Therefore many of His (Jesus’) Disciples, when they heard
this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand
it?’”(Jn. 6:60) The word “hard” comes from a Greek word
meaning “difficult.” There’s no question that many of
Jesus’ teachings were considered hard to understand. In
fact, there are many things in Christ’s Gospel which are
considered difficult to understand by many today. The truth
is, there really are some things recorded in the New
Testament which are difficult to understand. However, the
reason one considers something hard to understand is crucial
to whether or not they will someday understand them, or if
they’ll just turn away from the truths of Jesus, just as these
folks in John six did.
Consider three reasons folks fail to understand
certain passages. (1) Some passages seem to contradict
well established traditions. When Jesus taught God’s truth
about marriage and divorce in Matthew 19, his disciples
decided that it was better for a man to remain unmarried
(Matt. 19:10). The most popular belief of the day was that a
man could put his wife away for a number of reasons.
Jesus, however, taught that fornication was the only valid
reason. The same is true today. There are many who will
not come to Christ because they are in an adulterous
marriage. There are also many preachers who teach that
they don’t have to leave their unlawful wives. To them, the
Lord’s teaching continues to be a hard saying.
Another reason some may not understand a passage
of scripture is because (2) they have not yet studied it in
detail. They need to compare other passages, study some
commentaries, use a bible dictionary or some other tools.
With diligence, these passages can and will be understood.
In fact, we are commanded to understand the will of the
Lord (Eph. 17).
A third reason certain passages are difficult to
understand is simply (3) because they contradict certain
practices that folks refuse to denounce. Homosexuals
refuse to cease their abominable lifestyle, so they fail to
understand passages which teach against it. Drunkards
refuse to give up their bottle, so they fail to understand
passages which condemn drinking. Fornicators refuse to
give up their promiscuity, so they fail to understand
passages condemning fornication. As a result, we have in
our society homosexuals claiming to be faithful Christians.
We also have drunkenness and fornication existing even in
many “faithful” churches of Christ. Accepting one verse
will keep one from falling into the two dishonorable
categories mentioned. “If anyone wills to do His will, he
shall know concerning the doctrine” (Jn. 7:17). If you truly
have a desire to do God’s will, regardless of the cost, those
hard sayings will eventually, with study, melt away.