“Do you under- stand what you are reading?” These were the words that Philip asked the man from Ethiopia.
“How can I, unless someone guides me,” was the response. And from that point Philip began to explain to him the meaning of the Scriptures.
When I read those verses I am reminded of conversations I have had with folks along the way.
“I’ve tried reading the Bible, but I just can’t understand it.”
And I get that. Even Peter wrote about Paul: “There are some things in his letters that are hard to understand.”
On the other hand, theologians have a word to describe the Bible. It is perspicuity. In English the word means plain to understand, or free from obscurity. So theologians speak of the perspicuity of the Scriptures.
What is meant is simple. The Bible can be understood. There are places that are not obvious to all. There are passages that are challenging to discern. But the overall message of the Bible is clear, and can be comprehended.
Do you understand what the Bible says? Or is it a challenging book that you consider to be beyond your comprehension. I would like to offer you a challenge.
Commit yourself to reading the Bible, seeking better to understand what it is saying to you. That is something that will benefit every person reading his column.
Find a modern, readable translation. Set aside a specific time each day for reading. Pray before you start, asking God for wisdom and help. Pray when you are done, asking God to help you apply what you have learned.
Don’t hurry. Take your time and meditate on what you have read.
And finally, consider this: The point of Bible study/reading is not more knowledge. It is life change.
We all need to have a better understanding of what the Bible says. But the purpose for reading is to do what it says.
The Bible is not meant simply to be read and enjoyed. It is to be lived.
The Bible, by every measure, is the best-selling book of all time. My prayer is that it will become the best-lived book of all time.