Dealing with Difficult Texts

We have all been there. While trying to share the Gospel an alleged contradiction or perceived error from the Bible gets thrown into the conversation to try and trip us up. Or, during our own reading of the Bible we find a passage that doesn’t make sense perhaps logically or measured against our own understanding of morality. What do we do next?

Sometimes we allow one uncertain passage to cloud the multitude of clear passages. Or one perceived problem is allowed to rob us of joy and peace we could base upon numerous others. At Brimpton Baptist on Wednesday evenings we have started a series of studies looking at Dealing with Difficult Texts.

Without a doubt there are difficult texts in the Bible. No one who reads the Bible for long can avoid them or deny them. However, they do not have to be insurmountable hurdles or barriers to belief. Last night I gave five c’s that can help us as we try to find answers to our questions.

  1. Certain – Start with what you know. Rest upon that which you are certain of and do not allow the uncertainties to rob you of peace and joy.
  2. Clear – Let clear passages of Scripture guide you in understanding the ones that are less clear.
  3. Context – consider the context of the verse, the passage, the chapter, the book, the Testament. Most perceived contradictions and errors are cleared up by simply looking at the context.
  4. Compare – the Bible is the best commentary on itself. Compare Scripture with Scripture.
  5. Commentaries – Go to outside sources you know you can trust. That may mean trusted Bible teachers you know personally, trusted written sources or online resources.

Much more could be said about each, and we will be going into more depth over the next few weeks at Brimpton. I would encourage you to take difficult texts head on and try to understand them.

Approach them prayerfully. Ask God to be your teacher and guide. He wrote His Word to be understood and will help you. That help can appear in a variety of ways.

Approach them with humility. You are not the first Christian to be stumped by a verse. Let God and other Christians help you in understanding the Bible.

Approach them with faith and trust. It may be you have to set aside the difficult passage for a while and focus on what you know. Sometimes it may be weeks or months before an answer becomes clear. Resolve to have faith in God and trust Him until the answer becomes clear.


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