“What do I do if I don’t like or understand a Bible passage I’m reading?”
I so appreciate this authentic question. I think every honest Christian would admit that there have been (and still are!) times when Bible passages just don’t make sense, don’t seem to personally ‘speak,’ or provide any joy in reading.
What’s a Christian to do when he/she is reading through the Bible and gets to a book/section/passage that makes zero sense and brings on a feeling of “what’s the point of doing this anyway?”
Before I offer some suggestions on what you can do when this happens, know that it’s okay, you’re not alone, and don’t give up. We’ve all thought, “I could be so much more productive if I would just go and . . . ” We’ve all wanted to go read something that we know will ‘interest us more.’ But then we feel guilty because we want to do that. Then we feel like something is wrong with us. And then the cycle continues to go round and round and round. It happens to ALL of us. Don’t give up.
Instead, consider these 5 suggestions:
1. Take a break from that book of the Bible.
It might serve you well to go to another Bible book that God has used before to speak to you. Sometimes getting out of a rut happens when you push yourself out and find traction on different ground.
2. Invest in a solid Study Bible.
There are some incredible resources out there that are quick, easy, and very helpful. I recommend the ESV Study Bible, the MacArthur ESV Study Bible ($5.00 right now on Kindle!!!!), and the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible. Each can be downloaded electronically (you can buy all 3 electronically at Amazon for under $25 – and have them with you everywhere you go!) and offer solid insights on just about every verse to help you better understand what you are reading.
3. Find a good, helpful, and challenging Bible-based devotional.
Honestly, there are times when I need something to prompt my mind and affections. Finding a good, solid, exciting devotional jump starts my appetite and desire for the Word. Currently – one chapter a morning – I am reading Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith by Jon Bloom. Highly recommended!
4. Listen to a favorite preacher’s sermon series on that particular passage or Bible book.
Have a favorite preacher? He’s probably on iTunes somewhere – or at least has his messages downloadable from his church website. See if the Bible passage you are struggling with has been taught by him. Download it and give it a listen.
5. Pray for supernatural understanding.
I saved the best (and most important) for last. Ask God to help you ‘get it’ and understand.
Paul told Timothy to think over what he said, knowing the Lord would give him understanding.
The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.”
Ask for the Spirit’s help. Ask Him to give you divine insight and wisdom – not for some ‘super knowledge’ that no one else has; but for knowledge and insight to know what the text means. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. This is a spiritual thing! Ask for divine help!
These are what I recommend.
What am I missing?
What would you suggest?