For many people, the Bible seems to be a closed book, concealing its message within layers of mystery. Many teachers and writers have claimed to unravel the mysteries of the Bible, yet the teachings they have gleaned from the Bible are so varied and contradictory that it seems it must be possible to find support for any opinion or idea from the Bible.
Must we then conclude that the Bible is contradictory and unreliable? Or is there a key for unlocking the mysteries of the Bible that many have not found?
There have been many teachers over the centuries who have claimed to have found such a key. In most cases, they have taken verses out of context and put them together in strange and wonderful ways to support their own ideas. We must beware of reading our own ideas into the Bible. If we want to discern the meaning of a passage of Scripture we must read it in its context and in relation to the rest of the Bible. It can be helpful to study the meaning of the original Greek or Hebrew words. But we must be cautious that we do not develop confidence in our own interpretive skills. All systems of interpretation must be suspect, for they originate from the mind of man, not the mind of God.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”, (1 Corinthians 2:14).
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth”, (John 16:12, 13a).
Here is the key of knowledge, which opens the way into all the heavenly mysteries of the Bible. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”, (John 3:3). We must cease from our own wisdom (Proverbs 23:40), forsake our own way, so that we may gain a new and spiritual life.
When we realize that our own wisdom and self-will have brought us only confusion, trouble and condemnation; and that there is only One who can deliver us, we have caught our first glimpse of the key of knowledge. But in order to lay hold of the key we must forsake all that we had formerly taken to be our strength and defence, commit ourselves completely into the care and keeping of the Saviour who has loved us and shed His blood for us, and receive from Him a new life.
Our aim in studying the Bible should not be to impress others with our knowledge, or to sharpen our debating skills. Our purpose should be to discover God’s will for our own lives. The Bible does contain the answers to the great questions of life. We do not need great knowledge or skill to find them. The way of holiness is plain enough that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isaiah 35:8).
The Bible is a unique book. There is more to it than even the greatest human mind could hope to comprehend in a lifetime. Yet it comes down to the level of little children, who love to hear its stories over and over. Whatever our age, whatever our need, the Bible has something to say to us. As we go on through life, we will constantly find the Bible speaking to us in new and wonderful ways.
The Bible is a fountain of life to those who come to it with open and humble hearts. It is a lamp for the feet of Christian pilgrims to bring them safely to the eternal shore. We need not be disturbed if we do not understand everything we read in it. Perhaps it was meant for someone else, at another time or another place. Perhaps the meaning of this passage is being withheld from us until we really need it. However, nothing that we need right now will be hidden from us, if we are willing to accept it.