There are many reasons as to why many struggle to read or let alone understand the Bible. I have always said reading the Bible is easy, understanding it is hard and doing what it say is impossible without God. So why do people find it hard to read the Bible? Apart from its size the number one reason is that the Bible was not written to us. This is a big problem because the Bible is a mini library of books. It has many different genres that ranges from Poetry, History, and Prophecy etc.
We need to be aware and respect the Bible for what it is when we read it. Understanding that it was not written to us helps us when we try to apply the teachings of the Bible in our lives. A good example I always give is, if I write a letter to my wife I will write it in a way that she would understand. I would also write it using words and expressions that would mean different things to someone else reading it. I would also use places because of the meaning the have in our relationship. I would not care so much about the grammar because it is not an assignment that will be marked. My only concern would be to convey a message so that she understands.
So is the Bible there a few passages that no one really knows what it means. Even to the descants (Jews) of those who it was written to. For instance the term El Shaddai, it is normally translated as “God Almighty” but in Hebrew that is not what it means. No one really knows what Shaddai means.
If we go in the Bible with this frame of mind it will help not to make mistakes or many misunderstandings. Then we would only take out the principles of the passages and not its context. The problem I feel is that many take the context of the Bible, apply them to their situation. This is a big mistake unless maybe you live in Palestine and you are a famer then maybe. Or some times it is the other way round they take their current situations and try to fit them into the Bible. Although they might be some instances where there is parallels or similarities but still it will not be able to help you sole your problems or understand the Bible.
We can and should only refer to the events of the Bible just as we read the New Testament authors did. We do this in our lives everyday but we do not try to fit our current situation to our past situation in order to solve our problems. Of course we need to remember the experiences and the lessons we have learnt from out past events. I believe that is what we should do when reading the Bible.
In my next post I will talk about why if possible it is important to learn the original languages of the Bible mainly Hebrew and Greek.