Nobody knows nothing. That was some advice that I received at a writer’s workshop in Colorado this past June, from author Bill Myers. (Yes, it’s a double negative. That’s what makes it funny.) He wanted to make sure we all knew that just because he was a published author and we were didn’t make his ideas better than ours. So basically he was telling us to take all his writing advice with a grain of salt.
I’m not sure what it is about people, but we think we have to know everything. And when we don’t know the answer to something, that means we are insufficient in some way. Maybe that’s just me and other people don’t feel that way. But I don’t think so.
And we’re the same way about the Bible, especially if you’ve grown up in church. If you don’t know the answer to some random biblical question, it’s really easy to think you’re lacking something.
Well, honestly, the Bible is a big book. And not just that, but it’s a really involved book. And not just that, it wasn’t originally written in English so many things get lost in translation.
So when you run into something that doesn’t make sense to you, what do you do? Do you give up? Do you just tell yourself that you’re faulty and that you can’t understand it? Or do you tell yourself that the Bible is faulty and can’t be understood?
Neither of those are a very good idea. Because both of them are untrue.
Instead of giving up, just ask for help. And I’m not talking about going to a pastor or a mature believer exactly. You certainly can, and that’s a great idea. But I feel like there’s someone you should ask first.
David figured it out in Psalm 119:18.
18 Open my eyes to see
the wonderful truths in your instructions.
The Bible isn’t difficult to understand, but there are a lot of stories to keep track of. And there is so much inside that you can spend a lifetime and not understand it all. You can spend a lifetime studying Scripture and still get something new out of it every morning.
But you need to start studying Scripture with the understanding that you’re not going to grasp it all by yourself. God needs to be studying right along with you, explaining things to you and helping you make sense of everything that’s in there.
And asking Him for help understanding Scripture isn’t wrong or bad. And it doesn’t displease Him. Actually, from what I know about God, there’s nothing He’d rather do than help you work through something in Scripture that doesn’t make sense.
So the next time you’re reading the Bible and you stumble on to something that confuses you, pray about it. Ask God to help you. Ask Him to reveal another verse to you that will explain what you just read.
That’s one of the beautiful things about the Bible. It will always interpret itself if you let it.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to your pastor or a mature believer. That’s a great idea. But you don’t need them. Ask God for help, and He’ll help you. Compare what you think you understand to the rest of Scripture, and if it aligns you may have your answer.
The Bible isn’t hard to understand, and with God’s help you can do anything. Just don’t be afraid to ask. And don’t be ashamed that you don’t know the answer. Because, honestly, nobody knows nothing about nothing.
I’ve grown up blessed to have a pastor who has always been honest in telling us that after decades of studying the Bible he still has a long way to go. This has helped all of us and some of the longer term believers have been kind enough to open their homes for Bible Study groups to share what they are still learning.