Everyday Christian: I do not understand the Bible

I like to read the Bible on the train to work, something I’ve been doing more of since returning to the office and not just putting on my slippers at the home office.

COVID restrictions and the subsequent WFH* revolution put a dent in those commute quiet times, so it’s nice to be back. With a trip that takes about half an hour – including changing trains – it’s a good whack of dedicated time in God’s Word.

Yes, amazingly, I find it easy to get stuck into the Bible when I am surrounded by strangers staring at their phones. Oh, I always have headphones in – listening to some form of relaxing music, without lyrics. So I can drown out that bloke over there who is loudly speaking about what he’s going to buy at the shops on the way home and, no, it won’t be hamburgers again.

I read a real-life Bible too; you know, one of those old-fashioned things made from paper that allow you to flick back and forward with greater ease than when your signal is dropping out in a tunnel.

I was on my way home this week and was all set to have me some quality scripture time. I’ve recently started to wear reading glasses and my not-s0-fuzzy-anymore focus was set. But as I randomly turned to John chapter 12 – some days, I just like to open anywhere in the Bible and check it out  – my focus internally was lacking.

Somewhat fitting for Easter (if a little after the events), I was reading a passage where Jesus predicts his death in John 12:20-36. But it was if NOTHING was sinking in.

I’ve definitely read this passage before and it features such memorable statements as Jesus declaring, “The one who loves his life will lose it and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (verse 25). But my mind kept wandering, then scampering back, then hitting a brick wall as I could not get a handle on what on earth Jesus was talking about in this part of John’s gospel.

Now, I don’t expect to be able to “get” God’s word at every sentence. I’m not, well, God. But lately, I’ve been reading the Bible more slowly and deliberately, in a bid to help me savour it and not just smash it out. And that’s been going quite well in terms of understanding – and conviction – until this day when John 12 stopped me in my tracks.

So what was going on? Not entirely sure. As I think about it, all I’m coming up with is that, maybe, God just wants me to keep on going. Even when I have a commute like the other day. To not let the times of confusion or consternation derail my delving daily into what his Word has to reveal.

So here’s me looking forward to my next train ride to Bible Town. And if you look up from your Instagram feed on your ride to work and see me across the aisle staring perplexed at John 12, could you come across and give me some insights? Thanks.


*Working From Home