Like any other subject we have decided to learn, how well we do will depend on the kinds of attitudes with which we begin. For example, if our minds are already made up on what the Bible says or means and we are basically closed to new understanding, there is no real reason to study the Bible further. Openness in learning, as opposed to being closed minded, is the first key to studying the Scriptures. This is an attitude that says, “I am teachable because I do not know everything but want to learn more.”
The second attitude is characterized by a hunger and thirst for truth. No one who does not possess a strong desire to learn the truth of Scripture in the way we have just described will pursue it for very long. A real longing to know truth is accompanied, of course, by a willingness to let the Holy Spirit teach us through our own efforts as well as through the work of others. This means, of course, that we will have to learn how to listen both with our minds and with our hearts to the Spirit of God who dwells in all those who have come to know and follow Christ.
Two other vital attitudes are more difficult to explain. One is the necessity of ambiguity when it is called for. Ambiguity is the willingness to let issues remain indefinite or undecided until we have more information or better understanding. We will not jump to conclusions too quickly, remembering that growth is a progressive thing. We should expect, therefore, that the truth of Scripture will be made known to us gradually, and we should not assume we will know everything at once. Knowing the truth of Scripture is like the way we came to know many other complicated subjects in school; one grade or level builds upon another. You cannot know, for example, the complex theorems of geometry if you have not first studied basic math. The same is true spiritually. Certain complex ideas follow more basic truths, and many of them must be learned in progression or only after we have developed in our spiritual maturity. We therefore should have the attitude that allows for the progressive unfolding of truth.