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It's Okay if We Don't Understand the Whole Bible


"The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them." Deuteronomy 29:29a (NLT)

Read the Bible? The whole thing? From cover to cover? Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy? I've heard they're hard. Do I have to read the Old Testament? Jesus wasn't even born then. What if I don't understand everything?

These concerns plagued me as I sensed God nudging me to read the entire Bible. I'd grown up in the church and attended Sunday School and mid-week Bible study every week. But the thought of reading the whole Bible intimidated me. My greatest fears were failure to finish and not being able to understand what I read.

To ease my anxiety, I went to my local Christian bookstore with this thought: If I'm going to read the whole Bible, certainly I need a new Bible.

I previewed various types of Bibles in an array of colors, styles and formats. It seemed like hours had passed. And just when I was about to give up, I pulled the One Year Chronological Bible from the shelf.

The format intrigued me. Short readings. An easy-to-follow daily plan. An attractive cover. The best part to me was knowing I would read the Bible in the order the events occurred. Yes! This is the Bible for me.

That year I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I stumbled some, but I also learned a lot. I learned Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy really are difficult to read. They are full of laws, actual numbers and more laws. But through those books and the rest of the Old Testament, I learned to really appreciate the wonderful sacrifice Jesus made for me (because there's no way any human on the planet could keep all of those laws). And, I learned it's okay if I don't understand the whole Bible.

What a relief! You see, I thought a Christian should be able to understand the Bible completely. And because I didn't, I thought something must be wrong with me.

Truth is, we're not meant to understand everything in the Bible the first time we read it. If we were, we could read it once and put it on our shelf.

The Bible is unlike any other book. Hebrews describes God's Word as living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It is meant to help us live life. Therefore, it's necessary to have it as a part of our daily living.

Our key verse says, "The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them." God reveals the truths He wants us to understand when He feels we are ready to understand and apply them.

When we don't understand something, it doesn't mean we are less of a Christian or not as smart as another. God, in His infinite wisdom, keeps some things hidden from us until just the right time.

With this truth in mind I set out to read the Bible one day at a time. Now many years later, I've read the Bible in its entirety year after year. Not because I'm a super Christian, but because my first reading of the entire Bible taught me that amazing truth ... and I wanted more.

What about you? Have you ever thought about reading the entire Bible but were too intimidated to get started? If so, now is your chance. Let's be women who read God's Book. I promise it will be a life-changer.

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us Your Word to help us through life. Give me the desire to read the Bible every day. Will You teach me Your truths and keep me from becoming overwhelmed with what I don't understand? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 141:11, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you." (NIV)

Psalm 119:105, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (KJV)

2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND: What intimidates you most about reading through the Bible? What good might come if you let God reveal more of His truth in your life?

Take those things to God in prayer and ask Him to help you.

© 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

One thought on “It's Okay if We Don't Understand the Whole Bible”

  • Pearl Nicassio

    I had tried to read it many years ago I didn't understand it and I couldn't see what importance it had on my life. At the time I was trying from the old testament reading who begot who and could not pronounce most names and thought I will never memorize any of this. Than I tried reading from opening the book in the old and new testament and after reading it thinking this book is so bad so horrific. How could God and people be so mean and controling. You see I'm an American Woman in my late forties now and have been widowed for many years now so I raised my children as a single mom, I also came from a line of strong women and when I read the bible I couldn't imagine how or why God and men were/are so bad to women. I followed God and my love for God, and my Savior are all positive and strong and personal and encouraging -I can do all things through God who strengthens me- but what I read in the bible was not so for the women. Until I went to a Womens Bible Study and asked question after question did I understand. I was trying to understand a book that I had no background or education of the date or location it derived from and I was crushed and hurt and I felt confused and lost. I needed to put the stories in there proper place and time to get the message I was to understand from the story.
    I go to Bible Studies and enjoy them very much.
    Thank you
    Pearl Nicassio

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