What is the number one reason why people have trouble understanding the Bible? It isn’t the language. It isn’t what translation you use. Also, it isn’t because you need a high level of education to make sense of it. Jesus taught things that are easy to understand. On the other hand, Satan leads us to say the Bible is too hard to understand to justify why we are not following what it says. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus was talking to common folk like us. The Jewish scholars may have had a hard time understanding His message, but the common folks did not.
Think of what is hard to understand in today’s world. Can anyone make sense of the war in Ukraine and the mindset of the Russian leaders who are bringing such pain and suffering to innocent people? Why do evolution and “survival of the fittest” have such an attraction to people of the world? Why are we obsessed with video games that bring images of fighting, death, and destruction into our homes? Why is sexual misconduct front-page news every day? The physical world doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Until you get your mind around the fact that the Bible and the teachings of Jesus are devoted to the spiritual, you will struggle with it. Jesus said, “my kingdom is not of this world” and “don’t worry about tomorrow.” The idea of “agape” love has meaning only if you understand the spiritual and are not hung up on material desires. If you think the Bible is too hard to understand, you are probably thinking only of the material realm.
A classic example of material thinking is confusion about the concept of heaven and hell. In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, Paul writes about the change that takes place when we die. This passage uses two Greek terms: “psychikon soma” refers to our physical body, and “pneumatikon soma” refers to our spiritual body. If you picture heaven and hell as physical places, you will get confused. This passage makes it clear that it is our spiritual makeup that inherits hell or heaven, depending on the choices we make in life.
We may not be able to imagine the joy of a spiritual existence without time or pain or suffering. However, we can understand that hell is not a place in the center of the Earth with demons with red suits and pitchforks tormenting us.
Jesus offers freedom from all the misery and fears of this physical existence. That is REAL freedom. If you think the Bible is too hard to understand, train yourself to think in spiritual terms. Then the Bible and what it offers will make sense to you.
— John N. Clayton © 2022