Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15 KJV
Recently, during a Wednesday night Bible study, my wife Karen raised her hand to ask a question. We had just spent a good amount of time working through a rather difficult passage and had come to some solid conclusions as to the interpretation of the verses. I called on her and she asked this question, “Why don’t those verses just say it a little clearer? Why does the Bible have to be so confusing?”
Good question. Maybe you’ve wondered the same thing. Caught off guard, I mumbled a few weak responses and we moved on with the study. On my way home that night, I began to think about her question and how I might have answered it with more clarity.
First of all, let me throw out the short answer; it is supposed to be. The Bible is like no other book in the world and its treasures will not be unearthed to the casual reader. Certainly, there are verses that are as clear as day, even to a child, but the majority of the Scriptures are just plain hard to understand. Theologians and serious Bible students have debated (maybe fought is a more accurate word), for centuries over passages such as Hebrews 6 and Romans 7. The book of Revelation can be viewed from a number of different perspectives. When you really begin to dig into the Bible you find that things can get a little muddy. Good men have parted ways over different interpretations of the same verses. But let’s think a bit deeper so we can give Karen a better answer.
Although men wrote the Bible, it was really God the Holy Spirit, who inspired it. Therefore, it’s depth are unfathomable. We can never exhaust its riches. The Nassau Record is an excellent newspaper but I only read it through once. I have read some great books but when I am finished, I rarely pick them up again. In contrast to these, the Bible has held my attention for over 40 years. The Scriptures are difficult in order to keep me challenged and engaged.
I have one further answer for my bride, who happens to be a teacher. Any educator will tell you that unless a student’s brain is actively involved in the learning process, all effort on the part of the teacher is in vain. Spoon fed knowledge leads to food being drippled down the chin and onto the shirt. If the learner is made to aggressively chew the new information, then the possibility of real learning is in play. Truth that is fought for becomes my truth. This is why the Socratic style of teaching is so effective. Karen, the Bible is difficult because God knew that we learn best when we have to fight to understand. Jell-O is fun to eat but I’ll take a juicy ribeye any day.