Here’s the most important thing you need to know when it comes to understanding the Word of God:
Well . . . not by yourself, anyway.
I find that a lot of people feel like they can just pick up a copy of the Holy Writ and start reading it with full comprehension. Many treat the scriptures like some sort of giant, leather-bound fortune-cookie. They pick up the Bible, dust it off, and randomly begin reading expecting the wisdom of the ages to be implanted into their lives.
It doesn’t work that way.
In fact, there is a word for this kind of approach – bibliomancy. Bibliomancy is divination by interpreting a passage picked at random from a book, especially from a religious book such as the Bible. This can lead to results that range anywhere from the ridiculous to the dangerous. Imagine someone randomly connecting the following verses of scripture:
Then Judas . . . went out and hanged himself.
“. . . now go and do the same.”
. . . “What you do, do quickly.”
What we need to realize and accept is that there is a proper way to study and apply the scriptures. In this day of tolerance we’re afraid to say that somebody’s interpretation is wrong. Faith is a very personal thing and conventional wisdom says that we should not question someone’s religious experience. But, the truth is that not every one is correct in their approach to the Bible.
In future articles we will be discussing proper methods of Bible study. Things like context and culture must be considered along with literary styles and the author’s intent. But for now I want to just touch on the number-one, all-important, necessary ingredient for understanding the Bible. Without this component, it is impossible to grasp the things of God, and the most learned among us become fools. It’s found in this one simple verse:
(1 Corinthians 2:14)
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.
Notice what this verse says about the natural man, without the Spirit of God:
- He does not accept the things of God
In fact, he considers them foolish. This would naturally lead him to mock the truths of God as well as those who follow them.
- He cannot understand the things of God
Natural man – no matter how intelligent or sophisticated – will never be able to understand the things God because they are spiritually evaluated. Those who idolize human intellectualism will find this hard to accept, but this is actually the way God delights in doing things.
1 Corinthians 1:27 NLT
(27) . . . God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
In attempting to comprehend God and His Word, don’t miss this basic principle:
Understanding the things of God begins with being submitted to the Spirit of God. When you approach the scriptures with humility, the Word of God will open up to you.
by Kip Keith