Q & A

I have Difficulty Understanding what I am Reading?

Do you have any suggestions?

The Bible is not always an easy book to understand. But, the Bible is God's word to his people. Therefore, we would expect that He would help people to understand it.
One way to understand scripture is to avoid some very common mistakes people make when reading it:

  • While the Bible can speak to you on a very personal level, don't expect to find a verse telling you who to marry, what job to take, what investments to make, etc. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit may use scripture to give you guidance which you may apply toward answering these questions and others.
  • Read the Bible with your heart open to find out what God would like to say to you. Let Him decide what to reveal to you. He knows what is best for you. Don't necessarily judge your Bible reading by whether or not you find what you are looking for. Open yourself to finding what God wants you to understand. What He has for you may be very different from what you are expecting.
  • Don't just open the scripture at random, point to a verse blindly, and expect it to answer your questions. Most Christians have probably tried that method at least once in their lives. There is no evidence that God chooses to use His word in that manner.
  • Don't fall into the "if only I could find a translation or version which makes sense to me" trap. Real biblical insight comes from the Holy Spirit, not the skill of any human translator. This is true whether the translator lived centuries ago, or in our lifetime.

There is one and only one method I know of that is absolutely guaranteed to open scripture to you in a way that may absolutely amaze you if you have never tried it before. Let me suggest the following steps:

  1. Take your Bible in your hand and hold it. Then, before you even open it, pray. Spend time in prayer with God and fellowship with Him, tell Him what's on your mind and what's going on in your life.

  2. Talk to Him about your spiritual needs. If there are any areas in your life in which you need to talk with Him and get right with Him, now is the time to do it. Most importantly, ask Him to speak to you through the scripture you are about to read. Ask the Holy Spirit, the author, to use the text to speak to your heart and to reveal to you what the text means.

  3. Then, begin reading. Not just a verse or two, but read for awhile letting your mind get caught up in the text. If you have been faithful and honest in step #1, over time, you may be surprised at the increased level of clarity and meaning you find in the text. You may even be quite surprised the first time the Holy Spirit takes a verse and really "brings it home" to you.

That, I believe, is the secret to reading scripture with insight and understanding. Don't depend on yourself, a translator, commentator, or Bible teacher to do it. Although these other sources all have their place in a program of Bible study, there is nothing more powerful than the personal help and instruction of the Holy Spirit.

On our sister website Questions God. Com we have 70 Bible Reading Plans designed for individuals in every step of their Christian walk here. To be successfully in your Bible Reading check out our Bible Study Methods here. No matter what step you are in your Christian walk we have 5 free Study Guides sent daily by email for 21 days that you can sign up for here.

The Gospel of John is a great place to start reading in the New Testament for those new to the Bible or New Christians. We have two study guides to go along with reading the Gospel of John. This one is approximately 5 minutes long here and the other one is approximately 15 minute reading plan sent once a day by email. More information here or sign up here.

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