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.
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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