Desperate to understand the Bible?


Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
—2 Timothy 2:7

When we read and study God’s Word, the Bible, we need to employ our God-given mind to think hard AND to ask God to give us wisdom and understanding.  It is not EITHER/OR, it is BOTH/AND!  Here is a parable to help illustrate this:

“There were two exegetes who prayed as they entered the library to work on understanding a biblical text. One was a biblical scholar and the other a common lay preacher. The biblical scholar, on route to deep seclusion in the collection of recent monographs, prayed like this:

‘Lord, I thank you that I am not like other exegetes– the youth ministers, authors of popular devotional literature, mass production book publishers or even this lay preacher. I study the Scriptures for hours every day– in their original… and several other languages, not to mention my work in ancient history and historiography, literary theory, social-scientific research, the most important commentaries, the most recent monographs and dissertations, and the most scholarly periodicals!’

But the lay preacher, trying to remember how to use the complicated cataloging system to find an understandable commentary on a passage of Scripture, prayed thus,

‘God, please help me, a mere preacher, find something to help me understand Your word.’

I tell you, this person– who desperately needed it– received help from the Lord.”

–Craig G. Bartholomew and Robby Holt, “Prayer in/and the Drama of Redemption,” in Reading Luke: Interpretation, Reflection, Formation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 350.

Originally posted as “A Parable for Reflection” at Tolle Lege