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When I read I don't understand the Bible. Why is this?


Thank you for your honest question and explanation of your situation. The Bible is a unique book, written by man but directly inspired by God: 

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)

God has given two helps to our understanding of His Word.

First, when we pray for God's help and read the Bible humbly and with faith, He sends the Holy Spirit to show us the truth. If you read the Bible without doing this, you are unable to see its spiritual message. I would respectfully ask if you are definitely committed to the Lord Jesus Christ by repenting from a life without God lived perhaps in unbelief and sin? Have you committed your eternal destiny and your daily life to Him as your personal Saviour and Lord? That is the starting point for this personal help from God's Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will open our eyes, as Jesus taught: 

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations (Luke 24:44-47) (Emphasis added)

Secondly, God has given us the gift of teachers and preachers in the Church to explain the Bible clearly. We need them because, as even one of Jesus' closest followers wrote, the Bible is sometimes hard to understand:

Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

The best way to understand the Bible, therefore, is with the help of other people in your area who also want to study it. This is one of the main purposes of the local Christian Church. They spend a lot of time reading and teaching the Bible. I want to encourage you to find a local Christian Church that believes and teaches the Bible. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:

For your own personal reading I want to suggest these practical tips:

1) Get a version of the Bible in a language that you understand.
2) Start by reading the book of Mark, then John, Luke, Acts.
3) Pray before and during what you read.
4) Make notes of what you found good and what you don't understand.
5) Use those notes to have discussion times with your local Church leaders.
6) Try to only read a few chapters per day and think about them deeply instead of reading a whole book in one go.
7) Do not feel ashamed of not understanding it but seek to enjoy it.

Finally the most important thing to realise is the message of the Bible is about how man has turned away from God, and that Jesus came to reconcile us to God. I want to encourage you to examine where you stand before God. Man can only truly understand the Bible when the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to them. To know the Holy Spirit's guidance we must first turn away from our wrong and sin towards God. We must trust that Jesus died for our sin to forgive us, that he was buried and rose again to give us new life.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received :that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site:

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.

Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:

  • Romans 1:1-6
  • 2 Timothy 3:16
  • 1 Corinthians 12:28-29

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at

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