Summary: it's possible for a person to know what the Bible says, but, lack understanding of what God wants them to do.

It's possible for a person to know what the Bible says, but, lack understanding of what God wants them to do.

I've talked to a lot of folks who say they have a difficult time understanding the Bible. There are parts of the Bible I don't understand, either. Obviously there are very difficult passages in the Bible that even scholars disagree about. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, may just be the most misunderstood book of all. There are a couple of reasons why some parts of the Bible, especially the Old Testament are difficult for us to understand.

One. Because the Bible is an ancient book about ancient cultures and customs. This doesn't mean the Truth in the Bible has no meaning for us today. The Bible is Truth for every generation, but, there are ancient cultural, economic and social concepts and ideas that are difficult for us to grasp because we lack the ancient economic, cultural and social context. For example. Leviticus is a very difficult book of the Bible to understand. I've read Leviticus. I've gained some knowledge and understanding of the ancient culture and practices of the Jewish people because I've researched it. Another help, I lived across the street from a Jewish Rabbi for almost four years and he taught me a lot about these ancient religious rituals, some that are still in play for Jews today. But if you haven't had an opportunity to study it, or if you haven't had access to a Jewish Rabbi to help you understand Leviticus, it's a very difficult book to read and understand. I could study Leviticus every day for the rest of my life and still not understand why God forbid the ancient Jew from eating pork ribs.

Two. Some parts of the Bible are difficult for us to read because they are about difficult things to hear, like the destruction of the world for example. There are Bible scholars who try to reason that the story of Noah never happened. They say it's just a story God tells as an allegory of how He feels about blatant disobedience, so they claim God didn't really flood the world. Another difficult part of the Bible we read is where God commands Joshua to eliminate a people group from the earth and we reason, "Why would God want soldiers to kill innocent women and children?" "How can God say He loves people and then command genocide?" The hard answer is that God commands justice. And while I don't believe in a God who commands genocide, because at it's core genocide is about racism. God commands justice. We don't mind reading about the Loving and Nurturing nature of God, but, we really struggle with the Perfect and Righteous Justice part of His nature.

For me, these two reasons make some parts of the Bible very difficult for me to read and comprehend. But, this doesn't make these parts of the Bible insignificant or irrelevant. God's Word is the most widely sold and read book in the world. It's by far the most debated and discussed. And here's another thing that can make Spiritual life confusing. Two intelligent well meaning and Christian people can read the same verse and yet come away with two completely different interpretations. There are hundreds of different kinds of Christian churches in the world all proclaiming to worship the same Jesus but disagreeing on Doctrine like, a six day creation, baptism, the second coming of Jesus, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. These same Christian churches who proclaim to worship the same Jesus can vehemently disagree on social issues, too, like abortion, gay rights, and the definition of marriage.

It's no wonder a lot of folks are confused. Not only can the Bible be hard to understand in places, but, the Church of Jesus can be confusing, too! So how does someone cut through the confusion?

It's possible for a person to know what the Bible says, but, lack understanding of what God wants them to do.

How can I know what God wants me to do? How do I go from knowing a bunch of Bible facts to understanding?

The answer is to start with the person of Jesus. "In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God" John 1:1

When I study the Bible, I ask one question to begin my study. "What did Jesus teach?" I read what Jesus says, then I go to the rest of the Bible to confirm Him. For example: If I want to study about how a person goes to heaven. First I ask, "What did Jesus teach about going to heaven?" Jesus said a lot about this. Here's just two examples: Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus says He will welcome His followers into heaven, those who feed hungry people, and visit the sick, and the prisons. Jesus also teaches about what it means to be Spiritually born again. John 3:3. Jesus said a person must be "born of water and spirit." So when it comes to going to heaven, Jesus teaches us that obedience is what He's looking for. Not perfection. Jesus wants a willing heart that loves Him and obeys Him. John 14:15. Jesus also said that followers "Go and make other followers baptizing them and teaching them to obey His teaching, too." Matthew 28:19-20.

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