One of the common challenges to Christianity is that the Bible is hard to understand. Coupled with that are claims that the Bible is full of mistakes and contradictions. However, the fact is that the Bible is easy to understand if we apply a few common sense practices.
Skeptics “cherry-pick” the Bible to try to make it look confusing. They take a small section of the Bible and lift it out of context, ignoring its purpose, writing style, or the original language’s meaning. For example, they quote Luke 14:26 as saying that the followers of Christ must hate their whole family. The passage is talking about priorities and simply saying your faith has to come first in your life for it to have meaning. We see in 1 Timothy 5:8 that if Christians don’t care for their families, they are worse than an infidel.
There are a few simple rules that will help an honest reader know that the Bible is easy to understand:
Divide the Old Testament from the New Testament (2 Timothy 2:15). Galatians 3:24-25 tells us the purpose of the Old Testament and that we are no longer under the Old Law. (Read Colossians 2:8-17.)
Understand the purpose of each book. The gospels tell the story of the life of Christ. The letters address Church matters after Jesus ascended to heaven. Revelation addresses the struggles of the early Church, not the politics of modern times.
Avoid what Peter calls “cunningly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16, 20). Much of what you hear about the book of Revelation is the embellishment of a book written to those who were oppressed and needed to know the good news about “things that must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1).
Understand that humans broke their relationship with God, and the Bible is God telling us how to restore it. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 does that, and the people who heard that message responded with, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Verse 38 tells us what to do, assuring us that restoration is available from God.
All alternatives to the biblical message about how to live your life are destined to fail. Read the biblical message and act upon it. Read 2 Peter 1:4-8, Galatians 5:19-23, Matthew 5:21-48, and 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Then do what those verses say.
If you are interested in the history of the human relationship with God, read the Old Testament. If you want to know how to restore your relationship with God, read the book of Acts. If you want to know how to live the Christian life in a secular world, read the letters of Paul. The Bible is easy to understand, and you don’t need a theology degree. Don’t let anyone tell you what the Bible says. Please read it for yourself and act upon what it says. It is the Word of God.
— John N. Clayton © 2022