Is the Bible Hard to Understand??
David A. Beck
Why would God make His word confusing?
What is the Bible?
††††††† The Bible, simply put, is Godís revelation of himself and his will to man. †The Bible is the only place where Godís will for man can be found.†
†††† Men claim to be able to tell you Godís will by their feelings, or that God talks to them in some personal way.† However, the Bible denies that anyone has that ability today.† (1 Cor. 2:12-13)
†††† The Bible was originally revealed to men via the Holy Spirit.† (2 Pet. 1:21) But now that God has revealed his word to us, the way that he wants us to have it, no one has the authority to altar it, or add anything to it.† (Gal. 1:6-10; Rev. 22:19)†
†††† The Bible contains everything that God wants us to know. †(2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:1.4) †
Why, then is there division?
†††† The only hope any of us have for salvation is to follow the word of God.† It is only by His grace that we have any hope at all.†
†††† Does it make any sense that God would choose to give us his word in a manner that is confusing and hard to understand?† No!† Was God unable to communicate his will in a way that man could easily understand it?† No!
†††† Godís word is clear about what God demands of us before he will remit our sins. †Why, then, do men decide to follow another pathway?† Why have men designed their own guide in religious faith and practice? Why do men decide to follow the traditional practices of their religion, rather than search Godís word?
†††††† We must determine that we will accept nothing as authoritative in religious practice other than the word of God.
†††††† One of the causes of religious division is that many have decided the Bible is a great mystery which cannot be understood.† This leads people to put their trust in some religious organization or leader, who may teach them what they want to hear or condone what they want to practice.† This is a dangerous situation, leading to eternal loss.
†††††† Certainly there are things mentioned in the Bible that are difficult to understand. †Even Peter declared that some of the things Paul wrote were hard to understand. (2 Pet. 3:16)† But when it comes to those things that affect our salvation; i.e. the plan of salvation, the identity of the Lordís church (Matt. ), or the work and worship of the Lordís church, God has made himself very clear.
†††† Some approach the word of God with pre-conceived ideas and if they donít find what they expect they twist the Bible to meet their ideas or doctrines.
†††† There are some who want to have the Bible answer all their questions and speculations.† But God chose what he wanted us to know.†† There are many things that God chose not to reveal.† We must leave those questions unanswered because ďthe secret things belong to God.Ē† (Deut. 29:29)
What KIND of things are left unknown?
†††† The Bible teaches us that God created the material world through Christ.† (John 1:1-4). †But it doesn't tell us HOW. †Since God did not reveal this information, it must remain a mystery.† The Bible also declares that Jesus is the Son of God, but that he was born of Mary as a human being. †He was, then, both human and divine. †We canít fully understand all about this, because it has not been revealed to us.† But we must believe it to obtain the benefits of his life and his death on the cross.
†††††† However, everything that God requires of us is revealed in a way that can be easily understood. †We may not know why God asks us to do some things.† But one thing is clear as you study the scriptures, we must obey him in all that he tells us to do.†
†††† This can easily be seen in the account of God's dealing with Noah. †Noah was told that God would bring a flood of water upon the earth. In order to escape death, Noah was required to build the ark. He may not have understood HOW the flood would come about, but Godís instructions regarding the ark were clear and plain.† God revealed to Noah all he needed to know. ††Noah understood, he believed, and he obeyed.† Only then was he saved from death in the flood.
†††† The same principle is involved in God's dealing with man today. God clearly revealed what he requires of us before we can escape eternal destruct-tion. †Like Noah, we can understand and obey it.† But we must first set aside our prejudices, preconceived ideas, and selfish desires.† We cannot accept or reject what God instructs based upon how we feel about it.
Rightly Dividing Godís word
††††† In order to learn what God wants us to know, we must learn how to ďrightly divideĒ Godís word.† (2 Tim. 2:15) ††††††
†††† In the book
of Genesis, Moses recorded the account of creation and the history of men
through Abraham and his grandson, Jacob. †The descendants of this man became a nation of
people in slavery in
††††††††† The Bible teaches that, in order to be saved, we must come to know God and his will.
†††† The prophet Isaiah, who foretold of events which would come to pass in the last days, said: "The God of Jacob will teach us of His ways" (Isa. 2:3). ††The New Testament is that teaching; and Jesus sent the apostles to teach Godís will to all nations (Matt. 28:19).
†††††† Now, every person who will believe and obey his instructions can be freed from sin and obtain eternal salvation. †Jesus invites all men to come to him. (Matt. 11:28). †God is no respecter of persons, and He is not willing that any should perish, but desires all to come to repentance (Acts ; 2 Pet. 3:9).
In view of these things we know:
††††††††† (1) Man must know certain things to be saved, and these things have been revealed to us by God. †(2) Salvation, forgiveness of past sins, can be obtained by all. (3) God
desires men to come to him and be made free from sin. (4) Anyone desiring salvation can understand what God has revealed for him to do to obtain that salvation.
†††† Godís word is clear.† God has revealed His will in such a way that man can understand it! †Yet, there are those who teach that you need them to explain it to you;† that you cannot understand Godís word on your own.
††††† In Acts 2 the apostles taught the large
†††† The assembly heard these things and they believed what they heard about Jesus. †They confessed their faith when they cried out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" †Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." †The record reveals that about 3000 of these people heard, believed, and acted. †They were baptized and their sins were forgiven.
†††† It is interesting to note that every example of conversion found in the New Testament resulted from men hearing, believing, and obeying the gospel.
†††† We may not understand why God requires what he does of us before our sins can be forgiven.† But we can understand what is required, and obey it. ††We can then have the joy of knowing that God has forgiven our sins because we know we have met Godís conditions for forgiveness. †
†††† God is no respecter of persons (Acts ).† All receive the same invitation, the same requirements, and when accepted and obeyed, all receive the same result.
†††††† Religious division exists when men accept the error that we cannot understand the Bible; that we can all follow different doctrines and have the same result; that it is acceptable to have many differing denominations. Ė Donít believe it!†
†††† There is only one truth!† We must study it with a view to understanding it.† And we must obey it without compromise.