The first key to understanding the Bible is accepting that the Bible is one Book. The Bible is one Book divided into two main sections:
- The Old Testament
- The New Testament
Many people hear the word ‘new’ and automatically reject the ‘old’. However, Jesus never rejected the Old Testament. The Apostles never rejected the Old Testament. In fact, the writings of the Old Testament were the only writings they used. Jesus referred to the writings of the Old Testament when He preached and taught:
For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:40 NLT)
“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ (Matthew 19:4 NLT)
Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:32-33 NLT)
The Apostles referred to the writings of the Old Testament when they preached and taught:
These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: (Acts 2:15-16 NLT)
And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. (2 Peter 2:5 NLT)
Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. (Romans 3:9-11 NLT)
The Old Testament contains information which can help us understand the New Testament. The New Testament contains information which can help us understand the Old Testament. When we sit down to study any Book of the Bible we must keep in mind that the Bible is one Book. It is one Book inspired by One God. I will discuss this in more detail in the next post God willing.
For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. (Ephesians 4:4-6 NLT)
Any door can be unlocked if you have the right key. We need the right keys to unlock the door to Biblical Understanding. The right keys are those which are given by God. God inspired men to write the words contained in the Bible. The Apostle Peter said:
Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT)
Many people who study the Bible build their own door and create their own keys to biblical understanding. They then call people to follow them through that door they have created and they teach people to use those keys they have created. God wants us to go through His door to Biblical Understanding. God wants us to use His keys to unlock His door.
I believe we are living in a time when all believers must strive to be “One”. We must be one in faith, love and hope. We must be one in doctrine. Jesus wanted His disciples to follow Him. Jesus did not mean to only physically follow Him. If that is what Jesus meant then the Apostles would be justified in following their own interests after Jesus died. One day Peter and some of the other disciples went fishing. However, the resurrected Jesus found them, helped them and called them to follow Him. Jesus told Peter:
“Feed my Sheep”
Jesus fed Peter and the other disciples with fish and bread. Now Jesus commanded Peter to feed His disciples. In the same way Jesus provided the fish and bread, Jesus provided the food for Peter to feed His disciples:
…go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT)
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. (John 16:12-13 NLT)
Peter fed the believers with “all the commands” of Jesus through the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit showed Peter what to preach and teach and Peter obeyed. The Apostles did the same. When 3000 souls were added to the Church on the day of Pentecost the Bible records that the believers:
…devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching… (Acts 2:42 NLT)
The believers devoted themselves to doing what the Apostles taught. They followed the Apostle’s understanding of the Scriptures. They went through the same door to Biblical Understanding that the Apostles went through. They used the same keys to Biblical Understanding that the Apostles used. We must do the same. God wants us to understand the Bible but we must go through His door and use His keys.
…This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 3:15-18 NLT)
Hey everyone. We all have difficulties understanding the Bible. However, before we look at how to understand the Bible I would like to hear your answers to the following questions:
- What is the most difficult Book or Books of the Bible to understand?
- What is the most difficult Chapter or Chapters of the Bible to understand?
- What is the most difficult Verse or Verses of the Bible to understand?
I look forward to hearing from you as we begin to grow together in our understanding of the best Book in the world.
The Bible is the most read book in the world. However, for many people it is the most difficult to understood book in the world. The truth is there are many things in the Bible which are not easily understood. A failure to understand the Bible is not limited to those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. There are many Christians who still struggle with understanding the Bible. If you are one of those persons please do not despair. You are not alone. I see the inability to understand the Bible as an obstacle. It is an obstacle which prevents persons from knowing God. It is an obstacle that prevents Christians from growing “in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).
A map shows us the way. If we do not understand the map we will be lost. The Bible is a map designed by God. We cannot move forward in our Christian life if we do not understand God’s map. Maybe there is a scripture verse or a chapter that you don’t understand. Maybe there is an entire Book in the Bible you do not understand. The purpose of the Overcoming Life is to help everyone; especially believers in Jesus Christ overcome the difficulties and obstacles we all face in life. Therefore, the purpose of this blog is to help you overcome the inability to understand the Bible.
I have experienced confusion after reading a verse of scripture but I have also experienced the joy of understanding that same verse of scripture. I believe God wants everyone to understand the Bible. I would like us to go on a journey of understanding the Bible. Will you join me?