“I don’t read the Bible because it is too difficult to understand.” Have you ever heard that excuse? In today’s article I want to give you some reasons for this difficulty.
The most common reason that people have trouble trying to understand the Bible is because they are trying to read it in a foreign language. Let me just illustrate that for you. The Apostle Paul writes, “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.” (2 Corinthians 6:11–13, KJV 1900). Oh yes, it is English, but it is an antiquated English. If you lived in the 1600s this might make perfect sense to you. In 2021 however, unless you translate the translation, it sounds as if Paul has medical issues; an enlarged heart and constipation. These same verses in modern English read, “Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!” (2 Corinthians 6:11–13, NLT). The best translation of the Bible is the one you can read and understand! There are many good translations available for us today. There may have been an authorized version for an English monarch who was head over his state religion, but there is no authorized version to God. If you are having trouble reading and comprehending what the Bible says, you may simply need a different translation from the one you are using. Despite what some may claim no translation is inspired. Inspiration only extends to the original autographs.
That said, we Christians believe that what we have in our modern Bible’s is the inspired Word of God. “Most of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in the Scriptures ever comes from the prophet’s own interpretation. No prophecy ever came from what a person wanted to say, but people led by the Holy Spirit spoke words from God.” (2 Peter 1:20–21, NCV). That is what we mean when we say that Bible was inspired by God.
This brings up the second reason people may sometimes have trouble understanding Scripture. Many times, it is not the things that people don’t understand that bother them, it is the things they understand all too well and don’t like that bother them! One of those things we don’t like is Paul’s observation “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4, NLT).
There is a spiritual blindness on unbelievers. Jesus put it this way, “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” (John 3:19–21, The Message). Put in the words of a modern lyricist, “There is none so blind as he who will not see.” Many don’t see truth because they don’t want to see truth. They are spiritually blind.
The Holy Spirit who inspired the Word of God (2 Peter above) lives inside of everyone who places their faith in Christ. The same Spirit who inspired the Word instructs us in the Word. Theologically this is called illumination. If you are having trouble understanding the written Word of God, it may be because you haven’t bowed your knee to Living Word, Jesus.