One of the biggest problems in Christianity and religion today is the misunderstanding of bible scripture. When the bible is not interpreted correctly, it leads to false teachings and traditions of men. It also leads people astray and into confusion. Our God is not the God of confusion, but the God of truth and understanding. The bible should be taught chapter by chapter in order to understand the whole plan of God from the beginning. If you do not understand what happened in the beginning, you will not understand the rest of the bible. That is why we must study the whole Word of God with discernment and understanding in it's entirety. With that being said, lets take a look at what the scriptures say about understanding the bible as well as why people misunderstand the bible.
What is the Word and where did it originate? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2). Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is Himself God.
What is the bible actually about? It is a combination of 66 books (39 in the old testament and 27 in the new testament), that tell the story about one man's family genealogy from the beginning till the end of this world age and beyond. The story about the Savior that would come through Adam and Eve generation after generation. It is the story about Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
What is scripture and what it is given for? Scripture is the written Word of God in the bible. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16). All scripture is inspired by God. (Don't fall for those ignorant copouts who say that God didn't write the bible, man did). The Prophets and disciples of God wrote the scripture as they were inspired by the "Holy Spirit of God." (2 Samuel 23:2, Romans 15:4, 2 Peter 1:19-21). All scripture comes form God!
Why study the
Word? The Word is a discerner of thoughts. For the
Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews
4:12). The Word of God is alive and powerful. It cuts between "soul" (your
individual self), and "spirit" (the intellect of the soul which is your mind).
It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. This is one reason many do not
like to study or hear the Word of God. It convicts many if they are doing wrong
in God's eyes. They would rather listen to man, who always seems to smooth
things over to make them feel more safe and righteous. Example: Many churches
are afraid to teach the book of Revelations in fear that they will lose to many
members. "Lets see what God says." Blessed
is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep
those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation
1:3). Those who read, understand, and teach the book of Revelation will be
blessed by the Heavenly Father.
Why is the bible misunderstood by so many people, as well as teachers of the Word? It amazes me when I hear people say; "I read the whole bible" and that is about the extent of their spiritually. They actually believe that is all there is to it and think they have all the answers about God. I don't think so! I have been reading and studying the bible for over 40 years now and I still do not believe that I have even scratched the surface. Every time I open the book I learn something new. Every study in the scriptures reveals something that I may have not fully understood before. The Word of God is never ending and full of new truths and revelations. Now everyone may not have the same appetite to study the Word as some, but we are to do the best we can with what the good Lord has given us. Now with that being said, lets take a look at what the scriptures say about why so many people misunderstand and misinterpret the bible.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6). Here we have the Word of the Lord speaking to the priests, pastors and teachers of the Word. God blames them for the lack of knowledge to the people because they themselves do not know the Lord. They refuse to know God, so God will refuse to recognize them as His priests. God would go on to say in (Hosea 4:8-9), that the priests rejoice in the sins of the people; they lap it up and lick their lips for more! And so it is: "Like priests, like people," because the priests are wicked, the people are too. (How many people do you know that believe anything their priest or pastor may tell them without checking them out in the word)? God would say in the book of Jeremiah: For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. (Jeremiah 4:22). God is saying here that My people are a bit sottish (meaning stupid and dull), who have no understanding. "They are smart enough to do wrong, but for doing right, they have no talent, non at all." They would rather listen to man! What does God think of this? In the book of Jeremiah, God warns us by saying; "Cursed be the man that trusts in man." (Jeremiah 17:5).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4). The time is coming when people will not listen to the truth, but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won't listen to what the bible says, but will follow their own misguided ideas. (That time is here now my friend)! People today want their church to be more like a social club rather than a house of God. They follow the traditions of men and false teachings because it's easy and seems to make them feel so holy and safe. They say to themselves; "our priest or pastor would never lead us the wrong way." Wake up! "Read the letter that God has written to you."
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1). There were false prophets in those days and there will be false teachers among you today. They cleverly tell their lies about God and turn against Him. But, they will be brought to justice.
When the children of Israel went to Egypt to find aid and put their trust in Pharaoh for his protection, God warned them that they would be disappointed. Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. (Isaiah 30:8-10). They would not hear the Word of the Lord and say to the prophets; "Don't tell us the truth," we want to hear nice things and tell us lies. (Just like today, they don't want to hear the truth, but would rather hear nice things, traditions of men, and a bunch of lies). "It makes them feel so spiritual and safe."
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19). Their sentence is based upon this fact: "The light from heaven came to this world, but they loved the darkness more then the light." Jesus Christ is that light and Jesus Christ is the Word, but they rejected Him then as they reject Him now. If you don't know the truth in the Word, you do not know the true Christ.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39-40). They search the scriptures because they believe they will give them eternal life. "The scriptures point to Christ." However, they won't come to Christ so that He can give them this eternal life.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14). One who isn't a true Christian can't understand and accept these thoughts from God, which the "Holy Spirit" teaches us. They only sound foolish to them, because only those who have the "Holy Spirit" within them can understand what the "Holy Spirit" teaches. Others just can't take it in and lack the full meaning of what is being taught.
Have ye not read? This question was asked by our Lord on six different
occasions. (Matthew 12:3, 12:5, 19:4, 21:16, 21:42, 22:31-32). This is why many
do not understand the truth of the bible. They do not read, study, or believe
the scriptures written by the prophets and disciples who were inspired of God.
"They would rather listen to man and the ways of the world." (Never listen to
this man or any other man without checking them out in Gods Word first).
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (1 Timothy 2:15). Work hard so God can say to you, "Well done." Then you will not be ashamed when God examines your work. "Know what His Word says and means."
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11). Search and study the scriptures daily to see if what you are being taught is the truth in the Word. (Check your teachers out in the scriptures).
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Test everything that is said to be sure it is true, and if it is, then accept it. If it doesn't line up with God's Word, reject it!
Remember what we learned in (1 Corinthians 2:14), about the natural man not having the spirit of God, which is the "Holy Spirit." Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2:12). God has actually given us "His Spirit" (The Holy Spirit), not the world's spirit. The "Holy Spirit" tells us about the wonderful free gifts of grace and blessing that God has given us. Again, only those who have the "Holy Spirit" within them can tell what the "Holy Spirit" may reveal. (1 Corinthians 2:14).
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (1 Corinthians 2:15). The spiritual man has insight to everything, and that bothers and baffles the man of the world, who can't understand him at all.
As Jesus was teaching in the temple one day, many of the Jewish leaders who heard Him began to believe Him to be the Messiah. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32). Jesus was explaining to them that, "if they were truly His disciples and lived as He told them to, they would know the truth, and the truth would set them free." In other words, don't be a slave to sin. Live as Christ did to the best of your ability and the "truth will set you free."
To sum up this study (especially for those who teach the Word), we will end in the book of 2 Timothy where it states. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Preach the Word urgently, boldly, and truthfully at all times. Never be afraid to tell it like it is, but do it with love and understanding. Don't always use scripture to break someone down. (The Word will do the convicting when needed). Let the scriptures be used to build people up so that they will see the "truth and light" in the Word. The love, wisdom, and understanding that Jesus brought to the people when He walked among us. For He is the "Living Word" and true "light of the world."
Tools to help you study, interpret, enjoy, and teach the bible:
Below are seven
study tool suggestions that I use, that will help you with your bible studies.
4.) e-Sword bible study software (King Kames bible version with Strong's Concordance).
5.) The Tyndale Living Bible (1971 edition) by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois. (This is a Paraphrased bible for easy reading, not for full translation).
6.) Smith's bible dictionary by William Smith, L.L.D. (Hendrickson Publishers).
7.) Older version of a Twentieth Century Webster's Dictionary.
Keep The Faith,
Keep The Faith,