Have you ever found God's word difficult to understand? If you have, then you're not alone. Many Christians find it difficult to comprehend. But the truth is, we sometimes make it harder for ourselves than it needs to be. Why? Because we cannot accept it means what it says.
So how can we make it easier for ourselves to understand God's word?
By simply receiving it.
Many Christians find God's word hard to understand because they think it means something else. Some would say "I am looking for meat in God's word" when in fact, all of it comes from the mouth of God and is thus very important. No portion of God's word is separate and of less importance from another.
That said, we can make understanding God's word easier for us. How? Here are some practical ways to make God's word easier for us to comprehend.
1) Read the whole context
There are times when we feel like a passage doesn't make sense. When this happens, look for all the verses around in the passage's topic and read it in context. This will greatly help in making things clearer.
Reading the whole Bible in context also helps us to avoid errors. If we focus on only our favorite verses or the parts we like, we will miss many other lessons and might draw the wrong conclusions.
There are some, for example, who believe that we need to work for our salvation. They focus on the law, not on what God has done in Christ. The book of Romans speaks about this topic intensively, and we should read it as a whole.
2) Look for parallel verses
It also helps to look for parallel verses, or verses that are similar to the ones we are reading at the moment. These parallel verses are usually indicated in the footnotes section of Bibles.
Reading parallel verses gives us a different perspective or explanation about the same subject. This will help us understand the topic better.
For example, there are many parallel verses in the four Gospels since they all talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. Reading them helps us gain a different perspective and a deeper understanding of who He is, what He did, and what He said.
Aside from parallel verses, reading the same text from different Bible translations will help as well. This action called "cross-checking" will help us understand many things better.
3) Have a concordance ready
A concordance is a very handy tool that can help us understand the Bible better. It is a book that cites where a certain word is located in the Bible. This is best used when researching.
A concordance is perfect for first word encounters. For example, you read the word "Pharisee" for the first time and naturally, you won't understand what it is. Looking for the word "Pharisee" in a concordance will yield a list of verses where the word is mentioned. These verses will help you understand what they do, who they are, and what role they had in the Bible.
While you can read and understand the Bible without the help of a concordance, having one at arm's reach will help deepen your knowledge of it.
4) Accept that it means what it says
Sometimes we want the word to mean something else or we deny its full meaning because it is convicting us or challenging us to change our ways. We try and cherry pick God's word to suit our lifestyles instead of changing our lifestyles to match God's word. Friends, if the word of God is telling us to do something, we ought to do it. If it's telling us not to do something, we ought not to do it. It's that simple.
Most important of all
Friends, if there's anything or anyone that will make us understand God's word better, it's the Holy Spirit. He's the Spirit of truth who guides us into all truth (see John 16:13). Asking His help and yielding to Him will make us understand God's word far better than any other help can.