Undoing Bible Myths

April 3, 2013

There are a couple of prominent “myths” about reading the Bible that seem to get in the way of Christians becoming good readers of Scripture.

The first myth: “The Bible is very difficult to understand.” This myth summarizes the idea that the Bible is so difficult to understand only a highly-trained, seminary or Bible college educated person with particular technical skills can understand and explain it.

Sadly, some seem to want this myth affirmed. They end up feeling justified in not studying, reading, and learning from the Bible because “it is beyond me!”

But if we affirm that only a select few can really read and understand the Bible, the rest of us are left in a kind of spiritual limbo—a spiritually ignorant place. We will have to depend on those “more learned” to help us grasp the difficult message of the Bible.

Although there are some parts of the Bible that are more challenging to read and understand than others (as Peter mentions in 2 Peter 3:15–16),  as a whole it is God’s clear communication with us.

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans to “all the beloved in Rome” (Romans 1:7). He anticipated that the average member of the community of faith in Rome—laborers and keepers-at-home, slaves and soldiers, men and women—would be able to understand what he wrote.  Moses spoke the messages contained in the book of Deuteronomy to “all Israel” gathered in Moab as they anticipated going into the promised land (Deuteronomy 1:1). He fully expected that all the people—men and women, children and elderly—would be able to comprehend what he was saying. The Spirit-inspired text that we have in our hands in the Bible was given to people like you and me—with the Spirit-led intention that we could understand it.

It is fascinating to notice the response of those listening to the apostle Paul’s preaching. Luke tells us that when Paul arrived in the city of Berea these people heard what Paul said and then they searched the Scriptures for themselves to confirm the truth of what he was saying (Acts 17:11). Imagine that! “Average people” reading Scripture so as to confirm for themselves the truth of what the apostle was teaching. Apparently, reading and understanding the Scriptures  was not beyond the grasp of the people in Berea. They didn’t believe the myth that the Bible was hard to understand—too hard for the average person.

God has not chosen to community to us in a way that would be, for the most part, unintelligible. Would you do such a thing to your children or your friends? Send a message that you knew they would not be able to understand? Of course not! Why then would we assume that God would do such a thing in communicating with us?

God is a great, wise, powerful, competent rational Being. He can find a way to communicate with us . . . a way that we can understand. Thus we can conclude:

The Bible is God’s clear communication to us.

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