The following article is from a Step Into Scripture podcast episode by Tina Wilson called “It’s an Impossible Feat” (click here for the full episode).
Q: Reading the entire Bible seems like an impossible feat. How can someone actually read it and understand it?
From the story of the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8, we see how the eunuch, who did not have the New Testament scriptures and lacked the background knowledge of the Jewish traditions, still engaged with the scriptures.
Wherever we are in our spiritual journey, we too are encouraged to approach the Word of God with a humble heart and mind, ready to learn and grow. Understanding the Bible is a lifelong journey and a process of continuous learning.
Q. Can you explain more about the story of the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8?
In the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, we see an example of someone who lacked the resources and background knowledge but still engaged with the scriptures. The eunuch was reading the Book of Isaiah while traveling, and Philip, guided by the Spirit, approached him. When Philip asked if he understood what he was reading, the eunuch replied, “How can I unless someone explains it to me?” (Acts 8:31).
This interaction shows that the eunuch recognized his need for guidance and was willing to seek understanding. Philip joined him in his chariot and explained the Scripture to him, specifically the passage from Isaiah. This encounter led to the eunuch’s baptism and a joyful faith.
The story of the Ethiopian eunuch serves as a reminder that even without extensive knowledge or understanding, we can still engage with Scriptures. It demonstrates that the Bible is accessible to all, and God provides resources and people to help us comprehend His Word.
“The story of the Ethiopian eunuch serves as a reminder that even without extensive knowledge or understanding, we can still engage with the scriptures.”
Q. What steps can I take to go from too overwhelmed to starting to being a lifelong student of the Bible?
While reading the entire Bible may seem overwhelming at first, it is important to approach it with a humble heart and a commitment to lifelong learning. We should not expect to understand everything on the first read-through, but rather see it as a journey of discovery and growth.
It can be helpful to use resources such as cross-referencing and Bible dictionaries. These and other resources can provide additional insights and connections within the text. However, the primary and most important resource is the Bible itself.
Reading a paper or digital Bible, exploring the cross-references within the text, using study tools such as Bible dictionaries and Bible apps, and utilizing different translations are all helpful approaches. Having a humble mind and a willingness to seek help from trusted teachers and commentaries can further enhance our understanding. Ultimately, the Bible is meant to be accessible to all believers, regardless of their academic or theological backgrounds.
I happen to use a digital Bible because I’m an auditory learner so I benefit from listening as I read along (which is a function of the YouVersion app). Whether you use a print or digital Bible, you can find cross-references that will connect you to and from the Old and New Testament, from book to book, chapter to chapter, where you can see consistent themes and movements all throughout Scripture. I definitely remember the very first time I ever read the Bible from start to finish, being blown away by the consistency of God and being able to see—wait, he’s been doing the same thing for thousands of years and it has always been to be in fellowship with what he created that changed my life. Find the translation that you enjoy. I use the NIV, and I like the ESV as well.
“We should not expect to understand everything on the first read-through, but rather see it as a journey of discovery and growth.”
Q. What if I don’t have a strong theological background or education?
Although solid theological education can be really helpful, a strong theological background or education is not necessary to benefit from reading the Bible. The Bible itself is the primary resource needed for understanding. Approach the Bible with humility, a desire to seek the truth, and a commitment to lifelong learning.
This article is based on a Step Into Scripture podcast episode by Tina Wilson called “It’s an Impossible Feat” (click here for the full episode). The 365-day devotional Step into Scripture can be found here. This article was made possible by church.tech.