“I can’t understand the Bible!” is a common complaint voiced by many who open its pages. Yes, it is hard to understand IF you don’t have the key that unlocks its mysteries. You are about to have in your hand the crucial but much-neglected key that Jesus offers to unlock the mysteries of the Bible:
“And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. "For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. "Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. "In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, `YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.' (Matthew 13:10-15)
The “scholars” of the day found the simple parables of Jesus offensive. His disciples were also perplexed by his use of these simple stories and asked for his reasoning in using them. His answer has profound significance. He states that those who are willing to hear his simple stories are given “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (or kingdom of God, as is used in Mark and Luke). Everyone who refuses to hear and accept this basic truth is condemned to repeat the prophecy of Isaiah of hearing but never hearing; seeing but never perceiving.
Herein, then, lies the secret to understanding the Bible: TO UNDERSTAND WHAT JESUS MEANT BY THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS THE KEY WHICH UNLOCKS ALL OF THE BIBLE. All who ignore this key truth are doomed to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy of hearing but not understanding; seeing but not perceiving. To be ignorant of the truth about the Kingdom of God is to literally work against God in understanding the Bible. It’s like turning out the lights in the house on the darkest night and trying to find one’s way around.
Coming to terms with what Jesus meant regarding the Kingdom of God is a big topic - a subject all in itself. In fact, it is a lifelong quest. But all we need do is begin by grappling with the basic question of what Jesus meant when he spoke of the Kingdom of God. By starting with this question we are well ahead of those who seek to study the Bible in ignorance of it. We find ourselves studying the Bible with the assistance of God’s Spirit whereas all others are literally working against God’s Spirit in understanding.
Let me challenge you to begin with key Kingdom passages, such as Matthew 13 (quoted above). There are many kingdom parables in this chapter which give us insight into what Jesus meant concerning the Kingdom of God. From there do a word study of “kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven” and carefully consider what you read. Write down your thoughts and understandings. And from there begin to re-read the entire Bible in the light of your new understandings.
You are about to begin the adventure of a lifetime!