Understanding the Bible

Many people view the Bible as a book we cannot understand alike. If you think about that a moment, it is impossible not to understand the Bible alike. If two people understand the Bible, they understand it alike. When two of us study it together and come up with different understandings of the same passage, both of us may misunderstand it. If we don’t come to the same understanding of a verse, one of us may understand it and the other misunderstand it. Just because we come to the same understanding, however, is no guarantee either of us understands it.

It is possible to understand the Bible. Paul wrote of the inspiration he received and told the Ephesians, “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4). In the same epistle he wrote, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). Reading those passages without bias, one realizes God expects us to understand his word. Obviously he has not made a requirement we cannot obey.

How absurd it is to think God demands faith in his son and himself, yet gives us a book we are unable to comprehend alike? Peter spoke of those of “like precious faith” (2 Pet. 1:1). Furthermore, we are told obedience to God is essential (Matt. 7:21-23; Heb. 5:8-9). What we are to obey is the gospel of Christ. Paul wrote of the return of Christ, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). We must have a gospel we can understand and we must understand it precisely alike. If we cannot understand the gospel alike, how can we be saved alike? How could we have the same precious faith?

Jesus promised, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Notice the “shall know.” Jesus didn’t say, “may know” but “shall know.”

The New Testament teaches us that understanding of the truth is guaranteed by our own will to do his will. Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). Again, look at the word “shall know.” That is the Lord’s promise and it is sure. I must will to know — that means no matter what the Lord’s will is, I must be willing to believe it and obey it.

So, dear friend, the Bible is an understandable book. If you misunderstand it, check on your disposition. Are you really willing to do exactly and only what the Lord requires?