Health & Spirit

Why is the Bible so confusing?

By Billy Graham, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: Recently I decided to read the Bible, and I started with the book of Revelation. But after the first few chapters I really got confused, and I don't understand what it's talking about. -- Z.F.

A: Revelation (the last book in the Bible) was written to tell us about the future -- especially the final conflict between God and Satan, and the triumph of Jesus Christ over all the powers of evil and death and Hell. As its first verse declares, it is "The revelation from Jesus Christ ... to show his servants what must soon take place" (Revelation 1:1).

Much of Revelation was written in symbolic language, using word pictures and images that are sometimes difficult for modern readers to understand. (One reason may be because its human author, the Apostle John, was in prison for his faith, and may have had to use symbolic language to get it past the Roman censors.) Throughout the centuries, Christians have found great encouragement in its message -- especially during times of persecution.

Bible scholars haven't always agreed on what each image symbolizes -- but this shouldn't discourage you from reading it, because its central message is clear: God, not Satan, will be the final victor over evil. At the end of the present age Christ's victory will be complete, and the angel's proclamation will be true: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).

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Don't get bogged down, trying to figure out every detail. Instead, look for its central message. However, if you've never read the Bible before, I suggest you start elsewhere, such as one of the Gospels (I often suggest John). They point us to Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy of our worship -- and our lives.


(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:



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