Ecclesiastes Study/ Holiness

What To Do When You Don’t Understand the Bible

What do you do when you don't understand the Bible? Do you struggling with understanding the Bible sometimes? There are some books of the Bible that cause us more confusion than understand, right? God wants us to understand His Word. So, instead of giving up and never reading it again, these 5 tips will help you as you try to understand what you are reading.

Ecclesiastes can be one of those challenging books to read. That is how I felt this week as I read through chapter 6. As I struggled with these verses I realized that perhaps I’m not the only one out there. I’m a regular woman, wife, and mom that doesn’t have a Bible degree. The Bible isn’t always going to make sense to you. Especially if you are a new Christian. You’ll find yourself reading verses and thinking, what in the world is that supposed to mean?! Books like Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Leviticus can have our brains throwing a mental fit.

Even though they may not make much sense to us right away we shouldn’t just ignore them. The Bible tells us that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. It is all profitable for us and there is fruit in there that the Lord wants us to reap. Just because we don’t understand it today doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work towards gaining that understanding.

What to do when you don’t understand the Bible

1. Ask for help.

If you are married to a Christian, you should start with your spouse. Ask them to explain the passage.

If you aren’t married or your spouse isn’t a Christian, you can ask your Sunday school teacher, your pastor or a close friend who you know is in their Bible’s daily.

Many times, the people in our lives can shed some new light to a verse or a passage that you have missed and it will grow your walk with the Lord. it doesn’t mean that they are a better Christian than you, it could mean that they’ve studied it out before, they’ve heard a message on the passage or read a book that touched on the verses. Remember that we are all at different stages in our Christian walk, that doesn’t make one person better than the other. We can all learn from one another.

 2. Use the dictionary.

Sometimes in our Bible study, we come across a word that we don’t recognize and without the proper definition, we may not understand what the verse means. Websters 1828 dictionary can shed some light into the true definition of the words in the Bible. If you are struggling to understand what the words mean then I highly recommend this dictionary version! I love that you can use the internet now to use it, there’s no need to buy a hard copy, although that may not be a bad idea.

What do you do when you don't understand the Bible? Do you struggling with understanding the Bible sometimes? There are some books of the Bible that cause us more confusion than understand, right? God wants us to understand His Word. So, instead of giving up and never reading it again, these 5 tips will help you as you try to understand what you are reading.

3. Use a commentary.

I find this helpful sometimes. If we want a quick answer or opinion on a verse or chapter it is easy to grab a commentary and see what the author’s opinion on the matter is. If your spouse is busy or you don’t want to ask for help from your pastor then this is the next best thing. Sometimes it is even helpful to read the commentary and still ask for help from another person.

4. Ask for wisdom for the Lord.

The Lord wants us all to understand His word. He didn’t write it to be a mystery to us. It is His love letter to us. It is always a good idea to start your Bible study with a quick prayer for the Lord to give you the wisdom to understand what you read and to reveal something new to you. If you still find that you are not understanding the Bible then go back to the Lord asking for wisdom as you start researching what it means.

5. Don’t give up!

This is so important. While you may not understand the passage today it doesn’t mean that you won’t understand it next month or next year when you come back to it. Many times when you read a passage over and over again you will learn things. Don’t stop reading your Bible because you think it’s too hard to understand. Be patient. Read smaller sections and go through it slowly. There is no reward for how many times you read the Bible in your lifetime. It’s not a race and no one is judging you.


Understanding the Bible can be a challenge at times but we don’t have to be overwhelmed or intimidated by it. With some simple strategies and asking for help, we can be on our way to understanding what we are reading. Then we can start applying it to our lives.


What I don’t do: I don’t use other versions to simplify it for me. The King James Version is what I read and recommend to others, even though more modern translations may be easier to read. While books have been written on this subject, the early church used many thousands of copied manuscripts throughout history that all agree with each other. The King James was translated from this majority text. All modern versions were translated from manuscripts that weren’t used by the early church or were discarded and found with crossed off words and other corrections. 1 Tim 3:15 tells us that the church is the pillar and ground of truth. If the early church couldn’t trust the manuscripts that the NIV, NASB, etc.. were translated from, should we? It is not an issue of readability, but of accuracy. Buy the truth and sell it not! Proverbs 23:23. This is why I didn’t list it above. This is my opinion and may not be yours, that’s okay, we can still be kind in the comments!


Your turn! What do you do when you don’t understand the Bible? Do you have a plan in place when you come across verses that are confusing for you? Let’s talk in the comments below!

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  • Reply
    Moriah Steiner
    April 20, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Great tips! I am trying many of these things as I make my way through the Bible this year as well. Thanks for linking up with Mama Shares Monday!

  • Reply
    Lisa Morris
    April 20, 2016 at 9:18 am

    These are great points! Before I start my study I pray and ask God for wisdom and understanding. I pray Jeremiah 33:3 often. { Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.} sometimes the Holy Spirit gives me immediate understanding, sometimes He does not. That’s when you wait. Thanks for sharing with us. I am visiting from whole Hearted Wednesday! god Bless:)

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      April 21, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      That is a great habit to have. One I need to make sure I do more frequently, especially in the book of Ecclesiastes. 😉

  • Reply
    April 20, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Great tips! I just love the book “Women in the Word” it is a great resource on how to study the Bible. It really changed my Bible study methods! I’m giving away a copy on my blog! 🙂

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      April 21, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      That sounds like a great book, I’m definitely checking out your giveaway! If it’s not too late I’ll be sure to share with my readers!

  • Reply
    Amy M
    April 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

    “I’m a regular woman, wife, and mom that doesn’t have a Bible degree.” – Yes, that’s me, too.

    I could relate to so many of these tips. There are parts of the Bible that leave me scratching my head, but since I know it’s God’s word, I want to understand it correctly. I find that talking to my husband about passages leads us to great discussions sometimes.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      April 21, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      Same here, my husband is my go to person to discuss the Bible with when I’m not understanding something.

  • Reply
    Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet
    April 20, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Ecclesiastes is indeed a hard book to get through! These are great tips. I especially rely on commentary and dictionaries when I am not sure of something. Happy to be your neighbor on the #RaRaLinkup!

  • Reply
    Sarah Donegan
    April 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    My favorite part of this is don’t give up. God promises if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him!

  • Reply
    Rachel Britton
    April 26, 2016 at 11:06 am

    “How to Read the Bible Book by Book” is a fabulous little book giving an overview of each book of the Bible. I use it and highly recommend it.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      April 28, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Oh thanks for the tip! I’ll have to check it out!

  • Reply
    Aimee Imbeau
    April 28, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    When I don’t understand a verse or passage, my hubby is the first one I go to! He is amazing at finding out the meaning and explaining it to me. I am so thankful for him. Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth this week.

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