Have you ever gotten to a passage in Scripture and thought, "What?!?"
Or maybe, "... Whaaaaa....?"
Yeah. Me too.
(Like, the entire book of Leviticus.)
So, what do you do when the Bible is confusing or makes no sense?
Throw in the towel? I know that sometimes, that's exactly what I do.
We know that the Bible is not only important, but it's living, true, and the Word of God. And we serve a God who loves us enough to make His character, His will, and His Word clear to us.
Sometimes, reading the Bible can be confusing, but we are so fortunate to have tons of resources at our disposal. Tons.
Here are just a few of my tips for when you come across those makes-no-sense Scriptures.
1) Pray Before You Read
Really. The best "resource" we have is the One living within us. The Holy Spirit is powerful.
Asking the Holy Spirit to give you clarity and understanding of what you're planning to read each day and each time you open the Word makes a difference, and it's important.
Remember, the Bible is light to our feet- light that makes the path of our lives clear and illuminated.
2) Read it Again
So your first attempt in this passage didn't go so well.
Read it again.
Not rocket science, I realize, but wrestling through Scripture on your own is valuable and important. Don't just give it one glancing look. Don't just give it ten minutes. Really, really think about it.
3) Write Down Your Questions
When things get really, really confusing, there are times when I forget all the questions I have. Or the entire passage becomes one big, messy, convoluted question.
Sometimes, writing down those specific things I don't "get" makes it easier for me to wrestle through each issue I'm having, instead of just melting into a pile of hopeless, utter loss.
4) Look for the Heart of God
Those tricky passages can often be explained simply by seeing the Scripture through the lens of what you already know about God.
For example, knowing that God constantly seeks redemption for His people, we can read the laws in Leviticus as God providing a way for humanity to seek holiness and communion with God. That makes some of the laws there a whole lot clearer.
5) Go to a Commentary
Commentaries aren't anything to be afraid of- and confusing passages are the perfect time to use one, or several, to help bring some clarity to your Bible reading.
Find the passage you're stuck on- maybe the commentary author will have a brilliant perspective you haven't considered, or maybe you'll be even more confused (that's why I'd recommend having more than one commentary at your disposal!).
6) Search for a Sermon
Understanding tricky passages is a whole lot easier when you hear someone preach on it! Listening to a sermon (there are tons of great sermons online) has been really helpful for me.
7) Talk to Your Pastor
I think a lot of people are hesitant to ask their pastor questions about the Word, but our pastors have gone through formal training, years of school, and they love the Bible. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing what they're doing.
Your pastor probably has a lot more knowledge about the subject than you do, and the personal connection means that he sees the perspective with which you're approaching the Word. And you have the benefit of asking ninety million follow up questions.
8) Accept It.
Still really confused?
Honestly, there are some passages of Scripture where I just have to accept that I'm not going to get it. I trust that the Word of God is true, but it may not be for me to fully understand right now.
The Bible is living and breathing. If you read Ephesians in 2014, by 2015 it will hold new nuggets of beauty and new challenges for you.
Even if you don't get it right now, remember- this is not your only opportunity to "get it." God may have very good reasons for you to not understand this portion of Scripture just yet, and we have to trust that He's got it all covered.
Some of our questions won't be answered this side of heaven. And that's okay. But it's important to wrestle through the questions of Scripture, to really do some thinking about the parts of the Bible that confuse us or just don't seem to make sense.
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