Understanding the Bible can be difficult. For many centuries, the Catholic Church taught that the Bible could only be understood by an ordained priest. In modern times, people like N.T. Wright and other well-credentialed theologians are often held up as having profound (even special or unique) insights into God’s word due to their advanced degrees and learning.
Others might contend that a working knowledge of the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) languages is necessary for understanding the Bible. Of late, the need to have an understanding of the culture of the day (1st century) has advanced…to the degree that some disregard portions of Scripture with the charge of modern-day irrelevance.
So what exactly is required to understanding the Bible? Can any person, without a special degree or a library of “special” books, come to a knowledge of the truth revealed by God through His word?
how Scriptureanswers "What do you need for understanding the Bible?"
Understanding the Bible requires nothing more than the Bible itself1,3,6,9 and a diligent, open, seeking heart2,6,8,10. With our prayer to God for understanding4,7, He has promised that we will find (or, know) Him8,9,10. It is, in fact, the only way we can know His will for us.1,7,9
Of course, the word may travel by way of a teacher/preacher6. There are some portions or topics that are difficult5, but Scripture’s promise3,10 is that we can grow in the truth9 with careful, diligent study2,6.
the answer above is built on and footnoted with the following scripture-blocks
All Scripture is from God (e.g. holy, inspired) and necessary for teaching, for rebuke, for correction and training in righteousness so that a man of God would be spiritually equipped and ready for any good work.
Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. There is no end to the making of many books, and much study is exhausting to the body. Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man.
Be warned, my son, of anything added to them [wise sayings of the Teacher]. There is no end to the making of books, and their study wearies the body. Having heard everything, I have concluded that it is enough for man to only fear God and keep his commandments.
A book of wisdom from “the Preacher” (many believe to be Solomon). The very wise and wealthy “Preacher”, having done all things “under the sun”, shares his treatise on life and worldly pursuits – it is all vanity.
How does it apply here?
Earthly knowledge (“many books”) is put at odds with God’s word which, it’s concluded, is independently self-sufficient for man’s “whole duty”.
And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.
Consider also the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our brother Paul wrote to you in all his letters based on the wisdom given to him. Some of his writings are hard to understand – the things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own demise – just as they do with rest of all scripture.
Peter’s final exhortation to hold a “firm grasp on the truth” (vs 17) and to “continue to grow in the grace and knowledge” of Christ (vs 18).
How does it apply here?
Peter acknowledges that some of scripture, particularly what Paul wrote, is “hard to understand.” However, the very next verses confirm his audience had a “grasp of the truth” and his encouragement is to continue to grow [in the truth].
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
As a result, from the day we heard, we have continued to pray for you, asking God that you will be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. In order that you might walk in a way that’s worthy of Christ our Lord, fully pleasing him and bearing fruit in every good work while increasing in the knowledge of God.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
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