Does The Bible Have Hidden Meanings?
Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey your word. Psalm 119:67
You’ll find them online and in book stores— books about the Bible, with a different twist. They all claim to be revealing hidden, secret codes contained in the Bible; and the average person thinks, “Wow! This is great. New revelations which computers have brought to light.”
It’s true that computers have done some pretty awesome things for Bible students. Bible study software brings a myriad of translations and contextual study material to anyone with a computer. Scholars have taken the texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and computerized them, analyzing word patterns and synthesizing missing portions of the text. All of that is helpful and illuminating.
But what about these secret codes and revelations? Is there any real truth in this? Not really. Statistics and how you handle the control factors can prove almost anything. This fad of trying to make the Bible reveal its hidden secrets isn’t new at all.
Even in Paul’s day, groups attempted to claim distinctive insights to God’s revelation. Gnostics, they were called, and Paul condemned them. At the beginning of the second century, some took the figure “666” from Revelation 13:8, referring to the mark of the Beast, and converted the number to Greek letters, thus identifying Nero, the Caesar who was giving Christians such a hard time, as the Antichrist. But Nero died, and numerologists, as they have come to be called, had to find a new whipping boy.
At the beginning of this century, someone measured the pyramids in Egypt and converted those numbers to prophetic utterances and thrilled audiences with their “precise, allegedly scientific, findings.” But, in fact and reality, their discoveries failed. They were based on myth, not truth.
Actually the New Testament condemns this kind of “hidden secrets” revelation. Paul told Timothy that the time would come when men and women would turn from the truth to myths and fables.
Don’t waste your time or money on hidden revelations but focus on clear biblical truth. Sadly enough, most people don’t know enough truth today to evaluate falsehood. The fact is, you have to know what a straight line is before you know what a crooked one is. Make it a practice to get into this Book every day. Don’t simply read it or pick it up and wherever it falls open, that’s what you read for the day. Study it and make it yours.
The Bible is an anthology of books, with Old Testament books falling into five major divisions, at least in your English Bible, and the New Testament being grouped into four divisions: the Gospels, a book of history, the letters to different churches and individuals, and then finally a book which is primarily prophetic, dealing with the end times, the book of Revelation.
When you read and study this awesome book, there are three questions which you need to ask and need to answer. Question #1: Ask, “What does it say?” Sometimes taking a notebook and summarizing what you have read, writing a few sentences or a paragraph or two, helps you retain the core of what you have read or studied.
Question #2: Ask, “What does it mean?” “Am I qualified to answer that?” you may ask. Absolutely! God’s Word was not given to intellectuals or clerics who have the inside on truth, but to common men and women. Usually, the obvious is exactly what God intended you to think.
Finally, ask Question #3: “How do I apply this to my life?” That’s application, and here you apply truth to reality. It’s here that the Word makes the difference. Forget the mysteries. Go with the obvious.
Resource reading: 1 Timothy 4