Basics: Struggle with Scripture

by Kyle
published June 6, 2015


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I hate being wrong more than almost anything else. Most people do. Maybe you don’t hate it as much as I do, but nobody enjoys eating crow and admitting that they were wrong.

However, in his book Margin, Dr. Richard Swenson prescribes that people with Type-A personalities (like me) admit to being wrong out loud in front of someone else at least twice a day. Talk about a tough pill to swallow.

About two years ago, however, I began to adopt this practice. Twice a day, almost every day, I recognize I was wrong and say so out loud. I still hate it, but some good things have begun to happen.

The first thing you might expect — I started to get along with people better. It turns out insisting I’m right is the same as telling others they’re wrong and, like I mentioned, no one likes to be wrong. It encourages others to know they were right. Encouraged people are much easier to get along with.

The second thing I didn’t expect. I began to understand the Bible better. After adopting the attitude I might be wrong compared to other fallible people, I began to understand I might be wrong when I study the Bible. Because God speaks in the Bible and God is perfect and infallible, then unless what God says agrees with what I say, I am wrong.

When this began to saturate my thinking, Bible study became less an academic study and more of a dramatic cutting and pruning of my heart, mind and life every time I part the covers of my Bible.

Your time in scripture will never have any effect on your life, and you will never hear from God in the Bible, if you do not first come to it ready to change. As much as we all hate it, we are all wrong and we all need to change.

This basic assumption alone will enliven your study. There are a few others that will help.


As you read this, you are interpreting what I have written. We both read and write English, respectively, and I hope you are understanding what I write in it’s most plain sense. My words have meaning, and they are fairly good, though not perfect, at sharing my thoughts with you. If you didn’t believe this, you would not be reading this now.

The trick is that sometimes we forget to read the Bible the same way.

Even translated from the original Greek and Hebrew by incredibly intelligent and highly trained scholars (and perhaps vetted by your pastor, who normally is himself a fairly well-trained scholar), language works and is able to communicate ideas in a variety of ways. Moreover, God has a vested interest in your understanding and he has the spiritual ability to help you understand.

As a human, you are able to communicate and understand human language. The Bible is communicated in human language, and you are able to understand it. There are certainly some tricky sections, but contrary to popular perception, they are fewer and farther between than you would think. There are more verses that are hard to believe than there are verses that are hard to understand.


Beyond that, whether you understand me the way I want you to, I still have a specific message I am attempting to share with you. I have a specific intent. Otherwise, I would not even begin to type.

The Bible is the same way.

God and the people he elected to put pen to paper had specific intents when they began to write. God also had a specific audience. If God had an intended message to share, then it behooves the reader to attempt to understand the originally intended message, no matter how hard it is to believe or obey. It behooves the reader to understand the originally intended audience and how they affect the meaning of the text.


Our century is amazing. When you search “Bible” in Google, the Internet can return more than 396 million results in less than a third of a second. That’s more information on the Bible in less than a second than previous generations have had in their entire lifetimes. Please let that boggle your mind.

Decent churches with well-trained pastors are not hard to find, either. As a pastor, I can tell you that not only am I eager to help someone understand what they are studying on their own, it makes my week.

If you have trusted Jesus to pay the penalty for your sin and rise again from the dead, then even God Almighty himself, through the Holy Spirit which lives inside of you, stands at the ready to inform your study.

Don’t just gloss over what scripture says. Don’t just move on if you don’t understand something. Struggle with scripture. Struggle to understand it. Struggle to believe it. All you have to do is avail yourself of the help that’s available.

But you will only do that when you believe that God is right and that you might be wrong. You will only do that when you believe that the Bible has something to offer to your life. When you do, the Bible will begin to make sense.

In this area at least, I can tell you for sure that I am not wrong.

What do you think?

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