The comment read, “I honestly don’t think I’m smart enough to understand the Bible,” (reddit-r/Christianity post). I have heard people say that they have difficulty understanding the bible, but this comment got my attention today.
While most of the responding comments were well intentioned and several were fairly helpful, the most recent one posted read, “Just keep on reading. You’ll get the hang of it. Just like riding a bike.” Seriously?
I’m not sure how “keep on reading,” will help anyone who feels they aren’t smart enough to understand the Bible. That said, allow me to move on ahead and let’s see if we can help people who may feel this way.
In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,” (Eph. 4:11).
Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel, out of Egypt,” (Exo. 3:11). We can equate Moses’ reply to God, with the comment made by this reddit user.
Neither feels that they’re up to the task. In fact, Moses pleaded with God not to have to do what God was asking. Telling this reddit user to pray about it, while we certainly should, may not resound with him well.
Although we obviously do not have answers to so much and suggest people pray about it, won’t necessarily help anyone; that is until they are in a place where they do start praying about it.
Telling people to pray about it is akin to making comments like get over it, man up, deal with it, etc. Telling people to pray about it needs to stop being our first and automatic response.
To be simply straight forward, many people just don’t have a fire burning within them to study the word of God for themselves. I cannot say this is a bad thing. God didn’t send me into the world to judge others.
I always was a learner. Too bad I couldn’t have been one in school. Ha. I am now a minister and a teacher of God’s word. Although many are, I am not content to simply listen to others tell me what God has to say.
If I hear or see something that peaks my interest, I will at first availability, search the Scriptures for myself. For me, it is vitally important that I learn it for myself and not rely on someone else to establish my opinion for me.
God expects me to share His gospel not mine. There will always be someone out there accusingly saying that it is your interpretation, that you are giving them.
Therefore, I don’t take it lightly when people question the Bible or tell me that they have difficulty understanding it. I must do my best to get it straight. This is not only for their benefit, but it keeps me grounded in God’s truth.
There are reasons for having more pews than pulpits. There is a reason that there are more parishioners than priests and ministers and intelligence has nothing to do with it.
God did not bless me with an inquiring mind about mathematics. He gave that to others such as Albert Einstein. God did not bless me with a great memory. He gave that to people such as Alex Mullen, 3-time world champion of memory competitions.
Many people can toss Bible verses off their lips faster than a speeding bullet. I was not blessed with that ability. I pray day in and day out for God to increase my memory for His word; for God to write His word across my heart. I must work not twice, but three times as hard to memorize a Bible verse.
Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,” (Rom. 12:4). Not everyone is called to be a minister. While many might be called to be a teacher, they are not all called to teach the same thing.
Paul continued; writing, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving, or he who teaches, in his teaching,” (Rom. 12:6-7).
Other people might beat themselves up for not being good at mathematics, I never have. It is a wonderful thing however, when one cannot only discern their gift, or calling, but when they can use it; for the benefit of others.
To draw this to a point of closing, let me speak about commentaries written by the church fathers, priests, and ministers over the past three thousand years. Commentaries are extremely helpful to people trying to understand the Bible. Even seasoned pastors and priests make use of them and do so almost daily.
I have commentaries written by a few different people. I rarely use one alone. We must give due respect to commentaries written by faithful men and women of God. We have nearly three thousand years of biblical commentaries, written by people far smarter than we.
Some even knew our Lord Jesus as He walked this earth. Some personally knew His disciples, such as Polycarp of Smyrna. While it is of the utmost importance that we search thing for ourselves, (1 Thes. 5:21), God indeed has provided us with myriad people to help us along our journey, as we may need.
One popular commentary series was written by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. His series is called, the Be Series. In my early days of Biblical studies, the very first commentary I read of his, gave me cause to thank God for him.
It’s not at all about intelligence. It’s all about God and His plans for us. Go ahead and dive into the Bible. But don’t be afraid to ask questions or to consult those with more training and experience.