on difficult passages:
it’s occurred to me recently that we often take the wrong approach to deciphering tough portions of the Bible. what i’ve caught myself and others doing is reading the passage, forming an opinion, and then looking for support of that opinion in the rest of the Word. this may not be news to some of the more experienced theologians out there, but our tactic for overcoming such difficulties should in fact be the opposite. that difficult passage you’re looking at is better understood through to the looking-glass of the rest of Scripture. if we take the multitude of scripture that is more easily understood and widely agreed upon (not that masses make right; i’m talking about among Godly theologians), that becomes the support for our understanding. picture stacking two boxes for you to step on to reach a high shelf (there are no ladders in the analogy). you wouldn’t put a big box on top of a small one; that would be unstable. rather, you would put the small one on the bigger and stand firm in that foundation. in the same way, the small misunderstood passage is stronger when supported by the larger, better understood Word (granted our knowledge will never be exhaustive).
just as a caveat, we still need to remember that Bible reading and exegesis are hardly logical, systematic processes. any significant knowledge of God and His Word only comes from constant study and the Presence of the Spirit. no matter how “good” our tactics are, we need the Mighty Counsel to spur us on and enlighten us to His Will. we just need to read and study the Word in a way that exemplifies its authority, consistency, and Truth.