September 21

Written by Bill Grandi on September 21st, 2023

One of the knocks against the Bible is that it is so hard to understand. “I tried reading the Bible once. What’s with all the begots and begats? I mean, like who in today’s world uses those words or talks like that that?”

Or here’s another: “I tried reading the Bible once. Who in the world can understand words like justification, sanctification, propitiation, and redemption?”

Granted, sometimes there are some places where the begats and begots get tiring (such is the way of a lineage). And it is true there are some big words used that we don’t understand or use very often (if at all) in 2023.

{Side note: Choose a more modern translation to use like the ESV (English Standard Version), the NIV (New International Version), the NLT (New Living Translation), or the NASB2020 (New American Standard Version 2020) and move away from the KJV (King James Version) with its more archaic language. Just a personal opinion}

But sometimes the Bible is very plain. John 3:16 is one of those verses. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son” doesn’t get much plainer.   My favorite chapter in the Bible is Psalm 37. Four words stand out at the beginning and they are as plain as the nose on your face:

  • Trust (v.3)- Have faith
  • Delight (v.4)- Find joy
  • Commit (v.5)- Practice surrender (Lay it down)
  • Be still (v.7)- Be quiet (Learn patience)

There is more in that chapter! I’d encourage you to dig deeper.  Check out, for example, the first three words of verse 8. Or the reality of verse 16. See the refreshing encouragement of verses 23-24. Not only those, but you will find so much more in that chapter.

It is true that there are places the Bible is a bit difficult to understand or to grasp. Archaic words and language are tough to wade through. But the “dig” is worth it. There are so many riches to mine. Start digging!

And by the way: what did you learn from Psalm 37?


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    I recently had a similar conversation with a close relative of mine. Opening a KJV, He began reading and couldn’t grasp what it was saying. I advised the same in finding a more modern version or better yet, pull open the Bible App and compare several. Sometimes just seeing the thoughts presented differently makes all the difference in the world.

    In regards to Psalm 37, The overall theme is that God is in control, don’t spend time worrying about the crooks, cheats, wicked or unrighteous… Their time is limited, however direct your attention to God and he will protect you.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks for sharing that story about your close relative Ryan. That speaks to my point directly. As for the theme of Psalm 37, great overview.

  2. My go-to translation is the NIV, Bill. Yes, it’s easy to get bogged down in reading when we don’t understand what’s being said, so we should all find a translation that suits us and our needs.
    Psalm 37 says it all!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      The NIV is the #1 selling Bible translation martha. Many use it. Important word: use. Glad you do.

  3. gail says:

    I believe a big help in understanding the Bible, is to first read the introduction to the chapter and read the study notes. I agree the KJV is really tuff to read smoothly and not as easily understood as other versions are.
    Psalm 37, love it too. It is easy to fall into jealousy when you see some around you “seem” to have everything they want, and it appears they got it all by unrighteous ways. Truth is, we can never go wrong trusting God, and His ways. No matter how much wicked people accumulate here on earth, their riches will be short lived. Even if we have little here on earth, God will support us and watch over us. Our inheritance will last forever in heaven. It is better to be rich in God’s glory than any material riches we can attain here on earth.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think you are right Gail. For anyone wanting to read the Bible, reading what the overall theme, etc of the book is a good idea. And you are also right that God’s Word helps us deal with situations on earth.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I will never understand why people don’t love the KJV, to be honest. I know you and I differ in opinions on this, and I respect yours, Pastor Bill. But, I was raised on it, I have widely memorized it, and I just love the beauty of it. It is so poetic and, in my opinion, after deep digging into the particulars of the translation process of it, the years and number of men it took to painstakingly translate, etc., nothing could be more pure. While I do often refer to particular other versions and use them regularly for study and clarification, nothing will ever be my final authority, other than the KJV. I think a lot of caution needs to be invested when using other versions, too. I have found that certain versions leave out meaningful words, such as when Jesus said, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Many versions completely delete the word “fasting” which is a crucial part of what Jesus was saying. That really bothers me! When I hear people say they can’t understand the Bible, I hear a copout and laziness and someone who doesn’t want to put forth the necessary effort. Just dig, as you said, and if a person seeks the Lord with their whole heart, His Spirit will illuminate and enlighten and open it up in such an understandable way. It doesn’t take rocket science. My Daddy had an 8th-grade education, and his knowledge of the Bible was unbelievable. Thank you for allowing us to state our opinions here, Pastor Bill. God bless you today.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You are correct Cheryl, we do have different opinions. But like the old saying, “In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; but in all things love.” You are gracious in your comment, allowing your opinion to be yours but not condemning. And I thank you for that. As you know, my preference is the ESV. I don’t condemn someone who uses the KJV. There are some translations I have trouble with (the so-called Passion Translation which is nothing more than one man tied to Bethel’s heretical ideas and also the Message which is not a translation but a paraphrase), but I do like the ESV and have used the NASB2020 in my study and sermons. I think your thought of illumination and enlightenment is true not just for the KJV but for any translation. We have to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thanks again for your kind words and tender spirit.