When Scripture Doesn’t Make Sense - Your Daily Forward Devotional

When Scripture Doesn’t Make Sense

June 9, 2020

Read Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

 
Reflect

How does God’s Word light your path?

What should we do if we encounter a passage in Scripture that we just don’t understand? I try always to take the following steps:

First, I ask God for His wisdom and direction, and then I research the passage. The Holy Spirit can guide and direct in various ways but does not usually provide concrete information about a subject. I must do the hard work of research alongside the Spirit’s more subtle guidance. How I research the passage depends upon the particular issue I do not understand.

If the problem is the use of a word or phrase in the passage, then I will seek out the original Greek or Hebrew behind the English. This involves studying the Greek/Hebrew word’s full range of meaning, its general cultural usage at the time of the writing, its use elsewhere in the Bible, and the author’s use of that word in his other biblical writings and in the rest of the book in which the passage is found. The final step then is to determine the meaning that is most appropriate to the word’s immediate context. The immediate context is the most important determinant of meaning for any word we use and our assumption must be that the author had one meaning in mind when he placed that word in its particular sentence within the passage.

If the problem deals with a custom, expectation, or behavior of the time, then I will turn to a larger Bible encyclopedia. I also use a Bible background commentary, and/or a specific commentary on the Bible book in which the passage is found. Reviewing what is written about the passage in more than one resource/commentary can be very helpful in determining controversial passages which are being interpreted today in more than one way. Controversial passages must be handled much more carefully and thoroughly in order to glean the underlying points of argument among modern scholars.

Don’t be afraid to do the hard work of research alongside the Spirit’s guidance. You’ll be glad you did!

 
Pray

Lord, open up Your Word to me. Help me to grasp the message. Amen.

We look forward to your comments, questions, and prayers in these devotionals!
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This is what I need for today, the Lord will guide me through life struggles.
Hey Betty! Great question! Hey Judith! Great question! Regarding commentaries, there are 3 general kinds of commentaries: 1) devotional, which are simplified, interpretive commentaries. These are similar to what you find in application Bibles. 2) Pastoral are geared more for preaching and focus on exegesis of the passage. Easily credible for everyday Christians. 3) Technical contain scholarly debate and contain a lot of Hebrew and Greek. I use a combination of all 3 when studying and writing messages for BttB or preaching. Which commentary is best? I recommend the website bestcommentaries.com to find the best rated (with types - devotional, pastoral, technical). So there's not "one" series stick to. But generally, a NT commentary series that I use often is the John MacArthur series. For Hebrew/Greek word studies you cannot go wrong with Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. A great website is blueletterbible.org. I use that often alongside my logos software. Another book I recommend is Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of OT & NT Words. Great resource. I hope this helps!
Hey Judith! Great question! I'm releasing a video soon regarding translations of the Bible. Regarding commentaries, there are 3 general kinds of commentaries: 1) devotional, which are simplified, interpretive commentaries. These are similar to what you find in application Bibles. 2) Pastoral are geared more for preaching and focus on exegesis of the passage. Easily credible for everyday Christians. 3) Technical contain scholarly debate and contain a lot of Hebrew and Greek. I use a combination of all 3 when studying and writing messages for BttB or preaching. Which commentary is best? I recommend the website bestcommentaries.com to find the best rated (with types - devotional, pastoral, technical). So there's not "one" series stick to. But generally, a NT commentary series that I use often is the John MacArthur series. I hope this helps!
Amen
Amen
Amen ! ✝️🙏🇺🇸
"THANKYOUJESUS!@1"
Susieq, this is so true as we age. I am in my 87th year ,eyes dimming, but still attempt to study the word. The internet is a great aid, but I do miss searching for answers. I do agree with your remarks and it reminds me of a song my mom often sang;"If with all your heart, you truly seek Me, you shall ever surely find Me; Thus saith our God". "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah" 29;13
Which commentary is the best? I have a number of translations of the Bible.
Which commentary would you Recommend for the Greek/Hebrew word study?
I am so blessed to have a wonderful pastor and church to take any questions about scripture to thank you Lord
I don't have all those references mentioned, but the internet helps. It's so true. When I do take the time to research a passage, it's like a light-bulb gone off in my head, "Oh, so that's what it means. I get it now."
God is our Power Source, and the Written Word (the Bible) is our light to give us direction and guidance, so we can live in harmony with Him and others. He tells us in His Word that "if we search for Him with all our hearts we will find Him". If we ask for wisdom and understanding He will grant our request. Lord, I pray for wisdom to understand Your Word and to apply it in daily living!
Good instructions with your belief that the author had one idea he was trying to convey. Many people don’t believe that anymore and they change the meaning to their own idea what may not be what the author was saying. The Holy Spirit does help if your interpretation is honoring the Lord Jesus and God the Father you are usually on the right path.
I really want to understand God's word for better exploration to others, bcuz I have a little bible study group that I'll need your help to carry on my teaching with them.
I also struggle with understanding the sculptures, But I don't know who doesn't.
I struggled with understanding scriptures sometimes but I have a study bible with foot notes that I turn to when I'm not hearing from the Holy Spirit....thanks for sharing your way of studying the bible.....that which I'll try by doing more research in an indept way👏👏😇
AMEN!!