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Helping people read and understand the whole revelation of God

Influence Magazine on September 12, 2018

A recent survey from Crossway publishers reveals that many people avoid reading parts of the Bible they find difficult to understand.

Of 6,000 people polled, respondents overwhelmingly pointed to the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah through Malachi) as the most difficult to understand. Not surprisingly, these were also among the least-read books in Scripture.

The most frequently read books are the Epistles and Revelation, followed by the Gospels. Respondents also identified these as the easiest books for them to comprehend, with the Gospels being the most understandable.

God reveals His plan of salvation throughout the pages of Scripture — from Genesis to Revelation.

Of the Old Testament books, Psalms and Genesis are the most frequently visited. In fact, respondents were as likely to have read the Psalms as Matthew (the most popular New Testament book, according to the survey) within the last month.

However, many have never read the divinely inspired words in such lesser-known Old Testament books as Ezra, Hosea, Obadiah and Habakkuk. The most-neglected New Testament books are two of the smallest: Philemon and Jude.

This scattered approach to Bible reading should concern those of us in the Church who truly believe that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). God reveals His plan of salvation throughout the pages of Scripture — from Genesis to Revelation.

We must proclaim the gospel in context of the entire revelation of God. But we must also follow the example of Philip, coming alongside people to offer personal guidance and discipleship as they journey through the Word. After all, the Ethiopian’s question is as relevant today as it ever was: “How can I [understand the Bible] unless someone explains it to me?” (Acts 8:31).

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2018 edition of Influence magazine.

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