Most of the Bible is simple to comprehend however there are some portions that are difficult for many people. These difficulties should not discourage the serious Bible student, for they can be surmounted. We need to remember and take into account the different conditions that the Bible was written, before engaging in an in-depth study, if we are to understand its message.
1. Language: The Bible was originally written in three different languages; Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek. This barrier can be overcome by the use of different translations and comparing them, and also by the use of lexicons.
2. Time: The Bible was written over a period of 2,000 years, and also the last book was written almost 2,000 years ago. To help one understand this he needs to use a timeline chart, and understand its different historical settings.
3. Culture: The Bible was written under many different cultures, from the Egyptian to the Roman. There are plenty of books that record the culture of those people. A trip to the Middle East can help people to understand that things are done differently in those nations.
4. Authors: The Bible was written by about forty different people, each with his own individual style. Although the styles are different the message is always the same. People prefer different writing styles, so the Bible was written in order to satisfy the many different tastes.
5. Literature: The Bible was written in verse and in prose. It also uses a multitude of literary devices. Each of these was used in order to maximize the effect of the message. Taking some courses in literature and writing can help greatly. Another way is to compare the Bible with writings of the same period.
6. Idioms: The Bible contains many unique and different idiomatic expressions, including figures of speech and figurative language. Every language in the world has its own idiosyncrasies and Hebrew and Greek are not different. In order to understand them we must use common sense, logic, and reason.
7. Names: Names of people, cities, rivers and even mountains are sometimes spelled differently or they are changed. People or even groups of people are known by more than one name. Titles and even items also change name. What was then called a lawyer might not have the same function as a lawyer in our society. There is wide disagreement over the proper spelling of many biblical names.
8. Focus: Many books in the Bible were written to a specific group or person, dealing with specific problems or situations. This again requires common sense. We must look at the general principle involved in each situation and the response to it.
9. Aim: The Bible strives to teach us spiritual lessons by using stories as examples. It also uses common objects and activities to teach us things that are beyond human experience. Jesus often said “The Kingdom of heaven is like” in an attempt to teach this concept.