Did you ever read a portion of Scripture which makes you stop and say “huh? This is too hard”? That’s happened to me, too, and most Christian women I know. But there are different reasons why a part of Scripture might be classified as a “hard part.”
What makes different parts of Scripture the hard parts?
- They are hard to read. Like, literally, hard to read. Like you don’t know what the words are actually saying. This happens with genealogies where there is a big list of names that you don’t know how to pronounce. Or maybe it happens when you are using a translation of Scripture that has a lot of “thees” and “thous” which causes you to have high school English class flashbacks of when you struggled through Shakespeare.
- They are hard to understand. These are the passages that you read once and you may be able to pronounce the words, but you have no idea what it means. This might happen when there are theological words like “propitiation” in 1 John 2:2. This also might happen because we lack the context needed to understand the passage. For example, to understand parts of Hebrews, we need to understand the priest system that was set up in the Old Testament. Trying to understand Hebrews without understanding the Old Testament priest system is like trying to get two pieces of paper to stick together without glue. You cannot connect what Hebrews is saying to your brain (or your heart) unless you have the “glue” of knowing about the priest system.
- They are hard to apply. These are the passages where you know exactly what the passage is saying. You can pronounce the words and you understand it, but it’s just hard to put into action. Like you can read the words “submit to your husband,” but your first reaction may be “no way. That’s too hard to do.”
What sections of the Bible are the hard parts?
Here is what some Christians said when I asked them:
- Ezekiel– This was the overwhelming response when I asked! Ezekiel was an Old Testament prophet who saw some unusual visions about the end times and about his current day. They are tough to understand and the book is long, too. Other prophetic books were mentioned, too, like Isaiah, Zechariah, and Revelation.
- The Parables of Jesus-When Jesus was here on earth, he shared stories that had a bigger meaning to them. Some of them are tough to understand.
- Love our enemies– This is tough to apply! Don’t you naturally want to defeat your enemy? But that’s not what Jesus wants.
- Esther and other Old Testament stories of what has happened to God’s people in the past. We might understand what happened, but what does it have to do with us today?
- Any parts that require us to know Biblical times culture– and how do we know whether something is just for that culture or is it for us today? Should women cover their heads while in prayer? Why don’t we sacrifice lambs at a temple anymore like they did in the Old Testament times?
There were many other responses as well. Basically, the Bible is not easy to understand!
Here at How to Read the Hard Parts of Scripture, Christians can encourage each other and support each other as we read the hard parts. I look forward to joining in conversation with you!
What parts are hard parts of Scripture for you? Comment below!