Understanding God’s Word

They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (Nehemiah 8:8)

Scripture has been given to guide our lives, to illuminate our steps, so we must know what it teaches. God has not thrown his Word into our laps and left it for us to figure out or decide for ourselves its meaning. The Word of God means something definite, absolute, and timeless, and God will help us to know the sense of it.

Too often people approach the Bible as a book of mysteries best left unexplored. “This passage is not clear, I will not bother with trying to figure it out. If the Lord had wanted me to understand, he would have made it clear!” If the Lord was not interested in your understanding, he would not have given you his Word. Since we have a Bible we already know that God wants us to understand.

What do we do when we come to those things we cannot understand? First, pray like David in Psalm 119:18, Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Understanding will not come overnight, but to the one who strives to know the Word, God will give understanding.

Second, immerse yourself in Scripture. You will not learn the Bible by staying away from the Bible. Read it regularly, daily.

Third, seek out good teaching. In Nehemiah’s day God sent the prophet Ezra along with faithful Levites to help people understand. Find a church that is faithful to Scripture. Find a pastor that will deliver to you the full counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Grow in your understanding by sitting under the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

Fourth, read good books about the Bible. Be trained in Scripture through the writings of others. Do not settle for simple books but challenge your mind by reading things that will train you to think deeply.

Christian, take comfort! God has given us his Word for understanding and obedience. He will show you the meaning of Scripture.

Chris Roberts is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Panama City, FL and he blogs at Seek the Holy. He is married to Sandra and they have three kids.