I just don't understand the Bible


I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I just don’t understand the Bible. Maybe it’s too deep for me - I’m a straightforward kind of girl - but I just don’t get it. I’ve read it, but I don’t really get the meanings behind things. When I read along with the readings in Church, they don’t mean much to me. If the priest spells it out in the homily I do okay, but when I read a scripture passage alone, it doesn’t do anything for me at all.

Sometimes on here, people quote scripture as the answer to a question. I don’t feel any connection to the words. They don’t inspire me, or warm my heart, or comfort me when I’m lost.

Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way. Anyone else have an experience or story to share?


I am sure that someone will be able to post and advise of an online Catholic Bible study course, which can be very helpful to the reading and understanding of Scripture (I dont know of any offhand). Hang in there, most all of us have had problems with Scripture at some point … its a journey and sometimes a confusing even difficult one. Perseverance is a gift and comes with its own gifted reward.

God bless!


Have you tried reading the New Testament first?
Some people find when they read that first and go back to the Old Testament, it can make more sense to them.


I came across this free online study course which appears to be a reliable source and Catholic -

If not happy with that, try Googling “catholic online study course - bible” it comes up with quite a few sites.

Actually a quick look indeed at the link above tells me that I just may profit from it and will be having a closer look later.:thumbsup:



I read the Ignatius Study Bible by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Each book of the New Testament is done separately and they are available on Amazon. They are quite clear and understandable. So far they have only done the New Testament, but I hope they will get the Old Testament done in the future.


Scott Hahns’s free online Bible study:



Just wondering,
I would first have to ask, where are you in your faith? Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ ?

If so, where is your prayer life… do you pray regularly or just when you feel a need to?

I think the answer to the two questions above, will give you reason why you don’t understand the Bible.

Without faith in Jesus Christ, reading the Bible, and practicing religion, can be meaningless exercises.

God Bless


I saw somewhere that Scott Hahn did an interview recently which said that the New Testament should be complete by 2010, and that the Old Testament is about 80% complete and will probably be released all at once.


Here is a Post of interest:
giving details of free study in Scripture from a Catholic perspective.

Also Father Michael Fallon MSC (his website HERE) has written quite a few books and many articles on Scripture. He is a scripture scholar of quite some renown and his books and articles are always sound Catholic material…they are also written with great simplicity. His book on the the final Book of The Bible, Book of Revelations, and also his books on the four Gospels, are absolutely invaluable!!!..and written with great simplicity. He takes each passage of the Book of Revelations and also the same with his books on the four Gospels and explains their meaning in great detail drawing on many matters…and with simplicity.

Father Michael is a priest in the Missionaries of The Sacred Heart.

Quoting Jim_OCDS

Without faith in Jesus Christ, reading the Bible, and practicing religion, can be meaningless exercises.

I dont think reading Scripture could ever be a meaningless exercise - ever! …under any circumstances at all. Obviously too the OP, though having an immense struggle with Scripture has been led to take another step and open this thread asking questions. Reading Scripture can be like that, it will take one on a journey…sometimes a long and perhaps at times confusing even apparently meaningless exercise and journey. Reading Scripture always is somehow to engage the Holy Spirit and to be engaged by Him, or one would not be reading Scripture in the first place - He is not at all, nor ever, selective nor snobbish restricting His blessings and gifts to a certain type or number of person - I dont think.:thumbsup: None under any circumstances whatsoever should be discouraged from reading Scripture. It is God’s Word and The Word of God alive, living and dynamic always and forever.

And where I am today is probably not ever where I will be tomorrow…nor how I will be led. It is the same for all without exception for we are all without exception beloved meandering, often confused often failing and sinful, beloved fallible children of The Father. It is never we reaching out to Him, for first always He has reached out to us and that is why we do reach out to Him howsoever we may do the reaching. Amen.



Do not feel bad. We are told:

*2 Peter 3:16 In [the Scriptures] there are some things hard to understand…

Acts 8:30-31 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” *

You see, Scripture can be difficult to understand. God is communicating by the limits of human language. Fortunately, He promised to guide His Church to unfold His truth (John 16:12-13). That is why we need the Church to identify revealed truth!


I believe that the bible is the word of God, and as such, it is inspired by the Holy Spirit to the scribes who wrote it. It is revelation from God. All that needs to be revealed by Him, is written down in this. As partakers of faith, we enter a relationship with God, through the Holy Spirit. When we pray, it is through the Holy Spirit (uttering cries from our heart that sometimes cannot be put into words), when we read His word, we ask for the Holy Spirit to guide us in understanding. What might be revelatory one day, at another time a depth of that scripture will reveal more truth to us. That is the beauty of God’s word - the Holy Spirit speaks to us in our need. Begin to ask God to reveal himself through His word in your prayer. Perhaps a good place to start is with the parables that Jesus spoke about in his ministry - these help with the themes that Jesus was teaching about (love, forgiveness, heaven, fruits of the spirit , etc.) Once you have a place to start with, you will find yourself on a quest to further your knowledge and explore all the associated themes, messages and connections. You then may want to do a bible study course as others have mentioned - and there will be no stopping you then!!! You will begin to have an insatiable desire of the heart to know more!



Beside the guide given above which helped me alot to get the big picture of the whole history of salvation and the mystery of life, there is an other thing I found useful specially for detailed understanding of small texts like a verses, or single chapters: Praying the Office.

On my cell phone I can access office prayers for morning, afternoon, and evening. I am not disciplined enough to make it everytime. But whenever I have time, and in good mood, or bored, I pool it out and do the prayers and reading, it is amazing.

Basically, for every time, you get a special combination of biblical text which somehow explains each other. By reading them, you get one message out of them. But that is not all. They add a church father treatise or homily about the same message being transmitted. So things become even more clearer.

I find it a great way of reading the Bible daily and in an organized manner, with the whole church and prayfully. And many people around the globe, specially consacrated people are praying and reading those same readings every day. I think it is even a way more wonderful experience for families who read it together. So many times I wish I was reading it together with someone so we can comments and meditate together. It is just very inspiring and exciting in a sens that it makes you want to share what you are receiving with someone.

You can also get them on your computer or order the whole book. See all info on this site: www.universalis.com

Everything is free except downloading the whole book on your computer, or getting it physically.

God bless


It sounds as though you might not be a religious or spiritual person. Some people are just made that way. If you are interested in Christianity, get a Catholic Study Bible, and try that. It’s a very useful guide. If you’re simply trying to tackle the Bible alone, without any guidance, it can be daunting.


Many people have said at one point in time that the Holy Bible is hard/difficult to understand.

I say Yes! It is. A doctor may not find poetry or literature very friendly either. A baby cannot eat carrots at birth or any time sooner. A plane cannot LAND in the air above. Neither can dust emanate from a ship’s course in the seas.

Am trying to say this: There is a time and a season for everything. A time to pray. A time to read the bible. A time to understand the bible. My advice is, pray without stopping. ASK…A=ask and it shall be given unto you (ask God to help you through grace to understand the bible). S=seek and you will find (seek God and you will see/find Him). K=knock and the door shall be opened (Jesus open doors closed in our lives…such as this one of not understanding the bible).

I will say this to close: Find a good church where fellowship is a blessing and not a show ground!


When I first read the OP this came to mind, but you beat me to it! :smiley:


you are not alone. the Ethiopan court official who encountered Philip on his travels was reading a scroll of scripture, and Philip asked, do you understand what you are reading. He honestly said no, how can I if no one explains it to me. Philip explained the entire prophesy and meaning of the scripture and how it was fulfilled in Christ, and the Ethiopian immediately believed and asked for baptism.

we do the same thing now in RCIA, offer the scripture and expound on its meaning, using authorotative sources, to lead candidates to ask for baptism or full communion with the Church.

the Great Bible Adventure is being broadcast now on EWTN, a great way to get an overview of all of salvation history. A program that does the same thing is an earlier telecast called Our Fathers Plan. EAch has workbooks. GBA is from Ascension Press, OFP from Ignatius Press.

catholicexchange.com has an on-line bible study every day

I recommend beginning with a study taught by a cmpetent leader that gives a review of all salvation history, and then going on to specific books of the bible in more detail.


Yup. I, personally, think that some Lectio along with spending time with Him both in contemplative-type prayer (lots!) and spending time with Him in the Blessed Sacrament are super-important. I will often bring my spiritual reading to Him, in either way. I might also suggest the Navarre Bible series. Although I got quite a bit from Scott Hahn’s, I definitely prefer the Navarre. It’s a personal choice tho’ and we’re each made differently (on purpose) so if I were you I’d try each of the above suggestions - especially with lots of prayer/Adoration - and see which one feels most like you. Also, don’t be surprised if what was just right for you at one point of your life changes to something else later.


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