“'Do you understand what you are reading?' And he said, 'How can I, unless someone guides me?' […] Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him." – Acts 8:30-31, 35 NKJV
An official from Ethiopia was returning home from Jerusalem. Clearly a sincere seeker, he was reading a passage from Isaiah but did not understand the meaning.
At that moment Philip, who was following the leading of the Spirit, approached him. The man admitted that he needed help understanding what he was reading. Philip responded by preaching Jesus, “beginning at this Scripture.”
After hearing Philip’s teaching, the Ethiopian understood and believed. The passage made sense. Acting on his belief, he asked to be baptized (vs. 36-38).
Many people are like this Ethiopian. They read Bible passages, yet don’t understand. These are moments to remember the spiritual dimension of the Word and why we need a spiritual approach. We need to pray and ask God for discernment. Ask the Spirit to open our eyes spiritually, give us revelation, and lead us to mature believers who might give us insight.
Paul illustrated these principles when he wrote, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.” These spiritual truths can seem like “foolishness” to our minds because the deeper things of the Bible “are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Have you ever struggled to understand a passage from the Bible? Are you not sure what the words mean? These are times to pray and ask God for discernment. As He leads, seek the insights of mature believers who can help you understand.
PrayerFather, I seek spiritual discernment for Your Word and revelation from You. Give me a clearer understanding. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Extended ReadingActs 8