to take rather than just mindlessly following the rules. Remember He desires relationship with us more than conformity to regulations. This gives a variety of viewpoints and approaches that provided are within the boundaries set forth in the Bible are acceptable to God.
a tension between the various viewpoints, and as believers we should be constantly studying it to ensure we are coming into a fuller understanding and balance with conformity to His plans and purposes. We must be tolerant, open and accommodating of
Often God wants us to walk in faith, not by rigid rules
the perspective and opinions of others. However, this accepting must not be extended to areas where the Bible is adamant and where there is a provable theology that specifically defines certain conduct or teaching. We are not to compromise or be swayed by the reasoning of fallible fellow humans. There must be unity and adherence to what is specified in the Bible, but tolerance and freedom of belief and practice in non-essential issues, and it is in these seemingly inconsequential matters we are not to judge those who hold to a different viewpoint.
To clarify in areas such as guidance and knowing God's will in moral issues there are rigid rules He expects us to live by. Yet in numerous others issues He gives us the freedom to arrive at our own conviction or choice. If not sure about a course of action, do what is the best for the other person; this benevolent action reflects God who is always loving, merciful and fair.
See also: communication, controversial issues, discernment, guidance, interpretation, mind of Christ, morals/morality, non-negotiable, tension, uncertain, vague, viewpoint.