Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1968
NUMBER 39, PAGE 2b-3

Some Things Which Hinder A Right Understanding Of The Scriptures Today

L.E. Wishum

By suggesting these things that hinder, we hope to help you to recognize them and to avoid them in your study of the Bible. Jesus said: "Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word." (John 8:43) He was saying that they could not understand his word because certain things were hindering them. Here are some that hinder.


Prejudice means to pre-judge a matter before all the facts are known. Naaman had his mind made up as to how he wanted God to cleanse him before hearing what God had to say. (II Kings 5) With this prejudiced mind, when he heard God's plan, he first rejected it.

When people make up their minds based on partial truth they are prone to become prejudiced against the whole truth. Avoid prejudice, for Jesus said: "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself." (John 7:17)

A Desire To Please The World

We cannot convert God to the world! It is not God who is to be reconciled to man -- but man to God. God is not lost! Man is lost! (II Cor. 5:17-19) Because God's thoughts and ways are so much higher than man's, it is necessary to convict and convert the world. (Isa. 55:6-9; John 16:19; 3:19-21)

This desire to please the world, and for worldly things, hinders many from a proper understanding of the Bible. They are always trying to make the Bible fit what they love and practice. "...if I were still pleasing men I should not be a servant of Christ." (Gal. 1:10)

"But even as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak: not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts." (I Thess. 2:4)

Only Certain Ones Can Understand The Bible

The keeping of the Bible from the people brought about and extended the dark ages. As long as people think they are not capable of understanding the Bible — but must have some priest or preacher to interpret it for them — they will be hindered when they read the Bible.

God has not given us a plan that we cannot understand! "...whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ." (Eph. 3:4) Peter said: "...wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, as they do the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." (II Pet. 3:16) He did not say that we could not understand and note also that these described wrest the easy as well as the hard.

The scriptures can be understood, that is, the scriptures we need to know in order to be saved and go to heaven. (II Pet. 1:3,4; Deut. 29:29) But not without study! (II Tim. 2:15)

"Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:17)

The Bible is the doctrine! Not a book to use to prove many doctrines, or to base doctrines upon! (I Tim. 1:3; Gal. 1:6-9) We should study the Bible to see what is says, and then obey and teach it; rather than obeying and teaching something and then going to the Bible to see if we can prove it.

Reading Without Expecting To Understand

This may be done by reading out of a sense of duty — or to be able to say "I have read the Bible through many times," or "I read the Bible every day." Many read, study and claim to preach the Bible all their lives who never come to a proper understanding of it; therefore they never obey Christ's will which is the power of God unto salvation. (Rom. 1:16) (Read Matt. 7:21-23 and Matt. 13-14.) "...ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (II Tim. 3:7)

We are not discouraging reading of the Bible! A man could not be expected to know what it means, until he knows what it says! But rather, we are encouraging you to read the book to see what it says and with the expectation of being able to understand it! Do this and see what a difference your Bible study takes on!

Thirst For Distinction -- A Desire To Be Known As A Person Of Leading Thought

Like the Athenians, some "spend their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing." (Acts 17:11) These take pride in knowing more of the meaning than anyone else. These kind of people are hard to teach for they think they know more than the teacher! They continually pride themselves in having taken the forefront in thought, strictness, etc. They are "puffed up" (I Cor. 8:1) with knowledge, and in thinking they know, many times do not know as they ought to know. (I Cor. 8:2) This can hinder a proper understanding of the Bible. All that is in the Bible has already been thought of and taught by Christ and the Apostles! No new thought, or teaching to glory in! So, "learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be PUFFED UP for one against another." (I Cor. 4:6) We need to learn not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Rom. 12:3), while having an unquenchable thirst for the word! (Psa. 42:1-2) (Matt. 5:6; Psa. 1:1-2)