Understanding Scripture A Little At A Time
By Angie Lewis
Have you ever read a verse in scripture that you did not fully
understand? Most of us have, and I think, instead of continuing
to read further, we should first understand what it is that we
don’t comprehend so we can better understand how to put the Word
into practice. If we aren’t sure about what we are reading maybe
we need to pray about it and ask God to give us His wisdom to
discern His word with appreciation and value. The Holy Spirit
helps us to do this in our lives when we study the bible. The
bible is not just any book – it is The Word of God and the
Christians guidebook for living.
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures.
There are some people who understand scripture very well, yet they still do not apply the Word into practical every day living because they don’t want to follow it. They would rather walk their own path and be their own boss. But we cannot find salvation by being stubborn and rebellious to the Word of God. Merely knowing scripture is not enough for our salvation, we must put it into practice.
"You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
In the above passage Jesus was letting the Jewish teachers know that their knowledge of the Old Testament would not save them. The Teachers knew the Old Testament very well, but did not understand what it said about Christ being the Messiah – they left out the most important aspect of scripture because of close-mindedness. Knowledge is not salvation. We really need to know what the bible says, but more importantly we need to understand what the bible is saying about God and the gift of salvation being through Jesus Christ.
The best way to know scripture is by making the Word interactive in your life. Get active with the Word! Take your time and study a little bit at a time. Don’t overfeed yourself and become overwhelmed with the Word because then we may jump to conclusions about what we think a verse means – find out for sure by studying reference guides and concordances. How many times have you jumped to a conclusion only to find out later that you were wrong?
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet”. Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee?” Does not the scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
In the above scripture we can get an idea about how confused people can get when reading scripture. Everyone reads it differently. This same thing happens today. We read scripture with a closed mind, or in a hurry, and then jump to conclusions. Or we read a passage but don’t fully grasp what it says, and than teach what we think it says rather than what it really means. This can be very detrimental for church leaders who have a habit of skimming over scripture and then teaching the congregation what his interpretation is.
Search for God’s truths carefully, thoughtfully, and discerningly, and with an open heart and mind. Never jump to conclusions about what the bible says. Some Christians only accept certain parts of what they read from the bible because they don’t want to change their lifestyle or standards for living. But we must accept all of God’s Word as absolute truth. Only acknowledging parts of God’s Word can be dangerous, especially if we believe we are saved.
How many of us have inadvertently changed or twisted scripture to match our own beliefs, opinions and doctrine? When we do this we are doing ourselves a grave disservice. And when we teach others our own opinion and beliefs, rather than God’s Word, it confuses people and causes dissention and often faithlessness.
Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wondered away from the truth. They say the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.
II Timothy 2:17-18
Some Christians wonder away from the truth when scripture does not fit into their lifestyle and agenda. It happens without any real notice – he or she takes a small step away from the Truth but closer to their own ideals and way of living, and then they take another small step away, until finally they actually believe in their own opinions and beliefs that actually contradict the Word of God!
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased”. We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
II Peter 1:16-18
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shinning in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture cam about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
II Peter 1:19-21