Principles of Interpretation: Difficult Passages
Yesterday, we noted the importance of abiding by the law of rationality; that is, we must only draw conclusions that are warranted by the evidence. Today, we will consider one last principle of Bible interpretation: We must acknowledge that there are some difficult things to understand in God's word.

All should agree that many things in Scripture are plain, simple, and easy to understand. We must also realize, however, that God has made some things hard to understand. As Peter affirmed - "And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (II Pet. 3:15,16).

God, no doubt, has a purpose in making some things in the Bible difficult to understand. Perhaps His intent is to cause us to study diligently to harvest the richest of spiritual blessings.

An overall consideration of the inspired text will reveal that there are quite a number of passages and subjects where there is some difficulty or obscurity in our understanding them to the fullest capacity. Some disciples are not aware of these difficulties, or do not think that they exist, for the simple reason that they have not studied the Scriptures deeply enough to see them. Some quickly jump to conclusions on various passages or issues without rationally considering all of the evidence first (and the implications of their position). They are quick to be for or against a certain interpretation or action for the simple reason that they desire to be for or against it. May we never fall prey to this sort of shallowness in Bible interpretation!

Although there are difficult passages in the sacred text, let us be assured that all those who earnestly seek will find the answers--they will find truth! Jesus declared in Matthew 7:7,8 - "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

Even if we don't understand everything in the Bible, everyone can understand sufficiently to be saved through obedience to God and by submitting to His plan of salvation. No matter where we are in our spiritual lives, let us all determine to keep on growing as Peter said - "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (II Pet. 3:18).

Friends, although there are some things that are difficult to understand in the Bible, may we never use this fact as an excuse not to study. Instead, let it encourage us to study all the more fervently that we may be able to rightly interpret God's glorious word--even the difficult passages.