Growing up, there were times when I would ask my mother a question about the Bible and her answer would only sort of make sense to me. I would respond with another question, and she would go “hmmmm” for a minute before saying, “We might have to ask a minister about that one.”
That used to startle me—and frustrate me a little. “Even Mom doesn’t know? But she’s supposed to be a Bible genius! She went to Ambassador College! What madness is this?” When I look back on those moments now, though, I find them encouraging, because even the “Bible genius” in my life had a lot to learn.
It can be easy for younger people in God’s Church to feel like we’re hopelessly ignorant when it comes to the Bible. As I’ve grown up surrounded by teenagers and young adults who genuinely want to know more, I’ve heard several admit to being afraid to talk about the Bible with others in the Church because of how “stupid” they think they’re going to sound. “The Bible’s so confusing, and I can’t shake the feeling that I don’t really understand what’s going on.”
And I get it. I’ve felt that way, too. God inspired a big, complicated book, and that’s before you get into all the translation issues. It contains seemingly countless names of people, places, and things, goes into a shocking amount of detail in some areas (and a puzzling lack of detail in others), and, just when you think you’re following what’s going on, it whips out a genealogy and fast-forwards a few hundred years. The Bible is beautiful, terrifying, comforting, and confusing, and anyone who claims to have read it cover-to-cover without at least once going, “Wait, what?” is probably forgetting something.
But how could it be anything else? God wrote a book. Well, He didn’t literally write it Himself—He inspired men to do so (2 Timothy 3:16). But ultimately He is its Author, and in that sense, He wrote it.
Sometimes I have to let that sink in: God, the Eternal Family who knows all that can be known and is intimately aware of truths no human brain can begin to fathom, created a book explaining the deepest secrets of life, the universe, and everything—and you and I actually understand it a little bit. At least we get the gist! Even though Isaiah and Jeremiah lose us sometimes, Paul’s run-on sentences occasionally leave us blinking perplexedly, and our brains go numb every so often from all the numbers in Numbers, we still recognize characters, principles, laws, examples, and poetry that God Himself inspired.
If the Master of the universe created a book and has gifted us with even a cursory understanding of it, we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss it or ashamed of not knowing it better. We should be excited to discuss it, because doing so gives us the opportunity to know it better. And we should be incredibly grateful to our Creator for whatever knowledge we have of the most important words ever written.
Truly knowing the mind of God encompasses the entire purpose of human life, so we should probably expect it to take a lifetime. There might be a lot you don’t know right now, but there’s probably a lot the “Bible geniuses” in your life don’t know, either. So don’t be discouraged by what you don’t know. Be encouraged by what you can know—and thankful for what you know already.