Understanding God's Word
I couldn't tell you the number of times people have told Eugene and myself, "I don't understand the Bible when I'm reading it." Over the years, this is one of the biggest issues Christians seem to face, especially in their early walk with the Lord. They have a desire to read God's word, but for whatever reason, their comprehension of what God is saying isn't what they'd like it to be.
If this is you, the solution is much simpler than you think!
When I was a teenager and I first began to study the Bible , I was having this problem. It was frustrating, and at times made me feel like there was something wrong with me. I loved God, I wanted to obey Him, but I just didn't understand what I was reading. One night, I went before the Lord in prayer and asked the Holy Spirit to teach me. I asked for clarity of scriptures, so that I could understand it for myself. After that simple prayer, God began to unfold his Words to me. It was as simple as that!
THE HOLY SPIRIT AS YOUR GUIDE
When Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit as our HELPER. He knew we would need guidance and assistance here on earth. The Holy Spirit is here to help guide us into all truth. Even though the disciples walked with Jesus, and saw him perform mighty miracles; even though they knew he was the Messiah and He foretold what would happen, they still had trouble understanding the fullness of what that meant!
How much more do we need a helper in our faith,
especially when we read the Word of God?
John 14:25-26 (NKJV) 25 “I have told you this while I’m still with you.
26 However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.
The Lord has given each of us the ability to tap into our full potential through His Spirit. But, we have to receive it first! If you've never asked the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit, then I encourage you to take a moment to do so. This is a free gift that the Lord has promised to be your help-mate in your walk with Him. You need only ask! The Holy Spirit will help guide you through the scriptures and open your eyes to understanding exactly what you're reading, and how to incorporate it into your own life! Your life with begin to change when you allow God's spirit to guide and direct you! I know God will answer this earnest prayer, because he did it for me! It is also His willl for you to know His Word and to be empowered by it!
THE WORDS IN RED
If you aren't sure where to start reading, or what to read first, try reading the words of Jesus. Most bibles will have His words written in red. Jesus often taught in parables to help us understand the heart of our Heavenly Father. Parables are word pictures or stories meant to help give you a clear view of something deeper. As you read, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and heart to what God wan't to say to you! You'll be amazed as the words begin to jump off the page and into your heart!
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
WHICH TRANSLATION SHOULD I USE?
People get caught up in this discussion far more than they should. Since you've already asked the Holy Spirit to help you understand his Word, ask Him to guide you to a translation that best suits you. Almost everyone these days has the ability to look at multiple versions on our phones, or at the very least online. It's as easy as downloading an app. If you continue struggling through a version, or you don't like the way it flows, there is nothing wrong with trying out another one! God will speak to you through His written word, you just have to pursue Him in it! Pray about which version to try, and then immerse yourself in Him! You can also try switching back and fort between versions, and catch a bigger revelation or understanding in the process.
Psalm 119:130 (NIV)
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
If you don't have it on your phone already, try downloading the Bible Gateway App. You will have access to dozens of translations and study guides to help you in your journey!
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PSALMS & PROVERBS
The Bible is not just a book. It is a relationship in words. God's Word to each of us. It is a living, breathing interaction between the Creator of the Universe and YOU! Psalms and Proverbs prove that we are meant to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father, because we are able to witness both God speaking to mankind, but also man speaking to God!
In the Psalms you will find honest, and sometimes brutal, expressions of the human heart. The songs and poems express the greatest joy and the deepest sorrow. You will see King David plead with God, shout at God, beg God for forgiveness. Often these heart cries reflect our own pains and frustrations. Because of this, we can relate and understand deeper what a relationship with God looks like from King David, who is called "a man after God's own heart."
In Proverbs you have the opportunity to ready the Wise words of King Solomon. God blessed him with unbelievable riches and success in is reign over Israel because he humbly asked the Lord for Wisdom and it was granted. If you are seeking wisdom and understanding - why not get in the inside scoop from one of the wisest men to ever walk the earth!
Proverbs 1:1-7 (NCV)
1 These are the wise words of Solomon son of David, king of Israel. 2 They teach wisdom and self-control; they will help you understand wise words. 3 They will teach you how to be wise and self-controlled and will teach you to do what is honest and fair and right. 4 They make the uneducated wise and give knowledge and sense to the young. 5 Wise people can also listen and learn; even they can find good advice in these words. 6 Then anyone can understand wise words and stories, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Knowledge begins with respect for the Lord, but fools hate wisdom and discipline.
Father I understand that I need a relationship with your Word. I recognize that I need help understanding what it is that I'm reading. Holy Spirit , I asked you to come in my life and teach me! Show me what to read and give me the understanding and clarity of what I read. Teach me how to live out Your word and pursue your Kingdom!
In Jesus' name