We said above that, when it comes to the bible in many cases, without the guidance of the Spirit, you just won't get it. The phrase 'get it' is especially suited here because it can be a lot like getting a joke. It requires something to click in, in your understanding for you to get a joke. In fact there is a joke on this very topic. For some people, it seems that they laugh 3 times at every joke. The first time the laugh is when you tell it. The second time they laugh is after you explain it. And the third time they laugh is a day or so later when they finally get it!
Apply this to bible study. You can read the verses and get a little bit. You can have some teacher explain them to you, and get a little more. But when the Holy Spirit gives you insight, they you really have a handle on things.
Now consider a children's dot-to-dot coloring book. You must connect the dots in the correct order before you can see the picture in order to color it. Connecting the dots is like stringing the pearls. I first heard the phrase 'stringing pearls' in a teaching of Zola Levitt. It was used in the time of Jesus to describe a common method of expounding upon the scriptures practiced in the Jewish Synagogues in Galilee and Judea. A speaker would hold forth on a theme of his choice and cite verses from different parts of the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms as part of his teaching. The scriptures are compared to pearls and the train of thought that connects them is a string joining the pearls. So pearls were understood to symbolize verses of Holy Scripture. The dots are like pearls. When they are strung together in the right order, you begin to see the picture clearly. So it takes some study to connect the dots, and then a flash of insight to recognize what the picture is.
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