There are many reasons the Bible can be difficult to understand. First, the Bible is often difficult to understand because of differences in language. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Though many wonderful translations exist, there are always some nuances that are challenging to communicate from one language to another. These nuances sometimes make the Bible harder to understand.
Why is the Bible hard to understand?
Second, the Bible is sometimes difficult to understand because of differences related to time and culture. Moses, for example, wrote to the Jewish people who came out of Egypt nearly 3,500 years ago. His original audience would have understood his words, expressions, system of measurement, word pictures, and literary forms in ways we do not naturally understand. Much study is often required to understand the biblical text in its original setting as a result.
Third, the types of literature found in Scripture can make the Bible difficult to understand. The Bible contains a wide range of literary types, including law, history, poetry, proverbs, psalms, prophecy, gospels, and letters. Each literary type involves a different kind of interpretation to some degree. For example, poetry is intended to be figurative at times while historical sections of Scripture intend to communicate facts of history. Prophecy speaks of yet unfulfilled events while law sections of Scripture give specific rules related to particular times in biblical history.
Fourth, our own lives can cause the Bible to be difficult to understand. For example, we may be limited in our knowledge of language, history, theology, or other areas of study that influence our level of biblical understanding. In addition, our human limitations cause us to sometimes misunderstand or not understand some parts of Scripture. Plus, sin in our own lives can keep us from better understanding God's will or some parts of His Word.
While understanding the Bible can be difficult, it is not impossible. Through diligent study, the abundance of study tools available today, gifted teachers and preachers, as well as the Holy Spirit's illuminating work in our lives as believers, we are able to learn God's will for our lives through His perfect, inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Why does understanding the Bible matter?
What is biblical illumination?
Biblical hermeneutics – What is it?
What are some good Bible study methods?
Applying the Bible – How can I do it in my life?
Truth about the Bible