THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
In a previous post, I dealt briefly with the authenticity of the Bible. I will not belabor that point further. However, there is another issue that needs to be addressed. Often, I hear people say, “I read the Bible, but I don’t understand it, or, I don’t get anything out of it! If an unbeliever were saying that, it might be understandable. But it’s a bit troubling when someone who has been a believer for a long time says the same thing. This being a troubling issue, I want to suggest some things one might do to resolve it.
UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE IS IMPORTANT
First, let me set out a few of the reasons why understanding the Bible is so important.
- The Old Testament has been recognized by Jews and both Old and New Testaments by Christians for thousands of years as God’s inspired revelation of Himself and His will to mankind.
- Jesus Christ, Himself, referenced Old Testament Scriptures as He taught, thus, confirming them. Moreover, He said that His own words would never pass away.
- The Bible offers mankind salvation by God’s grace through simple faith.
- It makes us aware there is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun.
- The Bible tells us that in Christ we can have abundant life now and forever.
- It warns us that the Christ Who is today our Savior, will one day be our judge.
These are some of the reasons that understanding the Bible is important. Hopefully, these few will suffice to impress us of that fact.
WHY MANY FIND IT HARD TO UNDERSTAND
- Indifference. This is an attitude that results in simply dismissing the Bible as outdated, obsolete, and irrelevant. Jesus graciously manifested Himself and His love to the whole world in many and various ways. He speaks through Creation – all things were made by Him. (John 1.3a) He speaks through incarnation – He became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1.14a) The Holy Spirit speaks. God’s witness is universal and powerful. (Psa. 19.1-6) Many take it lightly and with an indifferent attitude. Jesus never forces Himself on anyone. Rather, He has made His love and His will known to us. As the writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” (Heb 2.1)
- Lack of desire. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matt 5.6) New believers were encouraged by the Apostle Peter, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2.2) Where there is no hunger, thirst, or desire for Bible truth, it is unlikely that even a casual interest, much less an understanding of the Bible will occur.
- Preoccupation with the present world system, (Greek – kosmos) that is, the world’s orderly arrangement of origins, morals, values, etcetera, often leads to willing neglect of things that matter, such as worship, service, and soul nourishment through meditation on the Scriptures.
- Internal resistance is another culprit. We are born with a carnal (fleshly) nature. The Bible teaches us that this has resulted in our catering to the fleshly, rather than the spiritual nature. The apostle warns, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Gal 5.17) There is, and always will be an internal struggle between our carnal and spiritual selves.
- Wrong perspective. Perhaps the most subtle problem is, we think about the Bible from a natural, material perspective, instead of through regenerated eyes and heart. So many otherwise learned people in every walk of life approach life only based on what they can see, touch, and feel, or what does not challenge them to believe in something otherworldly. Their humanistic frame of reference with its ideals and values tends to prevent them from contemplating things outside their natural and material frame of reference.
FAITH UNLOCKS THE DOOR
Country music artist, Don Gibson, wrote a song entitled, “Faith Unlocks the Door.”
The lyrics begin, Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door. The closing lines read, Prayer without faith is like a boat without an oar.
These lyrics seem a little conflicting. So, what is the Key? Is it Prayer, or is it faith? The songwriter clarifies it when he writes, Prayer without faith is like a boat without an oar.
Faith is not simply a passive assent to the Bible. Faith works. There are numerous examples of how faith works in Heb. 11. By faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of visible things. (v.3) “Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain;” (v.4) “Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household,” (v.7) or “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (v.8) That list continues almost through the entire 11th chapter.
When the chapter begins, we are told, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (v.1) In v.6, we learn, “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Prayer is not the only thing that is affected by faith, although it is vitally important. Faith affects our hopefulness, our convictions, our humble submission to serve one another.
Having just said, ‘faith works by love in Gal. 5.6, the apostle Paul informs us, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. 5.14) The Bible picture that unfolds shows us how everything intermingled and affected by faith. Faith informs, transforms, enables, and performs. As we search the Scriptures, we are informed. As we submit to them, we are transformed. The Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts the love of God, enabling us to perform those things God calls us to be and do.
Romans 10.17 says, “So, then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God – the Bible.” The key to understanding the Bible is faith; not an unreasonable fantasy, but sincere searching of the inspired, factual, and historical account that God has provided for us on this amazing love letter that we call the Bible.
If you would like additional help on this subject, I recommend “Fundamentals Of The Faith” as seen below, and available at Amazon. The link will take you there for a closer look.
Thank you for reading my article. I hope it was a help to you. If you would like to leave a comment below, it would be much appreciated!