Explicit and Implicit Revelations
Luke 22:31-32 (ESV) -- “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
There are many things taught explicitly in the Bible. They come right out and tell you what to think. “Love your neighbor” is an explicit teaching. We don’t have to guess about what is implied. But there are many teachings that are implicit or passive points that emerge in passages of Scripture. The work of doing theology and studying the Word is learning how to pick up both explicit and implicit teachings.
Our passage today is a good example of both things existing. Jesus is hours from His arrest and crucifixion. Jesus says this to His disciple Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
First, notice the clear statements explicitly made by Jesus that we can apply. Jesus is interceding for Peter. He prays for His disciples. That is still true today. And He tells Peter that when he has turned again, he is to strengthen his brothers. Peter is to help lead the disciples through the tumultuous times that are ahead for the movement of disciples after Jesus’ death. These are clear explicit teachings from Jesus.
But there are some important implicit theological connections we need to make. Notice that there is some sort of communication between Jesus and Satan that has happened behind the scenes. Satan has demanded to have Peter, to sift him. This also shows us that Satan can’t do it without permission. God is sovereign, not Satan. But also, see that Jesus knows Peter is going to fall away. In the plan of God, Peter is going to fall, but he’s going to be restored. This is all implicit in the text, but very much there.
We need to learn to read the Bible and pick up on these things. This is how we learn and grow from the Word and understand more about God.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is it important to understand about implicit teachings in Scripture and not just explicit things?
- How can we make sure we are making the right kind of conclusions on implicit teachings from Scripture?
- What, particularly about this passage, did you learn that was helpful to you?
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