We are three weeks into our SOAP readings and already we have covered so much ground. There will be no-one who hasn’t, during that time, come across something they didn’t understand. So what do we do with these bits?
Here are a few thoughts:
1. Accept there will always be things you don’t understand
We need to come to God’s Word humbly accepting that there are things that we will not understand. To understand everything would make us greater than God. Clearly that’s not the case! We need to remember that he is in heaven and we are on earth. The Bible itself recognizes that some parts are hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16).
2. Focus on living and applying what you do understand
The problem with the Bible actually is not the things we don’t understand but rather the things that we do. Mark Twain put it like this:
It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
He’s right. The biggest challenge we all face is not trying to understand some part of the Bible that still seems obscure to us but living and obeying all the parts that are very obvious and easy to understand. GK Chesterton famously put it like this:
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.
In my experience it is a very brilliant tactic of the enemy to keep us focussed on the bits of the Bible that we don’t understand and therefore side-step the challenge of truly living the parts that we do. Our unanswered questions are important and there is a place for them but so very quickly they become a substitute (an excuse?) for not giving a 100% effort in living out what we do understand. Since the start of this series I have had several requests asking for help to understand something in the Bible. I welcome them. Please keep them coming. But as yet no-one has come asking for help to put into practice the parts of the Bible they do understand. It would be easy for us to set up special groups and special meetings designed to answer the questions we don’t understand. We would certainly be able to help each other and some questions would be answered. The problem though is that many questions would remain unanswered and, more importantly, we would probably become even more distracted from living all the bits that, quite frankly, are perfectly clear.
3. Explore answers to your unanswered questions
I am not suggesting it is wrong to explore and search for answers. It is very proper. If the Bible is true it will stand up to the most rigorous of enquiry. And it does. So go ahead and explore. Here are a few immediate ways:
- Place your question on our facebook page
- Email the question to us directly or through our contact page
- Talk with your Small Group who can guide you
Maybe too, if there is demand, we can find some time when I will answer some of the most common questions publicly.
Please remember though:
- Truly living the bits we do understand needs to be the dominant beat of our lives
- Let’s not expect God to reveal more to us when we are not handling well what he has already revealed to us
- Believe and pray that God will reveal to you what you need to know when you need to know it.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things in Your law. Psalm 119:18