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WHY SO MANY SAY: "I Don't Understand the Bible!"
Richard H Sedliacik   
Church of God

Died: December 23, 2010
Office: ACE - Evangelist

Managing Editor of the Ambassador College Correspondence Course.

Can the Bible REALLY be understood? Is it RELEVANT in the Space Age? This article reveals the answers. It shows how scores of thousands are finding they CAN UNDERSTAND the Bible!

   RECENTLY, very elementary Bible tests were given to hundreds of U.S. college students and church laymen. The results were staggering!
   They revealed the fact that most people who profess to regard the Bible as "the Word of God" simply DO NOT READ IT!
   What a paradox. The Bible is still the world's all-time best seller. It has been translated into more than 1,200 different languages. Yet the Bible has been called the "Book that nobody knows."
   There is a reason.

Mere "Status Symbol"

   Dr. Arthur P. Whitney, Acting Secretary for National Distribution of the American Bible Society, explains it: Most people purchase Bibles merely to have "status symbols" in their homes. He is convinced that nearly all Americans are "Biblical illiterates"!
   But why?
   One explanation for widespread Biblical illiteracy is that a large segment of people have turned away from the Bible because they don't understand it even when they do try to read it!
   To the average reader in this modem, pulsating 20th Century Space Age, the Bible has a remote and "antiquarian" flavor. He is more than likely left with the impression the Bible is an ancient, musty book that has absolutely no relevance to his life here and now!
   This is proved by a survey made a few years ago by the Canadian Council of Churches. The survey asked 6,500 ministers to name the chief reason for failure to read the Bible.
   Almost 30% thought non-readers consider the Bible irrelevant; 26% thought that the people could not understand it; 24% felt people find the Bible uninteresting.
   Paradoxically, this Biblical ignorance is considered "respectable" today. "It is one of the curious phenomena of modern times," reports J. B. Phillips in The Young Church in Action, page ix, "that it is considered perfectly respectable to be ABYSMALLY IGNORANT of the Christian Faith. Men and women who would be deeply ashamed of having their ignorance exposed in matters of poetry, music, or painting, for example, are not in the least perturbed to be found ignorant of the New Testament." [Emphasis ours]
   The Bible has become little more than an obsolete "sacred book" to which most of its devotees pay lip-service, but which they practically never read, STUDY, or UNDERSTAND!

How Theologians View the Bible

   The true reasons for such widespread Biblical ignorance and lack of understanding ought to astound you!
   You would expect atheists and agnostics to deny the divine origin of the Bible. But today leading ministers and theologians are FOREMOST among the CRITICS of the Bible.
   One minister of a very large church denomination said recently: "No mainstream Christian Church accepts the Bible as the literal interpretation of the word of God. Some of it is folklore, some legend, some tribal history."
   How does he know? Answer: He doesn't! He has accepted as true the theories and hypotheses taught in the graduate schools of theology.
   Now listen to these words of a well-known Protestant minister: "We know now that every idea in the Bible started from primitive and child-like origin..." and that it is an "impossible attempt to harmonize the Bible with itself, to make it speak with unanimous voice, to resolve its conflicts and contradictions...."
   This man was looked up to as a minister of God. Yet he attempted to discredit the very Book he was supposed to uphold and teach. What a PARADOX! Branding the Bible as the vain efforts of MEN, he called it a book of fables and myths, instead of the INSPIRED TRUTH OF GOD ALMIGHTY!
   In the introduction to a well-known modern translation of the Bible, the author summarizes his ideas in the claim that many books of the Bible are "notes by disciples, worked up into literary papers which have been repeatedly edited, sometimes by pious collectors."
   This very learned scholar thought that the earlier portions of the Bible stem from "the natural desire to gather up the primitive traditions of the people." He took for granted, without proof, the false assumption that God had nothing to do with its inspiration!
   Another theologian summed up the modern trend: "We must take the Bible seriously, but not literally"!
   With statements such as these ringing in their ears, is there any wonder why hundreds of ministers publicly confess and thousands privately admit that they themselves can't understand or believe in the Bible?
   Statements such as these by well-known ministers, theologians and Bible scholars are responsible for discouraging the average person from trying to understand, or even read the Bible!

Confusion Begins with the Pulpit

   A minister of one of the respected large church denomination told his congregation one Sunday that the Genesis account of creation "should not be taken literally."
   After the service about 200 parishioners gathered in a basement hall to talk with the minister about his sermon. One of them commented:
   "'I don't know what to read and what not to read in the Bible. I'm confused. I DON'T KNOW what to believe and what not to believe [emphasis ours]. What part of the book is true and what part is just a story? If one Bible story is a fairy tale, what about the next story?' " (Milwaukee Journal, Alicia Armstrong.)
   Little wonder the average man-on the-street is soured AGAINST the Bible!
   What else would you expect the average person to believe about the Bible when men, looked up to as biblical "specialists," declare it to be a PIOUS FRAUD?
   The trouble with most people is that they take for GRANTED what other people say about the Bible!
   Most people including Church laymen and the clergy have not taken the time to really look into the Bible and PROVE IT FOR THEMSELVES!
   And so they continue to carelessly assume the Bible teaches hundreds of conflicting ideas that it is irrational and irrelevant in our scientific age that the Bible is responsible for the hundreds of differing sects and denominations we find in the world today! They have never proved what they have come to believe.

What IS the Bible?

   There is a statement in the Bible which says: "ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God..." (II Tim. 3:16).
   The Bible is GOD'S REVELATION to man of basic knowledge laws and principles which man is unable to discover for himself knowledge which is otherwise utterly inaccessible to the mind of man!
   For example: God did not directly reveal the law of gravity in the Bible. He equipped man with the powers and abilities to discover gravity for himself.
   But man has never been able to discover what he is, and why he was put here on earth whether there is a real purpose for human life, or what that purpose is. Man has not been able to discover the true way to peace, to happiness, to abundant well-being and real success! Schools and colleges do teach students how to earn a living but they fail to teach them how to live!
   The Bible reveals all this and more!
   Nowhere but in the BIBLE can one find this basic necessary knowledge! God inspired the Bible to be the very BASIS of all true education.
   The Bible, then, is the FOUNDATION OF ALL KNOWLEDGE and the true approach to the acquisition of all discoverable knowledge. No one can be properly EDUCATED except by and through it!
   People could understand the Bible if they were really willing.
   The Bible is plain and simple it means exactly what it says! If we take it as it is, without trying to interpret its meaning, it does make sense!

You Can Understand It!

   There is a method available today which is helping scores of thousands to really understand the Bible. That method is made plain in the unique and absolutely FREE Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course!
   This Bible course is REALLY DIFFERENT. It is a regular, monthly course in the personal study of the Bible. It is not a study of men's ideas about the Bible, but a study of the BIBLE ITSELF! The Bible is the only textbook!
   The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course is created to guide you through a systematic study of your own Bible. It is designed to show the real meaning behind today's world chaos, and of God's purpose for human life.
   This exciting Course has opened the Bible to the understanding of tens of thousands because it is an "in depth" study of God's Word. It shows, in detail, the keys to understanding Bible prophecy making the Bible meaningful today!
   The most vital, most important questions of your life are thoroughly gone into in these monthly lessons. And you are directed to the clear, plain, simple answers in your Bible!

What Our Students Say - Please see PDF for letters from the students.

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Plain Truth MagazineMarch 1968Vol XXXIII, No.3
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