Scripture, Uncategorized

When the Bible is Hard to Understand

How should we think about the tough passages?

John 6:60

Recently, I watched a video teaching that gave a very good explanation of a passage of Scripture that’s very hard to understand. (You can watch it here.)

I’d like to share a thought process I had after watching that. Maybe it will be helpful to more than just me.

[insert thought bubbles]

I’m so glad to finally understand this passage. It’s such a hard one! 

Although I guess there are still some things that aren’t totally clear. 

I wonder why it’s so hard. Surely God could have written it more clearly. Maybe Paul was just clumsy with the way he said it? [Come on, Paul!]

No, wait, that doesn’t sound right. God is the true author, He could easily have had Paul say that differently if He’d wanted.

So, then, why is it so hard?

[remembers what Jesus said about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, and how that made a bunch of people – many of His disciples, even – stop following Him. (John 6:26-69)]

Oh. Right. So Jesus did that, too. So it’s purposeful! Jesus obviously said it that way on purpose; it’s not like He wasn’t aware of how people would take that, of course He was. And even the twelve didn’t understand it when He said it. But they knew Him well enough and trusted Him enough and understood who He was enough that they stayed with Him, even though that statement was hard to understand. (“Where else would we go?” Jn 6:68-69)

So maybe this is the same kind of thing. Maybe the hard-to-understand passages are part of what gives us the opportunity to exercise our faith, to choose to keep following Jesus even when something sounds super confusing, super hard; to choose to trust Him with what we don’t understand. Maybe they’re part of the sifting process – revealing what our hearts want. Do we want to have everything easy? Do we demand that everything be the way that makes the most sense to us and our preferences? Do we reject the sayings of God that we don’t understand, or that seem hard? Do we want understanding more than we want to please God, to follow Christ; more than we want God Himself?

It was a good reminder to me that I still have arrogant thoughts (like, that God should have written things more clearly in His Word…yikes), and need to identify those, reject them, and remember that God is purposeful and good in all He does. Even when it’s hard for us.

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