Why It’s So Hard to Understand the Bible
Posted January 12, 2021

For many Christians, reading the Bible can feel a lot like a chore. So many stories, too many characters, confusing time frames, and wildly unbelievable phenomenon top the list of obstacles many find simply too difficult to overcome the inertia that describes many people’s bible reading.

But what if I told you there was a key to unlocking ALL of scripture for you, causing the Bible to not only finally come to life, but compelling you to read it daily, and causing you to come back for more?

This key to unlocking scripture so it finally makes sense lies in 2 Corinthians.

Paul tells the story of the predicament Moses found himself in every time he came down from the mountain, or left a meeting with God. He says,

“We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.” (v. 13)

As the leader of one of the largest nations on the earth, it was important for Moses to literally “save face,” in front of his constituents. If Moses’ face glowing meant God’s presence and anointing were on him, what would people think if that anointed glow faded away?

To prevent such doubt to come upon the people about the authenticity of his encounter with God, or the importance of following the Law, Moses took the precautionary step of covering his face, so that no one could tell that the glory of God on his life faded away with time.

In this, Paul highlights the greatest and most magnificent difference between the old and the new covenant – the glory of the new covenant will never fade away.

Paul goes on to illustrate the superiority of the new covenant to the old, by describing their differences.

  • The new covenant is administrated by the Holy Spirit, which means it’s alive in us.

  • The new covenant is written not on paper with ink, but on our hearts by the Spirit.

  • The new covenant has a surpassing glory, not like the fading glory of the old.

Remember, Paul was ministering to believing Jews at that time, through which the ministry of the old covenant was actually still actively present. Paul in his efforts to explain what truly took place through the resurrection of Jesus, encouraged the people to in fact, begin living in light of the far superior new covenant that would never fade away.

To illustrate this point further, Paul expounds that in spite of the new covenant being currently and presently active in the lives of new believers, if they continued to live according to the fading glory of the old covenant, “their minds [would be] made dull,…” and “…the same veil [would] remain[s].” (2 Corinthians 3:14)

That “same veil” he was referring to was the Law (a theme throughout all of Paul’s writings; See Romans 5:20-21, 7:10, 8:2), which although it had a glory, per se, in that there was some good that came out of it, i.e. it exposed our sinful nature), it nevertheless produced death in us, and therefore paled in comparison to the glory of the new covenant, which brought righteousness that leads to life.

Therefore, Paul concluded, “…when the old covenant is read…[the veil] has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.”

This profound, and most certainly offensive statement, explains precisely why most people have a difficult time understanding the word of God. Whenever the bible is read from an old covenant perspective, instead of being read through the lens of Jesus, a “veil” will actually prevent one’s heart from understanding the nature and the spirit behind the words.

In this beautiful depiction of God’s delivery of the Gospel message to his children via the Spirit, Paul is highlighting an important characteristic about the gospel message, namely, that the Gospel is alive!

This present tense, active characteristic of the Spirit’s ministry of the new covenant is in stark contrast to the ministry of the old covenant, which according to Paul, brought death. And even today, whenever one reads the words of Scripture through an Old Covenant perspective, not only will he not understand what is being read, but he will inevitably fail to understand the heart of God behind the stories, the teachings and the words.