Wednesday, September 15, 2021

IBS-14 That’s really what it said! Beliefs and mystery


The Big Idea: Can we take the Bible literally (which at times seems hard to understand) and trust it to be God’s Word?

Simple or Hard?

The Bible is simple. The Bible is hard.

Can it be both? Turning a light on is so simple a 5 year old can do it. With a massive power outage, specialists reinstate it by a pretty complex process. College professors teach electrical engineers the complexities of energy. The Bible has that kind of duality.

A five year old hears “Jesus loves me” and understands. “Love” in the Bible is complex. Inductive Bible Study is not for the lazy. It can be hard work. Like a multi-faceted diamond, fresh angles emerge studying the same passage repeatedly.

The Bible is not a mystical book, nor a fairy tale. It speaks to man from the heart of God, though it covers over a thousand years and numerous civilizations. The truths it contains apply to multiple cultures and generations because it is the divine Word from God to man. It is not intended to be a secret for a select few. God wants you to understand and know Him.

Belief and mystery

You need not know Hebrew and Greek to understand the Bible. With desire to know and walk with Him, God gives the wisdom and understanding to discern His Word.

The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130 (NASB95) Also see Acts 4:13

The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It touches thoughts and guides actions. It is not fabricated to make a point. Some spend massive energy discounting the stories and miracles. Take God at His Word, trusting even the mysterious. What is your perspective? 95% mystery and 5% literal? Or 5% is a mystery and 95% literal?

The Bible speaks of mystery till we’re in heaven. It also says dullness accompanies unbelief.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. I Corinthians 13:12 (NASB95)

Colossians 2:2 and 4:3 and numerous other passages state “God’s mystery… is, Christ Himself.” Believe His Word and submit that which you struggle with to Him.

Moving from Observation to Interpretation

Having observed the text gives you a head start. Observation bleeds over into Interpretation smoothly.

1. Review your observation notes.

2. Does the Bible passage state purpose? i.e.” _____so that_____”

3. Revisit the theme of the chapter and book you are studying.

4. Describe what the verse says in your own words.

5. Explain the most obvious point it appears to be making.

6. Contemplate where God shows up. What does it say or show about Him?

Don’t make this hard. The Bible has clear lessons throughout, especially when we sync passages with the rest of the Bible. Scripture interprets Scripture. Pray for God to guide and simply believe.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6


This is fourteenth in a series called Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.

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1. If you had to take a wild guess what percentage you think is literal and that which remains a mystery, what might you suggest? Does your presupposition help you study the Bible or hinder it?

2. In spite of Inductive Bible Study being hard work, are you enjoying putting in the time to do it? Do you find inductive study rewarding or frustrating?

3. Pray asking for God to guide you in your studies that His Word will become even more precious to you!

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