Do you find it hard to understand the Bible?
Tips for getting your head around the tricky parts
“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Mark 13:14
Sometimes the Bible can be just a little bit difficult to grasp, can't it? I sometimes struggle to understand simple maths concepts, let alone accurately interpret the presence of the abomination of desolation. So what should you do when the Bible seems too hard to understand?
Firstly, take a look at the context - the words, sentences and ideas around the passage in question. Most passages follow normal English rules – the writer starts with a main argument or topic, then gives examples or supporting ideas to strengthen his point. Look around for this idea and you will be well on your way to understanding a specific verse or passage.
Secondly, remember that while the Bible was written as individual books, the Holy Spirit was the ultimate author. This means that you can look for similar ideas or passages elsewhere in the Bible to help you understand the passage in question. Cross references in your Bible, or websites which allow you to search for a specific phrase in the whole Bible (e.g. www.biblegateway.com) can be incredibly useful here.
Need more help? Try consulting a trusted and more mature Christian who you know will work hard to understand what the passage says. Work together on understanding the passage in its context, and try to avoid turning straight to a commentary or Google without doing the hard yards first.
Finally, if you're still baffled, remember that even Christians who have been studying the Bible for decades can have trouble understanding some passages, so it's okay to say that you've done the hard work and you still don't get it. Thankfully, the main message of the Bible, the truth about Jesus' birth, death and resurrection, is abundantly clear and understandable, so don't let a few tough passages put you off!