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Can I Understand the Bible?.

Can I Understand the Bible?.

Read John 16:5-15

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”


It has been said that the Bible is shallow enough that an ant can walk through but deep enough to drown an elephant. In other words, the message of the Bible is simple enough for a child can understand, but its teachings can perplex the great theologians.

However, the problem does not arise with the awareness of the depth of scripture, but with our perception that the Bible is incomprehensible and that, in the end, we cannot understand it. For many, the Bible becomes an intellectual labyrinth that we can never understand. In our age, when we reject absolute truth, the Bible no longer becomes knowable and understandable. We do not search for universal truth; we only search for what is true to me, and what is true to me may not be true to you. Thus, truth, even Biblical truth, becomes relative.

However, God communicated to us so that we might understand and live by his Word. He speaks to enable us to know the truth. As John writes in 1 John 5:13, God wrote “these things …so that you may know…” not guess. However, not only did he write his words so that we can understand his purpose and requirements for us, but he also has given us the Holy Spirit to help and guide us in our understanding of the Bible. The word guide refers to guiding and leading someone in learning. The Word is derived from the Word that is translated way or path. Thus, the picture is of the Holy Spirit providing the road map of truth to follow. Instead of getting lost in the sea of uncertainty and confusion, we can walk in the path of truth. This he does through the Scriptures. In our reading of scripture, the Holy Spirit gives us the instruction for our Christian life to know all things necessary for our spiritual growth that we might walk as God desires us to live. While we may not know all things for certain, we do know some things for certain.

The Holy Spirit guides us in our understanding of Scripture in two essential ways. First, he guides us as we read the Bible. So often, we mistake ignorance for obscurity. Because we do not read the Bible, we fail to understand the Bible, so we view the Bible as unknowable. However, reading the Bible requires us to accept the message of the Bible as it is written instead of how we want it to be written. The danger is we distort the Bible by changing it to fit what we want it to say. However, we must always keep in mind that if God does not mean what he says, why did he not say what he means? Therefore, to understand the Bible, we must accept what it says.

Second, the Holy Spirit guides us through the corporate understanding of the Bible. The Holy Spirit works through the church, and in the shared knowledge of the Bible, we gain greater clarity of its’ meaning. This not only includes the corporate church today but also the teaching of the church down through history. Therefore, not only must I put my personal understanding of the Bible to the test with the rest of the church, I must also put the present understanding of the church to the test with the historical understanding of the church throughout church history.

Does life seem confusing, and it seems as if you have no answers? Then start to read his Word and become engaged within a church community, and the Holy Spirit will bring clarity and understanding. When we read the Bible, it will be alive to us and revealed in us.

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