Building on our discussion from yesterday, I want to encourage you to keep pressing into your confusion when studying God’s Word. As you encounter things you don’t understand, make it a habit to record them. Write down your questions! Good question-asking is a more sophisticated tool of Bible study than you may realize. It isn’t laziness, and it isn’t failure. Questions bridge your current unknowns to the knowledge the Spirit will bring. Learn to trust God’s sovereignty in the when.

Finishing your study time with a solid list of questions isn’t a bad study day at all! It means you interacted with the Scriptures, you conversed with your Teacher, and you invited him to speak to you personally. Bible study is this delicate balance between struggling for answers and patiently waiting for the Spirit to give them. The effort you put forth somehow ignites the Spirit to teach you more of Jesus, and I don’t understand it perfectly, but I know it happens something like Proverbs 1 and 2 teach us:

 “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Think about the action verbs in the quest this proverbs describes: Receive. Treasure. Listen. Incline your heart. Call out. Raise your voice. Seek. Search.

Quite a picture, don’t you think? This is how wisdom is found, yet there exists a dance between digging and waiting that’s never simple.

Bible study grace struggle waiting unknowns

But keep in mind that Scripture interprets Scripture, so be patient with the process. It’s a thrill to find the answers you’re seeking later on in a different Bible passage. Those are the times when I most feel the Spirit getting personal in what he’s teaching me, like he’s leading me down a path of learning meant just for me. How sweet it is to journey with him like that.

I heard of a theologian who described our involvement in Bible study as a commitment to a high level of mystery, and I think it’s true. We throw ourselves into knowing him through his Word, but we’re brought to place of acceptance that we’ll never be able to wrap our minds around all that he is, and there will be parts of the Bible that don’t make sense now, because, well…we’re not God. 

I like to think of my recorded questions as an expression of trust that He will make himself known and I’ve committed to wait for it. And I also see them as acknowledgment that he is bigger than I can understand and for that I am grateful. What kind of God would he be if I could know it all? 

Rather than getting frustrated when we don’t understand something in God’s Word, what if we instead turned our confusion into praise? What if we let our questions lead us to worship him for being so much greater than we can fathom?

We’ve talked about the benefit for us in dwelling in our unknowns, but here’s what I’d like for us to consider now: It blesses God’s heart when our unknowns lead us to deeper awe and appreciation of who he is. Our goal isn’t that we’re trying to be God but to become better worshipers of him. And those times of studying that bring us to the end of ourselves – the ones making us feel stupid and confused and wondering what in the world we possibly could be learning? Even in those moments, the emptying of our knowledge can lead to a greater filling of HIM. His presence is welcome to invade those empty spaces, and the resulting worship is beautiful. When my Bible study seems completely unproductive because my blanks aren’t filled in and question marks cover the pages of my Bible or journal, it may be that I feel down but God is looking at the humility and awe it creates in me and thinking, “That sure was a sweet time of study with my daughter.”

Seek like crazy to know him through his Word, but don’t freak out when understanding doesn’t easily come. It could be that on those days, God has something better in mind for you than easy answers ; it may be more about you praising him for the unknowns and entering his presence that route.

 Bible study grace 31 days

Tomorrow we’ll talk about journaling as a study tool. Click on the button above to catch up on previous posts in this series – 31 Days of Embracing the GRACE of Bible Study.