UNDERSTANDING THE WORD
Deepika Emmanuel Sagar
“And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone”’” (Lk.4:4).
All of us, without exception, must have come across instances of being unable to fully grasp what is preached from the Bible and failing to relate to its message. What could be the reason for this?
Well, there are several reasons for failure to understand the message or to make much sense of out of it, for which both the preacher and the audience could be responsible. The preacher’s inability to effectively communicate the message, or his peculiar style of preaching, our mind-set during delivery of the message, a faulty sound system, short span of attention, etc., are some of the barriers to understand God’s word correctly.
When we hear God’s word with a ‘closed’ mind, or read it in a casual or ritualistic manner, we fail to appreciate the truth it communicates. The key to removing every barrier between the communicator and the listener (both being imperfect humans) is for them to bear in mind the importance of earnest prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Secondly, whether we are communicators or listeners, we need to study God’s word with an attitude of faith and expectancy – remembering that the One who is teaching and speaking to us is none other than God Himself (Rom.10:17)! If we depend on our own wisdom and intellect to understand God’s word, we are bound to miss out on God’s plan and purpose for our lives, and we will continue walking in spiritual and moral darkness. This is most tragic!
Since we are uniquely created by God in His image, He understands each one of us and the precise level of our understanding. He also gives us the wisdom to put into practice the truths we learn from His word. The Lord says in John 15:5, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” It is only as we remain connected to the divine Author of the Bible that we get the spiritual nourishment and bear the fruit that He desires to see in our lives – the sweet fruit of Christ-likeness.
Commune With God
Many Christians love to talk about the Bible, read a daily devotional, learn biblical history, attend Bible conferences, research and read books based on the Bible, but when it comes to communing with God and meditating on His word, their enthusiasm diminishes! No wonder their relationship with the divine Author of the Bible is lukewarm.
A daily devotional might prepare us for a day, but the word of God will prepare us for this life and for the life to come. I am not minimising the importance of Bible teachers, reading books on the Bible and attending Christian conferences; while they do have their place of importance, they are not a substitute for setting apart a quiet and unhurried time with God and His word. In his encouraging letter to the believers of his day, the apostle John wrote, “As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in Him” (1Jn. 2:27).
Since God communicates with us through the Bible, so that we know and do His will, let these words sink deep into our hearts, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2Tim.3:14-17). “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2Tim.2:15).