The Bible contains the greatest collection of written words ever assembled. There has never been, and there never will be, anything that can parallel its power and authority. The problem is the Scripture has been shrouded from the minds of so many readers. To help assist the inquiring minds are commentaries and Biblical helps that consist of “cliff notes,” CD’s, and interpretative books and study guides, as well as a plethora of translations. Still, the difficulty meter continues to red line. Bibles are handed out to the “whomsoever” with the hopeful intent that the reader will be led into a spiritual epiphany. But so many times the potential believer becomes confused as to the implication of its content. Soon the Bible becomes a dust catcher. It is true that there have been people that were so moved by what they read that it led them to a life changing encounter with their Creator, but those are the exceptions instead of the norm.
The Disciples experienced the Word by hearing and seeing, yet they failed multiple times in illustrating its reality. As we go through the Scriptures, we see a continuity of misunderstanding by His followers. Time and time again, Jesus would expose their shallowness in implementing His truth. From the Sea of Galilee to the hills of Judea, the Disciples lacked understanding of the things Jesus taught and did. There were times when they introduced their own spiritual ignorance by their actions and statements. Many of their questions were intended for their own self promotion. As we read the Gospels, we need to be more aware of the actions of the Disciples. As we do, we will soon be sympathetic to what Jesus faced in preparing them to carry on His ministry.
To simply read the Bible with the hope that the spiritual mysteries of life will be answered is to face disappointment. The Bible is a closed book to the unsaved. They will never understand Its truth until the Holy Spirit opens their heart. The Ethiopian Eunuch, who had acquired a copy of the Scroll of Isaiah, was on his way back to his country when he stopped his chariot and tried reading from the Scroll. A layman by the name of Philip was led by the Spirit to approach the Eunuch and ask him if he understood what he was reading. The Eunuch simply said, “How can I, accept some man would guide me?” (Acts 8:31) Philip, under the power of the Holy Spirit, led him into such an understanding of the Scripture that he turned his life over to Jesus Christ and was baptized in a stream not far from where they were. After Jesus resurrection, He appeared to two confused and unbelieving disciples as they journeyed toward their home in Emmaus. They had heard rumors that Jesus was alive, but there was no proof. Jesus then gently led them through the Old Testament, beginning with Moses and then through the Prophets, showing how it applied to Him. It was shortly after this revealing that their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. As quickly as He appeared, He vanished. They shared, “Did not our heart burn within us…while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32) The two disciples immediately ran back to Jerusalem to the locked upper room to tell their story. While they shared their excitement, Jesus suddenly appeared to His assembled disciples and proceeded to fine tune His previous teachings. The Bible says that “He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)