January 16, 2023

How to Understand the Bible

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God1 Corinthians 2:12


One of the main reasons people give for not reading the Bible more is that it’s hard to understand. So, why is it that some people “get it” while others seem to be left in the dark? The key to understanding the Bible is understanding the role of the Holy Spirit and what our response to Him should be.


First, it’s impossible to understand the Bible without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit; which every believer has (Romans 8:9). He enables us to evaluate things according to God’s way of thinking. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14). That’s why a believer’s point of view is so different from mainstream culture.


Secondly, the one who inspired Scripture is available to explain it to you Himself. God’s Spirit not only sheds light on the meaning of Scripture, but brings it back to our minds when we need it. “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). But you can only remember what you’ve learned and what you’ve heard. The Holy Spirit can’t bring verses back to our minds if we haven’t put them there to start with.


Why do so many Christians still have difficulty understanding the Bible? One word—disobedience. You see, it’s not just a matter of having God’s Spirit but of yielding to Him completely. Once you obey what He’s already shown you, light is shed on more truth. In other words, obedience unlocks our understanding (Psalm 111:10).


God wants you to understand the Bible because He wants you to know Him better each day. But in order for Scripture to be illuminated, you have to act on the parts you already have a handle on. What area of your life is not fully surrendered to the Lord? Start there. Obey. You cannot do life the way God intended without understanding His instructions. And that requires fully surrendering to His Spirit.