1. Some Scripture passages are difficult to fully understand. Other elements of our faith such as the Trinity are mysteries--things we can't fully understand with our finite minds. How do the verses below help?
Deuteronomy 29:29--I love this verse and often think of it when I wish I knew why things happen as they do. Obviously, God doesn't think it is good, important, or necessary for us to know everything. God has reasons for keeping things "secret" from us, and His reasons are always for our best good. Think of the many things we keep "secret" from our children because they are unable to handle the truths they contain until they become adults.
2 Peter 1:3: But this passage puts our hearts at rest: God always gives us everything we need to know to live for Him here and now.
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1 Corinthians 13:12: It seems like God is telling us that once we get to heaven, all of our earthly questions will be answered. I like that idea. It's a comfort.
2. What insights do the following verses give us for dealing with difficult passages?
James 1:5: The first step when confused about a Scripture passage is to ask God for wisdom.
♥ Meditate on the passage (i.e. read it through several times thoughtfully and prayerfully).
♥ Get out a concordance and study some of the words in the passage.
♥ Compare how the same words are used in other passages to give you a fuller idea of their meaning.
♥ Next, use a good commentary...actually use several commentaries if you can. Don't take one man's word for what is written and look mostly for background information and Greek meaning of the words.
♥ You don't want to base your conclusions on man's opinion alone. But we all can learn from those who have studied the Bible in-depth.
I use Bible software that has a number of study helps, but I know there are lots of resources on line. If you especially like a particular free internet resource, please tell us about it in the comment section. Thanks!
John 16:12-13: We should always ask the Holy Spirit to guide when we are reading passages. Verse 13 assures us that the insights the Spirit gives us will always be in agreement with the teachings of Scripture.
Personal insight: Raised in a Christian home, I sometimes read the Bible, but not until I became a believer did it begin to really make sense to me. It seems like most unbelievers look at Scripture and see one of two things: a weak message of love that has no holiness in it, or a list of rules and regulations without any relationship. But once we know Christ, the Spirit shows us that Jesus is about truth and love, purity and grace all combined in one wonderful package.
All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted
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