I just finished one of Chuck Missler’s earlier Christian books called Countdown to Eternity and near the end, he makes a suggestion that might help with understanding difficult or confusing passages you encounter in your Bible study:
1. Get a notebook, diary or journal and keep it with you when you do your devotions or Bible study.
2. When you come across a passage in your reading that is confusing, puzzling, difficult to understand or is seemingly contradictory to other Bible passages, write that portion of the scripture down (or reference it with book name, chapter, and verse) along with the date, time, and anything else you might consider important.
3. Now, use your own words to describe what is troubling you about the passage or issue. Be as precise in your comments and descriptions as possible.
4. Pray about the passage, asking God to give you insight and understanding and clarity about the passage.
It may take a day or two, but you will eventually get an answer. It may come to you in a direct word from God or through a conversation with friends, a speech or lecture or through an event, but you will get an answer. At this point, go back to your journal and record the answer. Again, note the time and the circumstances under which you received the answer.
This method helps us because it makes us be very specific about the issue we are having with the scripture we are studying. It helps us be very deliberate about seeking an answer.
What too often happens is that we don’t pursue questions or issues we have because we neglect to take notes and ask questions in those notes and we forget our questions. It could also be that, sad to say, we are too lazy or we are complacent. Perhaps it is time to administer a bit of self-discipline if pursuing the will of God is really important us.
I don’t mean you have to go to the extreme and force yourself into intensive study for two hours a day, but allow yourself to step closer to taking the time to make a deeper investigation into the scriptures. Stop and think about what you’ve read and look for answers to your questions – or reason them out by looking at the grammar at the words used for an extra five minutes.
As God reveals His intent through revelations and your understanding increases, I think that five minutes will soon be extended into ten and beyond.
A healer from Pakistan who came to our church one Sunday, made a remark about reading the Bible. He said the he found it a wonder that Americans learned anything at all considering the way we read the Bible. His point was that we give it a cursory skimming and think we have learned what we need to know.
I honestly must say I am as guilty as the next person. Read a passage or chapter, set it down and feel good about reading … “What book was I reading?”
There are Jews whose goal is to live, eat and breathe the Torah every minute of every day of their life. The Muslim memorizes the Koran. But too many of us Christians are missing out on the truth and the power of God because we are satisfied with speed reading the Bible.
Lord, forgive us.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace.