Sermon Illustrations

“I Don’t Understand the Bible...”

Three types of people are described in 1 Corinthians 2 and 3: the natural man, the spiritual man, and the carnal man.

The natural or unsaved person is spiritually dead and blind. He cannot understand the things of God. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel...” (2 Cor. 4: 4)

The Pulpit Commentary puts it like this, "The deepest biblical scholar, if he fails to find Christ, knows less of the real meaning of the Gospel than the humblest Christian who is living in the faith of the Son of God."

When the heart turns to the Lord, though, and receives Jesus Christ, the blindness is lifted. “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away... [We] are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory...” (2 Cor. 3: 16, 18 )

The spiritual man (1 Cor. 2:15-16) and the carnal man (1 Cor. 3:1-4) refer to believers. The believer is either spiritual or carnal depending on his walk with Christ.

The carnal or worldly believer can understand the simple things of the Scriptures but not the more difficult things. He can take milk but not meat. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity...” (Hebrews 5: 14 - 6: 1) A vibrant life lived with Christ as its centerpiece is much more important in Bible study than natural intelligence or technical skills.

R. A. Torrey rightly said, "A person who understands the language of the Holy Spirit, but who does not understand a word of Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic, will get more out of the Bible than one who knows all about Greek and Hebrew but is not born again. It is a well-demonstrated fact that many plain men and women who possess no knowledge of the original languages in which the Bible was written have knowledge of the real contents of the Bible. Their understanding of its actual teaching and its depth, fullness, and beauty far surpasses that of many learned professors in theological faculties."

If a person’s heart is not right with God, he can neither understand nor obtain and put into practice the godly wisdom found in the Scriptures regardless of how much money he spends and regardless of how much education he acquires.

Do you really want to understand God’s Word? Make certain you are a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Right now, begin to obey and apply to your life all that you presently know Scripture teaches clearly. If you willingly obey what you know, God will show you more. Be sure that you are walking in close fellowship with Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

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