Every Christian has been confused by Scripture at times. Here’s part of a message I received from someone after a study I taught:
Last week, I took the entire chapter [from the study], copied it to Word, and then made spaces for notes. I thought I was prepared. But I wasn’t as prepared as I was hoping. I will just keep working on it.
I can tell the person was discouraged, and this is something I’ve encountered regularly. Here are two passages that should discourage us from being discouraged:
- “Our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand“(2 Peter 3:15-16). The Apostle Peter himself read Paul’s letters and found them difficult to understand at times.
- “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating” (1 Peter 1:10-11). The prophets were given the very words of God. Even they had to “inquire” and “search carefully” to understand the revelation in each other’s writings.
Why does God allow certain parts of Scripture to be confusing?
God’s Word offers wisdom that can’t be found anywhere else. This makes it unbelievably valuable and reveals why it is is compared with precious jewels:
- [Wisdom’s] proceeds are far better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies (Proverbs 3:14-15).
- How much better to get wisdom than gold (Proverbs 16:16a).
- Wisdom is better than rubies, [its] fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold (Proverbs 8:11a, 19a).
You have to diligently search for precious jewels. Since wisdom is more valuable than them, how much more diligently should we study the truths in Scripture?
Proverbs 2:4 Seek [wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures.
There has to be an investment made in obtaining wisdom. This is why we should experience joy after obtaining it:
Proverbs 3:13a Happy is the man who finds wisdom.
A helpful illustration when confused by Scripture
Someone shared this with me some years back:
The Bible is like the ocean, offering a number of ways for us to interact with it. We can:
- Look at it and admire it from a distance
- Get close to it, even walking out and getting our toes wet
- Dive in and swim with the waves
- Swim down and look at all the beauty that’s below the surface
But the greatest blessing is for people who dive to the bottom. They look at all that’s offered and take some of the treasure with them.
- Impacted the way I read God’s Word. I always look to take some treasures with me.
- Influenced the way I preach. I hope to give others treasures to take with them.
I am constantly amazed by the truth and application that can be mined from God’s Word. Many weeks in my sermon preparation I approach passages that I’m familiar with. I wonder what I’m going to share with people that they haven’t already heard. As I study, I find treasures I’ve never seen before.
An encouraging example when confused by Scripture
Daniel the prophet was a student of God’s Word:
Daniel 9:2 I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years (Daniel 9:2).
Nebuchadnezzar asked Daniel to interpret his dream. Daniel said:
“God gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things” (Daniel 2:21-22).
This was true in Daniel’s day, and it’s still true today. As a result, if we’ll faithfully spend time in God’s Word, and diligently look for the treasures it contains, God will give us wisdom and knowledge. He will reveal “deep and secret things.”
While it can be discouraging at times when we’re confused by Scripture, God wants us to be diligent in learning His Word. Rather than give up, He wants us to seek, search, and dig into the Scriptures. When we find some of the precious treasures God has for us we can rejoice, because we’ve found something more precious than gold.
Discuss in comments section:
- I was recently asked to share my best tips for studying God’s Word. Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
- When you’re confused by Scripture, how do you avoid being discouraged?