How You Can Understand the Bible
2. Read With an Open Mind
Has a friend ever told you negative things about someone you had never met? When you finally did meet that person, did your friend’s comments blur your ability to see the person’s talents and good qualities? Something similar can occur when it comes to the Bible.
THE apostle Paul warned what can happen if we fail to read the Bible with an open mind. Regarding some Jews of his day, Paul wrote: “I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge.”—Romans 10:2.
Some of those first-century Jews were unwilling to accept a truth that the Hebrew Scriptures revealed clearly: the identity of the Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth fit every Scriptural requirement, fulfilled every prophecy. Yet, a rigid set of preconceived ideas prevented many of his countrymen from understanding God’s Word.
What can we learn from that experience? It is important to read the Bible with an open mind. A veil of prejudice or preconceived ideas can hinder a reader from understanding Bible truth.
For example, a professor of religious studies in North Carolina, U.S.A., describes the Bible as “a very human book, with very human points of view, many of which differ from one another and none of which provides the inerrant guide to how we should live.” If a person were to read the Bible as “a very human book,” then would he not be inclined to discard direction or principles that do not suit his personal taste?
In contrast, the Bible encourages us to study it diligently. Regarding the Beroeans in Paul’s day, the Scriptures say: “They received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) Like those readers, you may need to lift any veil of bias or criticism that might blur your understanding. Read God’s Word with an open mind, eager to discover its Author’s thrilling message.