Tagged: Progressive Revelation
March 28, 2020 at 10:42 am #59042Rebecca A.Moderator
I am a very detail-oriented person. This can be a helpful tool at times, or it can just become a distraction. One reason I didn’t do a lot of Bible reading when I was younger is because I felt like the Bible was too hard to understand. I think a big portion of my problem was that I never took a step back from the details that confused me and continued reading to see the overall picture and context. I would just stop reading when I didn’t understand a few details of a story or once I came across a verse or concept that seemed beyond my level of comprehension.
Obviously, this is not the right mindset to have toward reading, you will never learn or grow that way. Yes, the Bible is a large book and there are things that are hard to understand. However, this does not mean we should just give up on trying to understand it. I have learned that when I stop worrying initially about the details and continue reading past those “hard to understand” verses or passages, the next few verses or chapters will further explain those things that I did not understand. This is because of God’s progressive revelation. The Bible was written over a long period of time. This requires that we continue reading past difficult passages if we want to understand why those things were said in the first place.
We have all been in a situation where we are sharing a story with someone and they keep asking questions about the story before we are finished sharing all of the details. Of course, the natural response to the one interrupting is, “just wait until I finish the story and then ask questions if you have them”. Interrupting and asking questions is a tendency people also take into Bible reading, I know I am guilty of doing this. I want to understand right away what I have just read and I cannot move on until I do. This is simply not practical. In conversation you must listen until the end in order to know what someone is trying to communicate. Of course, you might have additional questions afterward and that is fine, but you should at least hear them out first and chances are they would have answered most of your questions already.
The same mindset needs to be applied to Bible reading. Don’t stop halfway through a story because it is hard to understand. Once you have read through the passage in its entirety then write down any additional questions you have regarding what you just read. This is where study comes in. Now that you have the full picture of the text, take those questions and go back and study the details. Having the full picture will help answer so many of the questions you had concerning the details of the text.
It takes patience to continue even when you have a question that you feel like needs an answer right away. That patience will pay off. When you keep reading and ask questions later you will find that you comprehend more than you initially thought you could. This may seem like common sense. But people tend to approach the Bible with the mindset of just reading whatever verses pop out to them when they randomly open their Bible. Even though you might learn something from that, the chances of misinterpreting what you read are much higher because the greater context is often not considered.
My encouragement to you if you struggle with Bible reading is, just keep reading. Keep reading past words and phrases that you do not understand. Write down your questions as you read if you need to and see if those questions are answered by the time you finish reading the passage. If there are questions that were not answered take the time to go back and study them while considering the full story. I hope you will find as I have that you can understand more than you think. Yes, reading and Bible study is time consuming and it takes work, but the concepts of how to read are simple, just apply those and see how much you will learn and grow in your understanding!
Written By: Rebecca
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Progressive Revelation Part 2- Keep Reading
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