Last night I got caught. Maybe you can relate. Jess, my wife, was talking to me, and I was only half listening. Well, if I’m honest, half is a very generous estimate. I was listening enough where I heard the words, and even gave her some verbal feedback as she was talking, “yeah….uh-huh…..gotcha”, but mentally I had no clue what she was talking about. I was preoccupied. And she noticed. She graciously called me on it. “Matt you’re really not listening to me, are you?” It was at that point I pulled out the classic husband defense. I repeated back to her the last sentence she said verbatim. “See! Of course I’m listening.” But she knew better, and so did I. I was busted. I heard the words, but I had no understanding of what she was saying.
We all know the importance of being understood when it comes to relationships. Just hearing the words that are said by somebody is not enough. A person speaks not simply to be heard, but to be understood. We’ve all felt the disappointment of opening up our hearts to someone we know, only to hear, “I know exactly what you mean”, when in fact they really don’t.
I think often as Christians we can make the same mistake when it comes to reading our Bibles. The Bible is God’s written word to us. It’s the way He has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Think about that, the God of the universe wants us to know Him! Yet so often we can hear (or read) the words He speaks to us, and be content to move on without doing our best to understand those words, and grow relationally with Him. We check off the box. Scripture reading is done for the day. Like the move I pulled in the conversation with my wife, we may even be able to repeat back what we just read, but still not understand what God was communicating to us. I think this is one reason why we can often feel so guilty when the topic of our personal Bible reading comes up with other Christians. We don’t feel like we are getting much from it, so we either avoid it, or do it quickly to check off the box.
Maybe unlike my conversation with my wife, you are really trying to understand, but just find the Bible difficult. If that describes you, you’re in good company. Even the Apostle Peter, someone who wrote a few books of the Bible, acknowledges the Bible can be difficult to understand at times when he says about the Scriptures in 2 Peter 3:16, “There are some things in them that are hard to understand”. But “some things” that are difficult to understand doesn’t mean we need to throw in the towel. In the very same section of Scripture Peter urges His readers, who were everyday people like you and I, to “grow in the….knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”(2 Peter 3:18) Although difficult at times, the Bible can be understood, and we can grow in our knowledge of, and relationship with Jesus through understanding it.
So how do we grow in our understanding of the Bible?, I’d like to invite you to join me every other Thursday night for three class sessions, starting June 4th for an introduction on how to study the Bible. The class will be about an hour long, and is meant to help equip you with some tools to help you better understand your Bible. You can click Here to be taken to our online sign up for the class.
I’m praying for you that your time in God’s Word is fruitful, and that you find yourself knowing and growing in your understanding and relationship with the God of the universe. How amazing it is to know that God wants to reveal Himself to us!