I grew up in the West but lived in the South a few times in my adult years. I have to admit, there’s a few things I still haven’t gotten straight answers on, like, how far is “down yonder?” Which is farther, down yonder or over yonder? Then there’s the good old, holler… the dog ran down the holler… spelled… H O L L O W! Or you might see something like, Bird Hollow Rd. You guessed it… Bird “Holler.”
If that’s not enough, we were looking for a house and got directions to it. Go down this road and turn left at the big red barn. Go a couple of miles and turn right at the “Watering Hole.” What they don’t tell you is that the watering hole was renamed about 10 years ago and turned into a gas station. The big red barn burned down 25 years ago and was never rebuilt! You had to be there during those times to understand the directions.
By the way, in the South, you’re going to be called, “Honey!” This leads me to my point… the Bible is relevant for ALL times. Now there may be things you read and say to yourself, that doesn’t count because it doesn’t happen today. The fact is, something similar does happen, you just have to consider the times, location, and circumstances.
Another thing you will want to understand is, what would happen in those times if… For example: Jesus’ Resurrection. There were claims that the guards fell asleep and the followers of Christ took Jesus’ body. Not likely… falling asleep while on duty was cause for death.
In those times, it was unusual for someone to travel down the road by themselves. Take Saul on the road to Damascus (before he became Paul) when he first met Jesus. He heard Jesus speaking clearly while others heard thunder… God is Spirit and there are times we have to ask Him for understanding. Especially when the message is just for us and those around us don’t know what is going on.
How about Samaria. Samaria was an area near Galilee and a place the Jews avoided like the plague (Jesus was Jewish). While His followers suggested they go around Samaria, Jesus took them through Samaria. While reading the Bible, we need to understand that Jesus was fully man and yet fully God. He often made decisions that didn’t make sense to those around Him. As it happened, He was asked to stay longer so He stayed two more days – and many were saved.
I hate to say this, but the truth is, there will be some things that you just won’t get until God is ready to reveal it to you. Take Parables as an example. Even those who were with Jesus the whole time had to say, “huh.” At the end of some of His parables, He would say things like, those who have eyes to see, let him see. Those who have ears to hear, let him hear.
If you are reading and come to a point where your mind is blank… you just don’t get it… write it down. Ask God to explain it. In His time, He will.
He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “ ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.
Often after a parable, Jesus’ followers asked the meaning and Jesus took the time to explain it to them.
So, when you are reading the Bible, it is good to remember where they were, their customs at the time, in many cases they refer to Old Testament verses because Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old testament prophesies. And most important, ask God to explain the meaning of His word.