I had a good long conversation with a colleague yesterday, discussing poetry and language and such. Since the colleague has been an English/Literature instructor for a good many years, I felt like the weak link in a short chain, but nonetheless enjoyed the conversation quite a bit.
I suspect the apostles experienced that just about every time Jesus spoke with them. Often confused, often bewildered, frequently astonished and sometimes having almost no idea at all what Jesus meant, they still followed him about from place to place. Even though they were not able to fully grasp everything that he said, they took in enough that they found themselves knowing more each day than what they did the day before.
I also suspect that there are people who give up on reading and understanding Scripture because they encounter portions that do not readily yield themselves to easy comprehension. Even the apostle Peter commented that some of Paul’s writings were hard to figure out and prone to being twisted by those more eager to reinforce their own philosophy than to gain true knowledge and understanding.
God has not given to every person equally when it comes to understanding and interpreting things that are written. If this is true of anthologies and plumbing manuals, it is surely true of sacred writings as well. We find that if the novice writer and the novice plumber will devote themselves to their craft and pay careful attention to those who know more than they do, they will continually become more proficient.
If we then find that our poetry and our pipes both benefit from such deliberate focus and humble appreciation, we will also find that such efforts yield even more precious results in our understanding God.
It is to our immeasurable benefit that in regard to the latter, he has also offered his Spirit as teacher and guide.