Friday, January 22, 2010

The Bible? - I don't get it!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 8:1-12

TO CHEW ON: “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense and helped them to understand the reading.” Nehemiah 8:8

Have you ever heard people say they don't understand the Bible? They read it and can understand the words but it doesn’t make sense?

In our reading today, Nehemiah had completed the task of seeing to the people’s physical safety by rebuilding the Jerusalem wall. Now he called an assembly to address another problem – the people’s ignorance of God’s law. He knew that unless they experienced a heart change, they would soon find themselves right back where they had come from.

The problem was the people’s hearts were hard and their spiritual senses dull. They needed help to understand what was read. Nehemiah used a baker’s dozen of men (with impossible-to-pronounce names – vs. 7) and the Levites to help with this. They interspersed the reading with explanation. And what a difference! Now the hearers understood and responded, even with emotion and tears.

What do we do to help us understand the Bible? There are many aids at our fingertips: dictionaries, concordances, commentaries, books, messages at church and on TV, podcasts and blog posts online. But beyond all these, we need divine help. God the Holy Spirit is the One who helps us understand what we read and how to apply it to our lives.

Next time you’re confused about what the Bible means, use the helps listed above, but also ask for God’s help to give you understanding at the deepest level.

PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, please help me understand the Bible and how to put it into action in my life.

MORE: understand = bin (bean). It means to understand, discern, perceive, grasp, consider, regard, be perceptive, have insight.

Check out these places this word is used in the Bible to ‘bin’ its facets of meaning (links are to the Amplified Bible):

  • Psalm 92:5-7: A person who denies God’s doesn’t ‘get’ His greatness.
  • Proverbs 24:11-12: God’s knowledge of us will lead to complete fairness at judgment.
  • Isaiah 40:21: The knowledge that we are creatures God has created is instinctive.
  • Daniel 10:12: An angel reassures Daniel that from the moment he “set his heart to understand” help was on its way.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting footnote from the NIV: Nehemiah 8:8 (New International Version)

    8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear [a] and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.

    Nehemiah 8:8 Or God, translating it



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