Do I need a degree in Biblical studies before I can read and understand the Bible?
Scripture talks about how clear it is to read and understand. It was expected for believers to not only read it but be able to understand it well enough to teach to their children. (Deut.6:6-7) “These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart, & you shall teach them diligently to your children & shall talk of them when you sit in your house, & when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, & when you rise.”
God expected his people to discuss His word with proper application. The Bible makes the claim that even the simple are made wise by reading it. The simple are not merely stupid, but one who is prone to stray, even this person is made wise by it. Which means there is no excuse for a believer to think of themselves too foolish.
Jesus mentions clarity of scripture. (Matt.22:29) “You are wrong because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.”
Definition of Clarity of Scripture according to Wayne Grudem = “The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help & being willing to follow it. “
So why do people misunderstand scripture?
First off the disciples misunderstood. It was either the fact that what Jesus was sharing had not come to pass or it was a lack of faith, or a hardness of heart. This is one of the reasons there are different views on interpretation of scripture. The problem lies not with scripture but with ourselves. Scripture is able to be understood, not all understand it equally well.
Something else we should take in consideration when it comes to exegeting scripture. First, maybe scripture is silent about a subject, and second, we should not interpret scripture to fit our lifestyle or personal inadequacies.
Watch John Piper briefly talk about the clarity of scripture.