Is It Possible To Understand The Bible?

Many people in our world have concluded that the Bible is an incomprehensible book of “mystery.” It is looked upon as a book of unresolved conflicts and offers only numerous viewpoints. However, the Bible puts great emphasis upon understanding.

The terms “understand” and “understanding” are used more than three hundred times in God’s revelation. The Bible is indeed the message of God to us. The inspired writer, Paul, stated that “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace….” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Why then would God reveal His message to mankind if it were impossible to understand it? It reflects upon God if the Bible cannot be understood. It is a reflection upon God’s power if He wanted to but could not make His word understandable. It is a reflection upon His goodness and integrity if He could but would not make His word understandable. The charge, “you can prove anything by the Bible,” is a virtual insult to the Author and such an attitude is totally false!

Daniel Webster said, “I believe that the Bible is to be understood and received in the plain and obvious meaning of its passages, since I cannot persuade myself that a book intended for the instruction and conversion of the whole world, should cover its true meaning in such mystery and doubt, that none but critics and philosophers can discover it.“ Jesus commanded the multitude to, “Hear and understand” (Matthew 15:10). Paul commanded the Ephesian Christians, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17). Would the Bible command us to “understand” if it were impossible to do so? We have examples of people understanding the Lord’s message. The prophet, Nehemiah, stated, “So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8). The scripture says of our Lord, “Then opened he their understanding that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

Beloved, the Bible can be understood! The commands to understand and examples of understanding in obedience to God’s word proves it is possible. On the basis of understanding, it is possible to have the unity for which Jesus prayed (John 17:20-21). Unity and understanding were demonstrated clearly by the early church. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Acts 4:32). Let us study God’s word with the desire and attitude of mind to understand it (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 3:4; Ephesians 5:17; Colossians 1:9) and then do what it instructs us to do (Matthew 7:21; James 1:22-25).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets