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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Can everyone understand the word of god in the bible?

Every Christian believes they understand the bible. The fact that there are thousands of different Christians sects and hundreds of different interpretations of the bible shows that they cannot agree on what it means. It is humourous to claim that atheists are unable to understand it when Christians demonstrate every day they are unable to comprehend it. However, let us see what the bible says about the issue.

1 Corinthians 2:12,13 - Inspired men received God's Spirit so they could know what God revealed and could speak them in words which the Holy Spirit taught them.

Matthew 10:19,20 - Inspired men did not have to worry about how or what to speak, because it would be given them what to speak. It was not them speaking but the Spirit of the Father speaking in them.

If God gave the message to inspired men so we can know God's will, then He must have intended to give an understandable message. If they cannot understand the message, then God has failed in His purpose.

But how can an all-wise, all-powerful God fail to do what He intends to do? To claim that the word cannot be understood is to deny that God is all-wise and all-powerful; He tried to give a revelation that men could understand, but He lacked the wisdom or power to do so.

Consider the following passages. If understanding is impossible, then how can God require these things of man?

Ephesians 5:17 - Do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Does a just, loving, gracious God require what is impossible?

2 Timothy 2:15 - To be approved of God and not ashamed, we must handle rightly the word of God (ASV). How can one handle rightly a message he cannot understand?

Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:14,17 - No one can please God without faith, but faith comes by hearing God's word. Yet how can a message create faith in a heart that cannot understand the message? [John 20:30,31; 6:44,45; Luke 1:1-4]

Mark 7:14 - Jesus' teachings were intended for the common people (multitudes), and He expected and commanded them all to understand His teachings.

Luke 8:11; Matthew 13:19,23 - The seed of the gospel is the word of God. Those whom the Lord considers to be good and fruitful are those who understand the word. Those who do not understand are unacceptable.

So God requires and commands all people to understand, and they must understand to have His approval and to have faith. Yet how can God be just, loving, and gracious in these requirements, if in fact understanding is impossible?

Supposedly, god always speaks truth and always keeps His promises. In the following passages He has stated or promised that they can understand His word.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 - The Scriptures are able to make us wise to salvation. They are profitable to teach and instruct us and to provide us to all good works. How could they make them wise and profit them in these things if they cannot understand them?

Isaiah 55:11 - God's word will not return to Him void, but it shall accomplish what He pleases and prosper in the thing for which He sent it. But He sent it to reveal His will to men, etc. If they cannot understand it, then it does not prosper nor did it accomplish what He sent it for.

1 Corinthians 14:33 - God is not the author of confusion but of peace. But if the Bible cannot be understood, then God would be the author of confusion.

These passages are clear statements or promises that God gave a message they could understand. If they cannot understand, then God did not speak the truth and did not keep His promises. To deny that the Bible can be understood is to deny that God is truthful and faithful to His word. But if you believe that God is true and faithful, then you must believe that they can understand the Bible.

Now, consider these passages:

Romans 3:10-18 “As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.There is no fear of God before their eyes.’”

Isaiah 55:8
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

"The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Mt.13:11-12). It was supposedly because of the people's wickedness that God made His message a mystery. His words are to hold the secret to eternal life -- something the wicked cannot experience, so only those with ears to hear have been given access to their hidden meaning. Which is a very convenient view when arguing with a non-believer.

In fact, Jesus revealed that even the scholars would be blinded by the secrets of God's mysteries: "I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and clever and revealing them to mere children instead." (Lk.10:21). The only people able to understand the metaphors of God are the children of God. To all others, there is nothing but the veil -- a veil that can be removed only through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, on one hand, the words of god MUST be able to be understood by all. Yet on the other hand, this same god tells us that not everyone will be able to understand.

I love it when Christians say there are no contradictions in the bible.

" A God that can be understood is no God. Who can explain the Infinite in words? "-W. Somerset Maugham

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