Here’s a personal question: I’m new to studying the Bible. I never really knew what was in it for the longest of time. Well, as I read and listen and learn more, I find that there are certain things in the Bible that I can easily accept while others, I just think to myself “Yeah, I’m not convinced”. I want to be convinced, but there are just some things that I doubt way more than I believe. So my question is, is this normal? Is it alright to take time to accept all aspects of the Bible? Right now my belief in the Bible is kind of choppy, and I’m hoping that eventually it will become continuous. But it’s just not easy for me. Thanks for any and all advice
I can’t speak for others, but I think this is completely normal!
I think when we approach studying the Bible we have to be mindful of the delicate balance between understanding the text with an appropriate historical/cultural perspective and the authority it carries as God’s word. I think there are some principles that are easy to accept like you said but I also think there are some principles that are easy to misunderstand which most of the time in my experience leads to doubting the validity of the Bible.
A perfect example of this is the text regarding women in 1 Timothy (this is one that I struggle with!) My initial reaction to this text is exactly what you said… “I’m not convinced”. But instead of questioning the validity of the text, I question my own understanding of what I’ve read. I pray asking God to show me what he wants to teach me through the passage, what the text means, and what his heart is behind the text.
Something else I try to be mindful of when I’m reading passages that are difficult to understand and accept is what I want the passage to mean. My own wishes of what I hope the text means has definitely interfered with understanding what it’s really saying.
I don’t think there is any fault in recognizing that it will take time for you to accept the validity of the whole Bible. We’re working on this together! But the important thing is that we’re working (humbly) to understand, and accepting on faith, that God’s word in the Bible is true. If we choose to stop working on this and only accept bits and pieces of the Bible then there’s no end to which parts of Christianity we could adopt as our own.
I hope this helps! Are there any examples you can share of some places that you’re doubting?
DeAnna @DeAnna_Collins. What a great question and insight. You are absolutely correct that reading the bible can be challenging. @Alyssagerick has given you a great reply on how to approach the bible. Here is a great resource that can help you. The bible project. It gives you the highlight and general overview of each book.
I hope this helps. Let the Holy Spirit work through you.
Thank you for the advice and counsel. I’d say some of the things that are really hard for me are when the bible says things like “God hardened their hearts.” or things that say, “God turned away from them”. That is so challenging for me to read because I never heard that before. I was always told, “God never stops pursuing you.” I’d say some other things I struggle with are just doctrines that I have never heard of before, so I have to unlearn doctrines that I made up in my own head! For instance, I didn’t know Jesus is physically in heaven. I figured he sort of “changed dimensions” into some metaphysical new abstract entity once he made it up to heaven, so now I am trying to undo my wrong thinking that I had for so many years.
I literally wrote in my journal entry today, “Jesus, please help me unlearn all the things about you that are not true”! So I’m with you in “unlearning” ideas that we either came up with ourselves or that weren’t taught to us properly.
Concerning the passage about God hardening people’s hearts I refer you to Romans 9:14-21 which has Paul’s commentary on Exodus 33:19, Exodus 9:16, and Isiah 29:16. Something one of my pastors told me has stuck with me when it comes to passages like this. He said we can’t approach God like a “bug in a box” or like He was someone we could fully understand. It is humbling to know we have a finite understanding and Paul’s biting question “who are, a human being, to talk back to God?” has definitely put me in my place a few times!
But we can rest assured that God brings perfect unity to justice and love even if we can’t the full picture.
Thank you. I love the BibleProject… but I haven’t seen these videos yet. I look forward to watching them!
DeAnna, I agree with @Alyssagerick and @Danageze. I would add only that trying to understand everything that catches your eye on the first pass will only lead to frustration. It is important to get the big picture, so focus on reading the Bible with a question in mind to help you to keep your focus. “What does God want me to learn today?” is a great starter. Other questions that have helped me are:
- What does this say about God?
- How can I apply this in my walk today?
- What do I need to confess?
- What treasure is hidden here?
I continue to see new things in each passage that I read no matter how many times I have read it. God will give you insight into your questions if you step back and let him do the work for you.
If you haven’t done so already, you should also tune into the Ask Away Podcast; there they discuss hard questions (some dealing with hard passages in the Bible, some that are just tough issues). They give some good insights into these questions (though I don’t think they have covered ‘hardening hearts’ yet).
Thank you! I’ll look into that
Dear deAnna, bless your heart as you seek understanding of God’s Word as a whole. It’s a pretty big book you know and will take a lifetime of learning.
You say you want to be convinced. You say you are hoping your belief will become continuous.
And that is the right path to be on. The Word of God speaks about God and about His plan for redemption and this comes through Jesus the Messiah. He is our treasure. So when you seek for Jesus in the Bible with an open heart to receive what it is speaking about in each passage, then your understanding will be opened up a little bit at a time. Your understanding needs a foundation of truth which is what you are putting together now. Upon that foundation more truth will be built.
Proverbs chapter 2 beginning with verse 2 say this about wisdom. (The wisdom of knowing God’s truth.) “Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
and search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
and discover the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives WISDOM;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
This can be your prayer when you read the Bible.
Learning to trust, one step at a time, is not unusual.
DeAnna, have you surrendered your heart and life to the God of the Bible? To Jesus your Saviour?
Because that’s the beginning of wisdom.
God Bless you!!
Thank you so much for the encouragement as well as bible verses. This is so helpful!
I struggle knowing if I have or have not surrendered my heart because I think to myself, “If I don’t believe the whole Bible then I must not be trusting Jesus. And I struggle with the fear of going to hell a lot, so then I think to myself, I must not have accepted Jesus otherwise I wouldn’t be scared anymore.” I don’t know because I don’t know what faith is really supposed to feel like or be like in my life, and heart, and mind. But, I’m trying to persist to get to that 100% confidence level.
Thank you again, for the bible verse, I loved it!
Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
Hey @DeAnna_Collins, I love your heart in this. There have been some amazing things shared of which I’m very thankful and have been able to learn a lot myself, but If I can encourage you at all it would be to keep seeking to know God and understanding His word more. Do remember there are things all of us don’t understand and might never fully understand until the glorious eternity with Him. It is the glory of God to conceal some of those things from our eyes that we might learn to deepened upon Him more! But it is the honor of Kings to search out a matter. May your pursuit of truth bring you closer to Christ Himself!
God Bless you for your honest questioning DeAnna_Collins ,
Just know that the Bible presents us with a journey, and every journey has its peaks & valleys , rough patches and smooth roads .
Jesus’s own disciples struggled in this same way , " This is a hard saying, who can know it " .
" after the cross the crown ? " Really?
The important thing is that you have undertaken the journey and just like it was with His disciples though you don’t fully understand or believe certain things it is Christ who has never known retreat that leads you on this journey with His clear vision of coming events and the vision of a seer.
God Bless You On The Journey +
" Behold we go up to Jerusalem" ( Luke 18:31 )
DeAnna, Thank you for your honesty about what you understand, what you know and what you believe.
You don’t have to “know” the whole Bible before your life is surrendered to Jesus. But here are some steps that help you to get there, if indeed you have already come to that place or not. Seek out Jesus’ heart as you consider these things to see if you have Jesus as your Saviour.
Do you believe that Jesus is God the Son? The Creator of all things.
Here is what Colossians 1, beginning with verse 13 says. This is addressed to believers.
For He (Jesus) rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation. (Meaning highest rank above all creation.)
For by Him all things were created,
both in the heavens and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities –
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
If you read John chapter One, it also speaks of the fact that Jesus (named the Word) is creator also.
1 John 1:1-4 also speaks of Jesus and this apostles eye witness account of Him.
When I ask you if you believe - I don’t mean do you fully understand. Understanding takes time as you search out the Bible.
Do you believe that Jesus came in the flesh to take your sin upon Himself and take the punishment for it? He does not want you to suffer eternal separation from Him because you have sinned. and we all have sinned. Jesus loves you too much! He wants you to share in His glory!! Amazing, I know, but true and this is my hope. Can be yours as well.
Do you believe Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again and will return to make all things right? You don’t have to fully understand all of this, but ask Jesus to search your heart and speak truth into your heart.
When you believe this, truly with the desire to know Him more, you can ask for forgiveness and tell Him that you want to give your life and your heart to Him. And when you do – you are His!!
Your sins are forgiven – past, present and future. He will go with you through all the trials of your life and will be with you at the end of your life to bring you to heaven with Him.
No more fear!
God Bless you DeAnnna
DeAnna, there is absolutely nothing unusual about not understanding and doubting the Bible, and I am sure much of it is hard to swallow when you are first reading through it. I grew up in a Christian home and always just believed everything the Bible said because my nature is naturally trusting, but I often read things that confuse me so much and leave me wondering if we will ever understand these things! I love Connect because there are people that have such different perspectives and knowledge which really helps with any questions you may have about the Bible’s teaching. I mean to peruse some study in the understanding of history and cultural context of Bible times that will help me to understand better what it’s all about. Maybe you would enjoy something of that nature?
In the meantime, pray for wisdom and patience as you work through trying to understand God’s word. There is a lot to take in that’s for sure! God bless you as you seek to know the truth!
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
Matthew 7:7-11 KJV