Kenneth Samuel: Knowing and Understanding

"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." - Luke 24:45 

Last year I dropped out of a Georgia Motorcycle Rider's Course.  It's course that is recommended to all Georgia residents who intend to drive a motorcycle.  The course requires demonstrated proficiency in driving a motorcycle.  I'd carefully read the Motorcycle Manual.  I knew that when I came to a turn on the motorcycle, I was to lean into the turn and roll through the turn.  Lean in and roll through.  I had it conceptually.  

But on the motorcycle, when I actually came to a turn, I leaned in, but I didn't roll through.   I rolled off the motorcycle.  And I kept rolling off the motorcycle.  After my third spill (with all of the accompanying bruises to my body and the bike), I decided to give it up and regroup.  

I had the Motorcycle Manual.  I read the Motorcycle Manual.  I understood the Motorcycle Manual.  But when it came to actually applying what I had read, there was apparently something I didn't quite comprehend.   

People often make the mistake of assuming that just because something is read, it is comprehended.  A literal knowledge of something is one thing; an understanding of something is much deeper.  

The disciples of Jesus had knowledge of Scriptures concerning the Messiah - the Promised One sent from God.  But even with their knowledge, they had problems actually applying what they knew to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in real time.  So after his resurrection, Jesus had to open the minds of his disciples so they could comprehend the Scriptures that they already knew.  

Understanding Scripture is not just a matter of reading Scripture.  It really has a lot to do with the mindset that we bring to the pages of the Bible.  If our mindsets are pre-disposed only to familiar interpretations and completely closed to new revelations, we are not likely to really comprehend the meaning of Scripture for our times and our lives.  

The Bible is not static, it's dynamic - which means that it's truths are continually unfolding to minds that are open to new insights and new ways of experiencing God.  Reading the Bible is only the beginning to a lifetime of exploring and discovering and experiencing what the Bible really means.  

I still have my Motorcycle Manual.  And I still have the desire to navigate a two-wheeled vehicle through the streets of Georgia.  But in my next attempt to get a motorcycle license, I will definitely aim to comprehend on the road the things I've read in the manual. 


Dear God, help us today to better understand the things we know; and to apply them appropriately along the roads of life.  Amen.

From UCC's StillSpeaking devotionals. Visit