In many ways, the Bible is a straightforward book that follows a straightforward story about God reaching down to His creation. But portions of the Bible are confusing or even potentially offensive to some people, and so many different interpretations or explanations abound that one can drown in all the information. And the ever-ongoing search for logical, straightforward answers all too often forgets that for many people, these questions are more than just logical problems. The emotional dimension of asking hard questions about the Bible is just as challenging as trying to find a cohesive answer, if not more so.
Let’s face it: the Bible can be a challenging book to read. Without the immediate benefit of the original cultures or languages in which the Bible was written, and with our ever-present biases from our own religious upbringings, our perspectives can be warped. This can lead to one of two traps. First, it’s possible that some of our hard questions simply come from a misunderstanding that further study will eventually help us realize. On the other hand, we might try to tell ourselves (or others) that asking tough questions is a sign of weak faith and therefore to be avoided. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap! Here is one approach to help you find peace and answers to the tough questions.
No one understands the Bible perfectly, and many will have hard questions about what it truly says or means. Are you one of them? Here’s one way to approach your questions. #ORBC #biblestudy Click To Tweet
Understand Where These Questions Are Coming From
Contrary to what some say, questions about Christianity or the Bible don’t always come from heavy skepticism or attempts to discredit the Bible. Plenty of people are just confused. Some who have grown up in the church are struggling to reconcile what they hear in church with what they see elsewhere, and some who didn’t grow up in church simply don’t understand what the Bible teaches. It’s very common for questions to come from a place of sincerity. People want answers.
Of course, you know your motives better than anyone. Examine your thoughts and questions to see if you’re honestly seeking answers or not. Don’t let anyone assign a motive to you–discover and determine your motive for yourself.
Read Commentaries in Moderation
Bible commentaries, sermons, books, and other resources for Christians can be very helpful in your study. But be careful about relying on them for the answers to everything. At the end of the day, the only ultimate source of truth is the Bible. People can try to interpret the Bible as best they can and teach others their ideas, but it’s important to remember that the ideas of man are indeed just interpretations. Different people will have different ideas of what a particular verse means, and it’s still possible that they’re all wrong.
In other words, use commentaries and Bible study materials as they should be used–as supplemental tools. Study the Bible deeply through researching the original translations and the culture in which it was written, not by listening to someone else constantly tell you what a verse means. Let the Holy Spirit teach you instead.
Pro Tip: Recorded sermons and other Christian resources are great for supplemental Bible study, but they shouldn’t be your primary way of learning about the Bible. Spend time reading it for yourself, without anyone telling you what it means.
Spend Time with the Author of the Bible
Anyone who’s published an especially popular book or book series can expect to hear a lot of questions about it, ranging from details that didn’t make it in to explaining cryptic or confusing passages. For many authors, though the volume of questions may seem overwhelming, this is a sign that people enjoyed their book and are invested enough to want to learn more. It’s flattering!
As the Author of the Bible, God expects and welcomes questions from His readers. While not every question will be answered to your satisfaction (as evidenced by the centuries-long debate over original sin), there’s no better way to learn more about a book than to spend time with its Author. Talk to God and ask Him to help you understand the truth in the Bible and find peace and answers to your questions.
Working on Your Relationship with God
God never intended for us to follow Him blindly and never ask questions. Those are the characteristics of a slave or a robot, not a child of God who is encouraged to grow and mature. When you find yourself struggling with hard questions about the Bible, remember that God is patient and will help you and wait for you as you search for the truth. Even if you can’t find the answer to every question, He will continue to teach you.
Join the conversation to talk with fellow believers about how they approached answering the tough questions.