Do You Understand?
In Acts 8, we read of the Ethiopian Treasurer who was riding along in his chariot, when a stranger came up and asked him, "do you understand what you are reading?" This was Philip who was directed by the Holy Spirit to go join this chariot. As Philip was nearing the chariot, he heard the Ethiopian reading from Isaiah chapter 53. I have always marveled at the response of the man. The response shows great wisdom in the answer. The response was this: "How can I, unless someone guides me." Such should be a response that everyone should have when it comes to the reading of scripture.
The Bible is too important to not understand. We are told in Ephesians 5:17: "So then, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
We need to know what God wants and expects of us. The Bible is the only book in the world that reveals this information, so we need to understand it. The truth of the matter is that it is not so hard that we are unable to understand it. It is just some things get in the way of properly understanding the scriptures. Things like preconceived ideas, personal likes or dislikes, taking things out of context, and trying to make it say what we want. When Jesus encouraged the people, He said: "Hear and understand". Just hearing is not what counts; it is the practice of putting what we hear from God into application of our lives. When we are trying to better ourselves in the sight of God, we are doing what God wants from us. We become a better person, and we become a spiritually minded person that God wants us to be.
One of the most important elements in communication is understanding. We all know that if the boss barked out his orders in Russian, we would not do anything he wanted. But when he speaks in English, we understand those words, and know what he wants.
Reading the Bible is the same. Even though the words are in a language we understand, we have difficulty learning what it means for us. We have difficulty because we are not on the same page as God. Proverbs 1:7 tells us the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and understanding". Our collective effort should be to encourage everyone to hear the words of God and understand their meaning. God wants us to live righteously in this world, and He wants us to set a good example for others to follow. God also cares how we treat other people. The more we learn from God what He expects of us, the better we are for this world we live in. If more people understood God, our world would be a near utopia. But alas, there will be those who refuse to understand God's will for us. They will have to answer to God for their actions, but we must not let people like that influence us. We have to be better than them. We must show God we understand his message and we must obey His commands. Let us all work towards a better understanding of God's will, and we will be on our way to heaven.
By Carey Scott
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