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Why Do People Misunderstand the Bible?

Why Do People Misunderstand the Bible?Many people think they cannot understand the Bible and others misunderstand even without realizing it. What causes so much misunderstanding?

In Mark 7:14 Jesus said, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand." Yet today people will dismiss plain Bible teaching about moral issues (such as homosexuality, divorce, or abortion) or about salvation from sin or the church because they say the teaching is too confusing or difficult to understand.

Why don't people understand? It is not because the Bible is so unclear. Jesus expected people to understand His teaching, and Paul said: " not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17; see also 2 Timothy 3:16,17).

But some don't understand because they do not study diligently. "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures..." (Matthew 22:29).

Others misunderstand because they accept teachings of men who disagree with the Scriptures. "And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). Such teachings often come from false teachers dressed in sheep's clothing who are really ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:13,14).

But often people do not understand the Bible simply because they do not like what it says. "Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them" (Matthew 13:15). When the Bible does not say what some folks want to hear, they just conclude it is all too confusing and you cannot really understand it anyway!

People who want to please God must "search the Scriptures daily" with an open mind, like the honest Bereans in Acts 17:11.

To please God, we must know the truth, and that truth is found in God's word.

For more information on this subject, please visit our Bible Instruction web site at /instruct/ and study our in-depth articles there about the importance of Bible study, how to study the Bible, and the danger of human authority in religion. 

(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2005;

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