Thursday, November 9, 2017

How to Understand What the Bible Says

You don't read the Bible, right? Come on. You can admit it. You do not read the Bible because it is a difficult book to read. I've heard people, especially those who study and teach the Scriptures for a living, talk about the complexity of this book. We are talking about the people who preach at your church on Sunday mornings! If they struggle to understand what the Bible says, how can we expect you to understand its contents? And, why should you try?

First of all, can we conclude that professionals have a way of over complicating the details? There are some good men who genuinely believe that the Bible is difficult to understand, but I doubt they are the majority. Think about talking to a surgeon about the human body. They understand how it works and how to use their knowledge from textbooks to help others; however, they know that the body is very complex. Doctors may speak to us about complex systems, and we get lost in conversation. The same can be true when you hear Biblical scholars talk. It sounds more like a foreign language because of all the theological lingo and denominational distinctions that are not included in the Bible. Contrary to what you might believe, the language directly placed in the Bible is meant for the layperson to understand.

Second, the Bible explains itself, but we must remember that the world has changed significantly since it was written. Just as it is important to talk with doctors when you have questions about the body, it is important to ask a pastor or Bible scholar when you have questions about Scripture. Do not just assume that the Bible is wrong or impossible to understand.

Third, people do not cite instances when the Bible is difficult to understand. Instead, certain Bible scholars and clergy make simple passages sound more difficult because of their own lack of faith. Genesis chapter 1 always seems to be a subject of controversy in such conversations. Let's look at a few verses in Genesis 1 to see if we can determine what they mean:

In the beginning
What does "In the beginning" mean? It simply means when time began.
God created
What does "God created" mean? It means that the Supreme Being made things.
the heavens and the earth.
What does this mean? It means the earth and everything above it. Are we doing good so far? Let's try a more challenging verse:
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
What does this verse mean? It means that God called light "day" and darkness "night." This all happened on day 1 of creation. 

Now, when put in terms like this, is it really that complicated? It shouldn't be. Reading and understanding the Bible really is this simple. The only parts that may seem tricky are the parts that use imagery concerning future events that have not yet taken place.

Reading the Bible truly is simple. Do not get discouraged from reading it. It is a great joy to know that we can pick up God's Word and learn from every word on the pages of this great book.

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