As we read through the Bible, we all run into passages that we don’t understand. Here are some ways to deal with the confusion.
1. Pray – Ask God to help you understand the part you’re stuck on. As you pray, your thoughts on the passage may become more clear. Keep on praying as you try these other steps.
2. Repeat – Read the passage again. Pray some more. Read the passage out loud. Sometimes in successive readings and in hearing yourself read, clarity comes.
3. Write – Jot down your questions and expand on what you’re currently thinking about them. As you write, you may see the passage differently.
4. Compare – Read the same passage in other translations and versions of the Bible. I find the less literal translations especially helpful for this—the Message, the New Living Translation, for example. Most of the versions are online. Try www.biblegateway.com for this.
5. Follow – Some Bibles have cross-references to other Bible verses with similar content. Sometimes following these pointers will bring further insight.
6. Read – Commentaries are tremendously helpful for understanding. Study Bibles (like these) have commentary in the footnotes. There are tons of commentaries online on sites like www.biblegateway.com, www.biblehub.com, www.biblestudytools.com.
7. Ask – Talk to other Christians about the passage. This is the beauty of Bible study groups.
8. Wait – Sometimes it takes time for us to see what God’s revealing. If the answer to your questions about this passage don’t come today, keep seeking answers and trust that they will come. I have had answers come weeks later through a song, a sermon, a conversation, or reading, often when I least expected.
These are some steps that have helped me. What would you add to this?
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
May God bless your seeking as you journey through his word!