2 Suggestions Before Hitting The Books: When The Bible Is Confusing

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We already know what not to do right? We aren’t going to quit when we don’t understand. I hope most people reading this post based on the title really want answers.

We want to see how others have come to a resting point with these wrestling points. More importantly, we want to come to our own conclusion based on all of the facts.

We don’t need to feel ashamed to be stumped but do something about it.

A post-modern influenced, relativistic bent in today’s culture has highlighted this need for ownership in one’s own journey. For this we should be thankful and remain mindful moving forward.

Relax this won’t be a hermeneutics course or anything. These are 2 Suggestion anybody can use to start fighting for clarity in Bible trading.

1. Prayer
Never read your Bible without simultaneous prayer. John teaches us about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. He tells us that we have the greatest teacher in the Holy Spirit.

I’ve heard stories of illiterate men from my hometown who could perfectly read and understand the Bible upon a prayer.

Sometimes I think we hear these types of stories and think that we can read so we don’t need a miracle. We need God’s help to understand His Word.

Gordon D. Fee wrote a book called Listening to the Spirit in the Text that gives instruction for how both of these spiritual disciplines come together.

We can pray forward.
“God show me what you are telling me and open my ears and heart to truly hear and insert.”

We can also pray backwards.
“God you have revealed yourself and your will to me in your Words today. Thank you for your promise that….”

What better way to ask the author’s intent? We get to ask God himself to show us His mysteries. I find myself repeating this reminder because it is so true:

Let prayer be our “always resource” rather than our last resort.

2. Write
This is a practical portion of the journey. We can keep on reading and make it to the end of a portion and have forgotten the questions we had asked along the way.

Even if you haven’t formulated a substantial question, jot a note. If you don’t like writing in your Bible, take a pen and pad with you. If you are no longer a tangible writer, bring a device that has something like Evernote or Word and turn off your notifications so that you’re tool doesn’t become a distraction.

When you’ve completed reading and praying and singing, if you do that, go ahead and make an attack strategy.

Determine which points of questions hold the most priority to you and when you will make time for them.

Here are some questions that might help you determine your next steps:

Which questions will help me understand the entirety of this passage as a whole the most?

Which questions seem to poke holes in doctrines I already hold as true.

Which questions can I very quickly answer and when will I take time for that?

How long will I determine to spend in this passage?

Which questions are most clear in my mind now?

How many question do I need to mull over before I can really articulate the thought that is beginning to come together?

I suggest numbering these and taking them one day or more at a time. You may find in answering other questions, some of these present themselves and even answer themselves at the same time.

I have many more suggestions that I plan to share soon. Until then, I would love to hear back from you all. Do you ever get stomped in your Bible reading? How have you overcome, or even been overcome, by these struggles?

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer Deg says:

    This is great stuff! One tool that I used to use was the Life Application Journal. It uses the S.O.A.P. Method: scripture, observation, application, and prayer. Most of my revelation comes from Holy Spirit revealing something to me through the text. I actually don’t take my study Bible into my war room any more, because I can get distracted with the study notes and man’s commentary. So, I only take a thin-line Bible in my war room. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you. I love hearing stories from other brothers and sisters about how they walk with God. I had heard of that acronym but never actually heard it spelled out

  2. tjustincomer says:

    My own experience of what has helped me is becoming much more familiar with the Bible itself. I heard a man (Keith Daniel) say something like, “When you’ve read the Bible 400 times, then you have something to talk about…” Given the context of the statement, and that this guy can quote pretty close to the whole thing, it made me stop and wonder if he has actually read it that many times. A lot of the difficulty comes when we don’t recognize that whatever we’re looking at has a constant recurrence through the whole Bible, and if we saw the pattern from beginning to end, the difficulty is settled. Just my two cents 🙂

    1. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing. The inter-canonical themes are what Dr. Carson calls them. I was an adult before I really fully grasped the Bible as one sweeping story.

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