Why is there so little agreement among people about what the Bible teaches? Though the Bible is still the most widely distributed book in the world, it is also the most misunderstood. Is it really that difficult to understand the Bible? Why would God provide a book for us, and yet make it so difficult that we couldn’t understand it?
While it is true that the Bible is not a simple book, it is not impossible to understand. In the book of Deuteronomy, we find God, through His prophet Moses, preparing the children of Israel to enter into their promised land. He reminds them of their past failures and lack of faith in Him. He instructs them that obedience to Him will bring blessing, but that disobedience will bring judgment. He stresses the importance of living their lives in accordance with the things He has revealed to them in His Word.
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29)
God does not tell us everything. There are secret things that belong to Him alone; things that we may never understand because we are not, and never will be God! However, the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself and His plans and purposes to mankind. The things that He has revealed in His Word belong to us and to our children forever; that is they are ours to know and understand. They are not written to keep us in the dark, but to give us light. The Psalmist wrote,
“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)
One of the main reasons people do not read and study the Bible is because they do not understand it. It is our intent in these studies to provide some guidelines to help you understand the Bible, ultimately, so you will be encouraged to study it on your own. The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 provides some general guidelines for Bible study. Part 2 demonstrates the importance of these guidelines as we study through the Scriptures together. While it is hoped that these studies will aid you in understanding the Bible, ultimately true understanding comes from another source.
Before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples that He must suffer many things, be put to death, and then be raised after three days (Matthew 16:21). The disciples did not understand these things at the time (John 20:9), but after He was raised from the dead, Jesus reminded the disciples of the things He had taught them and,
“He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)
The Bible cannot be understood by man apart from the Lord. It is the Lord who gives understanding. It must be the Lord that opens our understanding. Paul told Timothy,
“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.” (II Tim. 2:7)
We would ask you to do the same. Carefully consider what is said in these studies. Take special care to read, study, and meditate upon the Scriptures that are referred to, and “may the Lord give you understanding in all things.”