Over at NEO, Audre and I have been chatting and the thought occured to me that having a structure into which we can arrange narratives, verses, and ideas goes a long way to overcoming confusion. I am a very visual thinker: I often conceptualise using diagrams, visual metaphors, and symbols.
When I first started reading the bible in earnest after my conversion or in the lead up to it, I was often bewildered. I had little in the way of frameworks to understand core doctrines, Hebraic expressions, or historical sequence. Prophecy was even more confusing.
It has taken years and various wrong turns and refining to become comfortable. Of course, I am conscious that I have much to learn and there are matters where I make no intellectual commitment or where I favour something but on the balance of probabilities, not with certainty.
I have found diagrams, intertextuality, historical context, reason, moral intuition, and personal revelation all helpful in various contexts. Without the direct help and providence of God in inspiring commentators and preachers, I would be confused indeed. As many expositors have remarked, Scripture is written for us, not to us. We are not Bronze Age Israelites or Jews of the First Century. But God has preserved what we need to know and has given us inquiring rational minds. He speaks to us in divers ways, not least through His Son and His Spirit.