Regarding Its Ability To Be Understood?
Taken from: Executable Outlines
1. Some will acknowledge that the Bible...
a. Has been faithfully preserved and translated
b. Contains the books that serve as our authority (canon) in religion
c. Is inspired by God
-- Yet they contend that Bible cannot be understood
2. Or at the very least they will argue...
a. That we need a guide to help us (such as some church authority)
b. Or that we need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand it
3. Can the Bible be understood...?
a. Is it so difficult that the common man cannot understand it?
b. Is it so mysterious that only 'Spirit-led' people can comprehend
[In answer to such questions, let's first note that...]
I. THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD
A. REGARDING THE OLD TESTAMENT...
1. It was written for our learning - cf. Ro 15:4
a. Jesus expected people to understand it ("Have you not
read...?") - Mt 12:3,5; 19:4
b. Paul expected unbelieving Jews to understand it - Ac 17:2-3
c. The Berean Jews were commended for searching the Scriptures
- Ac 17:11
d. Timothy understood much of it as a child - 2 Ti 3:14-15
2. Didn't some people need help to understand it?
a. Such as the disciples? - Lk 24:25-27,44-47
b. Such as the Ethiopian eunuch? - Ac 8:30-35
3. Yes, because it contained a mystery yet to be revealed
a. A mystery kept secret since the world began - Ro 16:25
b. A mystery now made manifest to all nations - Ro 16:26
c. A mystery now revealed by the Spirit to the apostles and
prophets - Ep 3:3-5
-- With the aid of the New Testament, what was a mystery in the
Old Testament can now be understood!
B. REGARDING THE NEW TESTAMENT...
1. The writers expected their readers to understand
a. Luke wrote his gospel that one might know - Lk 1:1-4
b. John wrote his gospel that one might believe - Jn 20:30-31
c. Paul wrote for people to understand, to have his knowledge
- 2 Co 1:13; Ep 3:3-5
d. John wrote his epistle that one might know - 1 Jn 5:13
2. Aren't some things hard to understand?
a. Like some of the things Paul wrote? - 2 Pe 3:15-16
b. Like the book of Revelation?
3. Yes, but that does not mean they cannot be understood
a. It is the "untaught and unstable" that have problems - 2 Pe
b. We are expected to grow in knowledge - 2 Pe 3:18; Co 1:10
c. As we mature, we are able to handle the "meat" - cf. He 5:
-- The New Testament was written to be understood, though in
[Not only was the Bible written to be understood, but consider this...]
II. GOD EXPECTS US TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE
A. HE EXPECTS US TO UNDERSTAND HIS WILL...
1. He desires all men to come to a knowledge of the truth - 1 Ti
2. He commands it of His children - Ep 5:17
-- Would God desire and command that which is impossible?
B. HE EXPECTS US TO UNDERSTAND IT ALIKE...
1. Jesus prayed for unity among His followers - Jn 17:20
2. Paul commanded Christians to have the same mind - 1 Co 1:10-13;
3. There are essentials on which we must be united - e.g., Ep 4:
-- Did Jesus and Paul demand that which is unattainable?
[Yet is evident that many do not understand the Bible, nor do they
understand it alike. Why...?]
III. WHY SOME DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE
A. REASONS OFTEN GIVEN...
1. "It can't be understood"
a. We seen that it was written to be understood
b. To say that man cannot understand is to impugn God's ability
to provide a revelation
2. "Only 'Spirit-filled' people can understand it"
a. This belief actually contributes to much misunderstanding
and division over the Bible
1) Everyone claims the Spirit is leading them to their own
2) Others are wrong because they don't have the Spirit's
b. It is based upon a misreading and misapplication of 1 Co
1) That one cannot understand spiritual things without the
help of the Spirit
2) Including understanding the Bible, that it requires the
c. But note the context - 1 Co 2:6-13
1) Paul is contrasting God's wisdom with the wisdom of this
2) The world with its wisdom cannot know what God has
3) What is known in the mind of God comes only through
d. Note carefully the process:
1) God has prepared things which man cannot perceive on his
own - 1 Co 2:9
2) God has revealed them to the apostles through His Spirit
who alone knows the mind of God - 1 Co 2:10-11
3. The apostles received that which the Spirit revealed,
that we might know the things given to us by God - 1 Co
4) The apostles speak that which they received, using words
of the Spirit, not words of human wisdom - 1 Co 2:13
e. Here, then, is the proper meaning of 1 Co 2:14-16
1) The 'natural man' is one who depends upon human wisdom
(such as the 'rulers of the age')
a) Without the benefit of divine revelation
b) Who therefore is unable to receive the things of the
Spirit of God
c) Who depending only on human wisdom considers the
things of God foolishness
2) The 'spiritual man' is one who has the Spirit (such as
a) Who has been given divine revelation of God's will
b) Who is therefore able to judge all things, and is
judged by no one
c) For such has been given the mind of the Lord (Christ)
3) Paul is therefore contrasting himself (and the apostles)
with uninspired men
f. Remember now what Paul wrote in Ep 3:3-5
1) God has revealed what was unknown (the mystery) to the
apostles and prophets by His Spirit
2) Who in turn have written what they received
3) Whereby when we read, we can now understand their
-- We don't need some special guidance of the Spirit to understand
the Word; the Word of God itself is the Spirit's own revelation
of God's will!
B. THE REAL REASONS...
1. Many make little or no effort
a. They rarely read and study the Bible
b. They therefore remain ignorant
c. They remain babes in their knowledge and understanding
2. Many study for the wrong reasons
a. They may spend a lot of time studying, but with improper
a. To prove themselves right (reading only to justify their
conduct or beliefs)
b. To prove others wrong (reading only to find arguments to
support their position)
3. Many fail to apply their God-given common sense
a. Such as looking up words they don't understand
b. Such as defining words in their context
c. Such as taking into consideration all that God's word says
on a subject
d. Such as studying the Bible the way it was written
1) Book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse
2) Starting at the beginning, reading through to the end
-- The problem is not with God's Word; the problem is slothful,
sloppy handling of God's word - cf. 2 Ti 2:15
1. The Bible can be understood...
a. By children
b. By truth seekers
c. By babes in Christ
-- Though parts of it will always challenge even the mature Christian
2. God desires that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth
- 1 Ti 2:4
a. He gave His Son as a ransom - 1 Ti 2:5-6
b. He sent His Spirit to guide us into all the truth - Jn 16:13
-- Through His apostles and prophets His truth and salvation can be
The question is not whether God's word can be understood, but whether we
will make an honest and sincere effort to understand and obey it!