This post is the second in a series I’ve been working on which discusses Bible Difficulties–hard passages in Scripture. Other posts in the series can be accessed here.
How should Christians react when met with Bible difficulties? What about when encountering others interacting with Scripture?
When asked why God didn’t make the Bible easier to read… we should remember the example of the Ethiopian whom Philip met on the road (Acts 8:27-36). Philip asked the Ethiopian,” Do you understand what you are reading?” This is the question all Christians should seek to ask when they encounter someone reading Scripture–do you understand? We must inform ourselves such that we can answer the hard questions. The Ethiopian’s answer is equally enlightening: “‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”
How can others understand the Scripture unless someone explains it to them? We should rust to sit with our fellow man or woman when they read Scripture. We should rush to explain it to them in light of Christ. Not only that, but we can apply this very message to our own lives. What about those times we run into a passage of Scripture we find difficult? Should we give up? No, we have many options. We can turn to a fellow Christian and ask for discernment. More importantly, however, we should remember that, as I’ve said before (a quote from a source I cannot remember), “The Bible is the only book whose Author is always present.” The Holy Spirit not only inspired Scripture, but is also omnipresent and ready to fill us with His Word whenever we approach it. We therefore have access to the Author of Scripture whenever we open the Bible.
Geisler once said that the Bible should be given the benefit of the doubt, in cases where potential difficulties arise. This is because of how often it has been right and vindicated in light of extreme criticism (cited in Lee Stroble, The Case for Faith). Archaeological evidence has vindicated various claims of Scripture. Biblical criticism has failed to provide a serious challenge to the message of Jesus (see N.T. Wright’s monumental study, Christian Origins and the Question of God). Thus, as Christians, when we run into a difficulty, rather than assuming the Bible false, we should seek out the answers.
We should adopt the attitude of the Ethiopian in all things. When we encounter others struggling with Scripture, we should help them through this struggle. When we struggle ourselves, we should give the benefit of the doubt to its Author and seek out the answer in the many resources available, including other Christians, prayer, utilizing Scripture to interpret Scripture, etc. Daily, we should explore the Word with the attitude of the Ethiopian–seeking understanding.
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