Sep 17, 2019 08:00am
Five Steps to Understanding the Bible

At one point in my life, I wanted to be an archeologist. I thought it would be amazing to dig and find a great link to the past, to find evidence and truth to the stories told about what happened before. 

When you read the Bible’s parables taught by Jesus you also have to dig for truth. As an example let’s look at the parable of the yeast in Matthew 13 which begins like this: 

“Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

Most commentaries sat that this is describing the growth of Christianity and the kingdom of God . . . and that all is good. But, only part of that is true. 

There’s more to the story, and it requires some digging. Most people are willing to skim the surface and take something for face value. But we know better than that. We know the Lord taught these parables as warnings, to reveal mysteries, to guide His people seeking the truth. 

Let’s break it down.

First, there’s the “leaven.”

Throughout scripture, leaven is used to describe sin. First Corinthians 5:6-7 says, “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.” 

Luke 12:1, Mark 8:15, and Matthew 16:5-6 all speak of leaven as corruption, sin and false doctrine. Leviticus 2:11 teaches that all sacrifices should be unleavened to signify the sinless Christ, because leaven symbolized sin.

In fact, leaven is mentioned 88 times in the Bible. If we take out this one time, the other 87 describe it as something bad or sinful. So how can we conclude that this one time, it’s good? We cannot. 

Next are these four words: “woman took and hid.”

These words give us more clarity into the parable. Throughout scripture the word woman is used to describe a large belief system, like the church. 

The word took does not mean to receive something or to pick up, it means “to come into the possession of” or “took by force”. So she takes the leaven, knowing it is not good and she does what with it? 

She “hid” it. She is deceitful. This word means “to cover or to conceal, to do in secrecy.” So whatever system she is a part of, she has corrupted it. 

Finally, the “three measures.” 

Now we look at the amount. Three measures was something all Jewish people would be familiar with. Genesis 18:6 uses this same measurement for preparing a celebratory meal. In Judges 6:18-19, Gideon uses the same measurement yet again. First Samuel 1:24 describes Hannah’s offering and again, it is three measures of meal. 

So Jesus’ audience would have been shocked to find that someone had put leaven into a sacrificial meal. All of it points to the same conclusion with the his parable of the mustard seed: 

Though the kingdom of God is great, it will have corruption. 

We should be vigilant, always on guard, discerning what is truth and what is deceptive. The only way for us to know that is to study, not just read, but study, God’s Word. 

Are you looking for a Bible study? Are you searching for truth and need some guidance on how to understand scripture?  I’d love to help! 

When you dig for truth, here are five things you can do to understand the Bible:

1. Pray: Ask God to give you clarity and understanding. 

2. Read the passage twice. You miss stuff the first time. 

3. Underline words you don’t know. Look them up. Use a concordance. Even some that seem normal to us can have a different meaning in the Greek or Hebrew language. 

4. Highlight key words or phrases that stick out to you. Like in this passage we pulled out leavenwoman, took, hid, and three measures. Find how those are used in scripture. 

5. Look at the context. See who is talking, who they are addressing and the situation. Lots of clues there. 

Let’s dig for truth! There are beautiful discoveries in God’s Word! 

by Yalanda Merrell

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