Inspired by Matthew 11
“I don’t get it. I read the words, but they don’t make sense. I’ll never be a Bible scholar!”
Frustration can easily set in for a Bible newbie. Often we start out reading the good book in order, beginning with Genesis. Not too bad. We understand creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah. Then, we start getting into Abraham sacrificing his only son Isaac on the altar and start questioning: Why would God ask him to do such a thing? We eventually find out it was a test of faith for Isaac. As we get deeper and further into the Bible, it can all seem like a lot to process. It’s hard to get over the “thees” and “thys” if we’re reading the King James version. Often, we just give up. We don’t feel like we were God’s intended audience or maybe He wrote it for smarter people to interpret for us.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Look at Matthew chapter 11.
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (Matthew 11:25-26)
See, Jesus explained that God has made things clear to regular people–not just those with a Divinity degree. Sometimes, when we have that “childlike faith”, we simply understand. If it still feels as clear as mud, try another version of the Bible for a while; or, cross-reference versions. You don’t have to buy all of them–at least buy one hard-copy version that you love. Then, mark it up! Underline, write in the margins, make your own notes. You can go to websites like Bible Gateway to see verses in all versions.
The Bible version I use in my blog is the NIV or New International Version. Some people say the King James Bible is the most accurate, but I don’t have time to have to work through the Old English. Other readers favor the Amplified Bible or The Message. These versions include expanded text and easier language. Just to give you an example of how those Bibles present the above verse, Matthew 11:25-26:
King James Version
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth[I openly and joyfully acknowledge Your great wisdom], that You have hidden these things [these spiritual truths] from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants [to new believers, to those seeking God’s will and purpose]. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.”
“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
When you keep reading through the Bible, you will see connections and words echoed in the Old Testament and New. Remember that story about Abraham and Isaac? When Isaac asked Abraham where the lamb was for the burnt offering, “Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (Genesis 22:8) Doesn’t that sound like what God did for us? He provided Jesus, the lamb of God, as a sacrifice, to save us from death. That sentiment is echoed many times throughout the Bible. Every time you come upon it, you will feel like you are “getting it”.
God will make His meaning clear to you. Keep reading the Bible! The more you do, the more He’ll reveal to you. The Bible is spiritual milk. It will feed you and help you grow as a believer. Don’t be intimidated.