Understanding the Bible can at times be challenging. We find many things in the Bible to be written in a historical perspective. Bible history has time and again been verified with the history of old writings as well as archeological proof. History, however, is not the only presentation in the scriptures. Writings also include prophecy, parables, and apocalyptic language (signs and symbols). It can be very challenging to some readers to grasp what is being said or meant in particular passages and therefore, much falsehood and many misinterpretations can result in what is believed and shared with others. As we begin these thoughts today, let us start with these certainties:
God does not lie.
- Numbers 23:19- God is not a man, that He should lie. Nor a son of man that He should repent. Has His said, and will not He not do?
- 1 Samuel 15:29- And the Strength of Israel will not lie or relent, for He is not a man that he should relent.
- Hebrews 6:18- That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
All scriptures are inspired.
- 2 Timothy 3:16- All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- 2 Peter 1:20-21- Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
God will never lie or try to trick regarding His word. It is TRUTH. We can also understand that all scripture is given by His inspiration. No man came up with what is found within the Bible. For that matter no man could have. It is impossible for man to develop the divine revelation that was presented throughout time to those that God spoke to and be 100% accurate. The conclusion must be that there is harmony within the Biblical text. This is true even when it may appear that a conflict exists. It is my suggestion that careful study is given in those times and conclusions be sought that do not compromise the word of God or bring us to the conclusion that God is a liar.
An example of such case would be as follows. In Genesis 2: 19, Moses states, “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name”. Some have read this verse and stated that God does not know everything because He had to see what Adam would name the animals. However, Isaiah 46:9-10 states, “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand”. Others verses that would include God as being all knowing are Psalms 139:1-4; Job 37:16; Hebrews 4:13. All verses relating to a given topic must be considered in understanding the word of God, who He is and how He is conveyed to the reader. This verse cannot serve as proof that God is not all knowing because it conflicts with other scriptures. The fact that God is all knowing allows Him to send prophecy throughout the Bible.
The Old Testament is full of prophecies concerning people and places. Some of the greatest prophecies are regarding the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God used prophets to reveal His plan for mans salvation a little a time throughout the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 18:15-18, a great prophet is spoken of that will be like Moses. He would be raised up from the Israelites and speak the word of God. This great prophet that would be like Moses, of course, is Christ. Moses goes on to warn about false prophets in this passage. Only God can give men the information to speak as a prophet. His word will come to be true. The prophecies of Jesus all came true. This includes His time on earth doing the will of the Father as a teacher.
Jesus frequently used parables in His teaching. These lessons give us religious principles and moral attitudes. Jesus often said one thing is like another. These parables are often referred to as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus was asked why He spoke in parables in Matthew’s account of the Gospel. In short, in Matthew 13:10-16, Jesus explains that in seeing they do not see and in hearing they do not hear. Jesus needed them to understand with their hearts and turn. Even with eyes to see and ears to hear, those that heard were unwilling to understand the deeper meaning that involved their own hearts. Those that would have understood began to gain knowledge into the love of God, Jesus, and the kingdom.
Great misunderstandings come from the apocalyptic writings. These writings are mostly found in the Revelation, regarding those things which shortly must come to pass, Revelation 1:1. Apocalyptic writings are also found in Daniel and Ezekiel. In depth study that includes an understanding of the churches, the region, the time of writing and the government are necessary for appropriate interpretation in the Revelation. Most importantly, an understanding of the signs, symbols and beasts mentioned in this great book are a must if one is to come to an understanding of the word of God. In studying apocalyptic writing, it is still important to keep the unity of the Bible in mind. The Bible will not contradict itself because God does not lie. Therefore, if a conclusion or interpretation is met regarding the text from the revelation that does not coincide with truth in other scripture, the conclusion or interpretation is wrong. The Bible will not disagree in message. A good way to understand what is more difficult is to understand what is less difficult. Parts of Revelation are difficult to understand. However, better interpretation of Revelation can come from verses that are easier to understand knowing that any interpretation will not contradict itself. It is my prayer that you are spending time studying your Bible. If you are not studying, set time each day to better understand the word of God. In Him rests our hope of salvation through Jesus Christ. He is our promise of eternal life in heaven one day. Rest assured, the Bible is the word of God and it was given to us by inspired men. The study of His word will prepare us for anything that we may face in life. Timothy 2:15 states, “Be diligent to present yourself approved