When you don't understand the Bible

We are free not to understand everything in the Bible. There's no need to stress when we come across something we don't get. Sure, do a little historical homework. Read the notes in your study Bible or some other resource. But sometimes there just aren't any clear answers. I am reminded of that as I prepare to preach this Sunday on a passage I'm not sure anyone really understands (Matthew 8:28-34 -- a story that involves Jesus, two violent men, a mob of demons, and a herd of pigs). I've consulted three biblical scholars, and there is no clear consensus about all the aspects of this story. But here's the good news. We don't have to force the Bible into categories or expectations we construct -- as if we were trying to reshape jello with a hammer. We can let the Bible be what it is. And it is sometimes a mystery.

So in our puzzlement, we are encouraged to read on. Read consistently. And read with a loose grip. Even with the mysteries, there is enough clarity in the Bible to completely reshape anyone's life.


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