Beginning to Understand the Bible After 20 Years
Never Too Late
Something that is prevalent, but mostly unspoken, is whether there are opportunities for people to begin to learn how to read and understand the Bible, as an adult. Honestly, are adults expected to join the 5 years olds in Sunday School to begin to learn the basics, or is there an actual way to respectfully give the Bible a chance? Well, spoiler alert, it’s not too late to understand the Scriptures; however, there are four important things that you may want to think about before you dive into Genesis, or any of the other 65 books of the Bible. Helpful things to think about first include: what is your purpose in reading the Bible; secondly, why do you think the Bible was given to believers; and thirdly, what kind of mindset is ideal for approaching the Bible? The first topic refers to what may have sparked your interest, what do you expect to get out of understanding it, and what questions about it do you have? The second question is helpful in seeing whether your expectations are going to be met. This last question may be the most important, because if you are going to invest some time into the Bible, you likely want to be able to recognize when there is a result as well.
Knowing the purpose of something is so essential in understanding anything, especially when it comes to why you would want to understand the Bible. The reason is, the Bible is the most sold, stolen, and translated book in history, and so the reason why people pick it up varies. Some use it for literature analyses, and others to understand questions that are spiritual. Honestly, the reason a person sparks an interest in the Bible does not matter as much as the reason that a person now wants to understand what they are reading. Since it is a holy text, it should be taken rather seriously, which is actually for the reader’s benefit. For example, if a student is placed into an Ivy League University without a goal in mind, and without the worry of tuition, they may not react very appreciatively to this situation. They may not complete the assignments on time because they do not see that there are so few people who get such an opportunity. They may even skip classes, and take the opportunity of education for granted. It would be a shame that they could have potentially grown so much, and accomplished great things if they had just understood the purpose of education, and how rare it is to receive an elite opportunity. Therefore, it is their loss that they did not earnestly make an attempt to do well. With the Bible, the results are more significant; therefore, it is important to think about what you expect to get as a result of understanding the Bible.
Origin of a Disconnect
Given that there are many reasons for someone to begin to read the Bible, there are now many interpretations, and responses as well. This may be caused by the lack of understanding why God authored these Scriptures, and worked to make sure we could now access them with such ease. Though the Bible is accessible to obtain, it is not a text that can be easily understood. Something that is helpful to initially understand when looking at the Bible, like you would approach a puzzle, is to first see the big picture, so that the individual pieces make much more sense. You will also be able to really see how things connect if you first consider why the Bible was given. The answers can even be seen within the first several chapters of the Bible, when the story of Adam and Eve is described. This is the time in which sin entered the world, and God could no longer contend with mankind, and so there was now this disconnection between the two entities. With the Scriptures, God is offering a way to return to Him, and though this sounds so simple, the reality has proven to be a long and arduous process towards that goal. The Scriptures clarify that it is through the proper understanding of the Word that this can be accomplished, which offers the first step in fulfilling the purpose of the Bible.
When it comes to approaching the Bible, please feel welcome! It is truly meant for people to learn and grow from, but of course that is easier said than done. In order to be able to learn, you can join a group of people who also want to learn the basics and then some, and due to the pandemic, there are more online groups than ever before.
Additionally, if you want to really be able to grow from this experience and use your time well, it is so helpful to be able to think of questions that you have and ask them! Asking questions are not just for the teacher’s pet in middle school, they are a beneficial habit that will be applicable for the entirety of your lifetime. Asking questions carefully is important as well, because you want to allow the person being questioned to not feel like you are attacking their ideas or beliefs, but rather that you are curious and want to truly understand. This creates an environment where wonderful things can happen!
Learning does not have to be complicated, but keep in mind that it should be enjoyable, and of course, educational. With that in mind, there are some websites that have been proven to help curious learners and believers find online groups to join. They are easy to navigate, and are welcoming to all, which is definitely a highlight.
The main purpose is really to connect people to learning opportunities that they may have never heard of before! Hopefully, this breakdown of understanding the Bible, for people around their twenties can really be applicable for any adult who may have thought that their time of discovery has passed them by. Everyday is a chance to learn and grow, and the Bible provides the opportunity for both of those things.