Sometimes reading and understanding the Bible is like a hunt for hidden treasure. In fact, Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings to search things out.” This might explain why it is occasionally hard to understand the Bible. We read, and though we understand the words, we sometimes don’t understand the meaning or the application to our personal lives. So, what can we do? How do we “seek things out”, and find God in His word? Here are some pointers to help you as you read your Bible:
- Read every day. Sometimes understanding increases with familiarity, and developing a habit of daily reading can help you become more familiar with the rhythm and flow of scripture.
- See the big picture. It is possible to lose the details of what you are reading if you don’t know the context in which it was written. There are lots of different kinds of writing in the Bible. There is a specific structure to the arc of the entire story of the Bible. Knowing where in biblical history the passage you are reading is taking place may help your understanding.
- Talk to the Author. Scripture is inspired by God, and He is available to its readers through prayer. When you sit down to read your Bible, take time to pray and ask God to help you understand. God seems to greatly enjoy revealing Himself to those who want to know Him.
- Take God at His Word. Sometimes our confusion and struggle with God’s word comes not from difficult words or concepts, but rather it comes from our unwillingness to believe what it says or comply with what it teaches. This is a challenge, not of the mind, but of the heart as we are confronted with challenges to our self-will. Just remember, God is God and you are not.
- Take notes. Highlight significant ideas or terms. When you run into a question about a passage, write it down. Perhaps some other time you will come across the answer to your question and you will be able to go back and jot that down as well. Enjoy the glimpses of truth you find as you explore God’s word.
- Share with a friend. It is always a good idea to pursue knowing God in community with others. Share the blessing!
So why would it be the glory of God to conceal a matter in the first place? Think of it as God’s way of drawing us in to an adventure that will ultimately reveal to us something about Him. Seeking God in His word is how we get to know what kind of a God He really is, and how we might see His blessing in our lives.