Summary: God gave us a word that’s understandable and useable by just regular people!
Before I can jump into this, there’s a preliminary test. I mean, we’re going to be seeing if you can understand the Bible or not. Part of what will help answer that is if you can understand __________ or not. She’s got a…It’s a…I mean there’s not any…never mind. Just listen…
3 minutes - “Don’t Forget to Slop Your Dripper.” – see below
Did you get that? All of that? If you’re me, you need to hear it a few times, maybe study it written, spoken. A picture might help. I can’t repeat it to you, but, still, I feel like I “got” it. I feel like I caught enough of it to go on with the rest of life now.
Up front, I just want to encourage you that when it comes to the Bible, and lots of other writing, you aren’t going to “get” all of it. You’ll need to hear it a few times. You may need to see it and hear it. A picture might help. Maybe you can’t repeat it right away from memory, but you can at least get within an “understanding distance of the text.” And there will always be more to rethink and discover. 774,746 words. The Bible’s a big place, isn’t it?
That gets between a lot of people and God. Maybe you’re one of them. You see that the road to God seems to be between these leather covers, but there’s no way you can travel it. It’s too big, too dark, too full of curves. Some of you have been led to believe that the Bible’s a book to be read and understood only by “professionals.” A lot of “professionals” have contributed to that feeling over the years, including churches that tell you what you believe!
Interesting…if God meant for only “professionals” to read and understand the Bible, why did He have it written in the common languages for its culture? And why is there such a craving for it among common people once they finally have it in their own language?
Acts 8 we find a guy who has been visiting Jerusalem. He’s on his way back to Ethiopia, where he’s from. He’s reading the OT, and by his own testimony, he doesn’t understand it. He feels like he needs someone to explain it to him. But what is he doing anyway? He’s reading it!
In Acts 17, there’s a group of people in Berea being taught directly by Paul. But they don’t leave off there.
Acts 17:11 …they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
These people did this because they had some expectation that in reading God’s word they were going to learn and understand something.
Others of you have been led to believe that the Bible isn’t understandable at all – not by you, not by some professional, not by anyone; that really, anyone’s view is just as good as another because no one can be sure. I’d kind of wonder why God would give it to us in the first place then.
But let’s be honest – look at all the different interpretations there are of the Bible. How can hundreds of different sects and denominations read the same Bible and come up with such diverse views? I can understand how a person might look at that situation and conclude that there’s no such thing as a “right” interpretation of the Bible. Look at how many there are! But, that’s also what pushes me into a search for the right one. The fact that so many churches exist and that so many views exist just proves to me that we need to give some attention to rightly interpreting the Bible. Paul told Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:15 (Simple English Version) Do your best to present yourself to God as one who has passed the test. Be a worker who has nothing to be ashamed of. Interpret the message of truth in the proper way.
Roadblocks to Understanding
Maybe you’ve tried, but you just can’t seem to understand the Bible.
What’s in the way?
1. It might be as simple as the translation you’re using.
Unless you read Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek, you’re going to have to depend on the work of translators to put the Bible in your language. That’s OK, because there are many good translations to use. This morning, I’m purposely using different translations to show how it can help.
If you don’t understand what you’re reading, it may be because your translation was written 401 years ago! Just like anyone else, we need the Bible in a language that we readily understand.
Wyclif translation, 1st ed., c.1380 (624 years ago)
But whanne Y wolde this thing, whether Y vside vnstidfastnesse, ether tho thingis that Y thenke, Y thenke aftir the fleisch, that at me be, it is and it is not? But God is trewe, for oure word that was at you is and is not, is not ther ynne, but is is in it