The Bible is certainly not a written record of perfect people. In fact, it’s just the opposite. God’s word points out in painful detail the Bible characters who made mistakes. This is just one of the ways (there are many others) by which we can know that the Bible had to have originated from the mind of God, and not from the mind of man (2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for [b]rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man or woman of God may be [c]fully capable, equipped for every good work.).
We live in a society that seeks to “interpret” everything. When the President or some other important official makes a statement, news commentators are quick to point out what was said and what wasn’t said. Did he mean this or did he mean that? The analysis is endless. Many take words that were said, rip them out of their context, and “sound bite” them giving them an entirely different meaning than when they were originally uttered. And this is, more or less, an accepted practice among some because of the failure of many to believe that there is such a thing as truth. If there is no truth, then the words that I say can mean anything that you want them to mean and what you say can mean anything that I want it to mean and we just end up believing what we want to believe regarding someone else’s statements without ever having considered the possibility that someone might have meant something different than what we thought they meant.
Psalm 119:34 states, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” There are two common reasons why man is unwilling to understand the Bible: (1) “self-satisfaction” and (2) “self-conceit.” This is the way a selfish young man often loves a young lady. He loves her for only what pleasure she brings to him – thus really loving himself, not her. We must not allow our determination to seek the truth deteriorate into the plight expressed in the words, “the truth as I see it.” Let us ask ourselves the following questions regarding the truth of God’s word:
One of the most prevalent causes of misunderstanding the Bible is that the student fails to approach the Bible with the “right attitude.” In this way, God’s method of teaching him the truth is thwarted from the very beginning. This is the very problem Jesus faced as He began His ministry among men. After His famous parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9), the disciples asked why He had used this method (Matthew 13:10). The reply of Jesus indicated that the parable method was used so that only those who possessed the wholesome, “willing” attitude to know and understand what He said would actually understand it (Matthew 13:12). Those whose attitudes were wrong in any way would see, but “see not”, and hear, but “hear not”, thus they would not “understand” (Matthew 13:13). Is this not the reason why many people of Jesus’ own nation never understood God’s great truth as revealed by His Son in person?
With the above thoughts in mind, it is highly important that we prepare ourselves with the proper “attitudes” as we approach the Bible for study. The following attitudes are “essential” as we study God’s word: