My husband has a great love of movies. He likes the challenge of media that makes him think as well as those that offer action and adventure. Recently he recorded the Matrix series of movies. We had watched pieces of these movies together at various times, but his thought was, if I can see the events in sequence from the beginning to the end, then I will understand the movies better.
Because this type of movie makes him happy, I am game to try it out at least. Watching the start of the first movie I wonder if I really have made a wise decision. Very little makes sense to me. The characters move from one dimension to the other and I am unable to keep track of which part of the storyline belongs to each one.
I must confess to wanting to quit. I can handle a bit of action but when I can’t grasp the thread of the story, I get frustrated. This intricate plot that intrigues my husband gives me grief. I ask my husband to explain what is going on and who these characters are in relation to one another. He carefully outlines the storyline thus far and tries to explain how things fit together in the various dimensions.
Determined to not look obtuse, I try to focus on the movie. As time passes I become more and more confused. I just don’t get it. Thankfully, my husband senses my frustration and goes over the details again. He is smart enough to know not to say the same things over. He gets that I need an alternative tactic in order to make sense of the movie. He gives me a different frame of reference – as simple as telling me that the characters dress in old, worn out clothes in one dimension and in better clothes in the other. Now at least I can figure out which part of their worlds I am seeing. This basic fact, along with other details he provides in his patient manner, allows me to actually enjoy the movie and get involved in the plot.
Many things in this world are like understanding this movie series. The intricacies are hard to grasp and we want to give up. Some things just seem to take more work than they are worth. In our society where we want instant gratification and knowledge, something that is too involved often gets pushed aside.
Sadly, the study of God’s Word often tends to fall into this category. I have heard many people say that they try to read the Bible but find it too complex and they just give up. For new believers, the Bible is a lot to take in for sure. There is so much of value there but both new and long-standing Christians often don’t know how to uncover it.
What a difference we can make when we take the time to explain to people what God’s Word is about and how to approach the study of it in a fruitful manner. Just like Timothy in the New Testament who learned about the Scriptures at his mother’s and grandmother’s knees, so we can be the instruments to help others learn and grow as well in the study of the Bible.
How we do the explaining is significant. When I attended university, I had more than one professor who was very knowledgeable in their subject field but who forgot that the rest of us didn’t understand the subject matter as well as they did. These people, with their heads in the clouds so to speak, drove me crazy. They had so much to share but it wasn’t getting through to many of us students because of all the lofty language. My professors didn’t mean to make us feel inadequate, they just didn’t know how to express their knowledge well in a way we could comprehend.
Also, have you ever been around someone who just makes you feel dense? There are people who delight in making themselves look good by making others look bad. They don’t want to explain things well as we might then be better than they are in the subject area.
We don’t want to be either of these kinds of people when we share God’s Word with others. I would hope that we can take a lesson from my husband. His instruction was kind. He didn’t make me feel dumb for not understanding everything at the start. He used terms I could understand and relate to in his conversation with me. We can do so much to build the confidence of others using gentle, patient instruction.
As we ourselves delve into God’s Word, perhaps we can take a lesson from my movie situation. I could easily have had a bad attitude when I couldn’t comprehend the movie and stomped away in disgust. Instead, I tried to keep an open mind and made an effort to build some understanding. Our approach to studying the Scriptures needs to be similar. We need to pray to ask the Holy Spirit to guide our study and open our hearts and minds to what God is telling us. This attitude makes a lot of difference in the amount of benefits we gain in the end.
When the light bulb dawned and I could understand the movie, then all the hard work of learning what was going on was worth it. The same can be true for learning about Scripture. We can gain so much hope and encouragement from God’s Word if we take the time to look at it.
Who is there in your world who could use some guidance and instruction about God’s Word? Who can you have an impact on today by offering your assistance to help them discover what the Bible is about? Who can you read the Bible to and share in a discussion? How can you personally grow in the knowledge and fullness of the Lord by studying the Bible more often?
We all have more time on our hands these days as there are few activities outside the home that we can pursue. Take some time to see what God has to say to you through His Word. All you need is there.