Self-discovery is important because understanding of the Bible comes by way of revelation. Understanding is not learned like long division, spelling or history. First comes knowledge, then understanding. Knowledge is learned, understanding is discovered, i.e., revealed. When a person reads the Bible story of David and Goliath, they learn the details of the story. This story about the boy giant killer is so well known even unbelievers are familiar with the facts. They have the knowledge … the physical, but not the understanding … the spiritual … they know, but they don’t understand. This comes by way of revelation.
We learn with our mind. We understand with our heart.
Beside the Old and New Testaments, there are two additional segments to the Bible. First is the part that is learned; the content .. the knowledge part. Second is that which is discovered by way of revelation; the spiritual … the understanding part. Knowledge and understanding can also be thought of as the seen and the unseen. The seen corresponds to the knowledge part. It has a physical characteristic. Likewise, the unseen corresponds to understanding which has a spiritual characteristic.
Knowledge is a steppingstone to understanding. However, stepping from knowledge to understanding is not a matter of simply learning and learning and learning until understanding finally arrives. A person can have immense Biblical knowledge and little understanding. On the other hand, a person with less knowledge may have received a wealth of revelations of understanding. There is no set amount of knowledge that causes understanding to begin to be revealed.
Every believer understanding the Bible for themselves is the bedrock of the Christian faith. Without understanding, individual believers flounder, congregations lack power and the body of Christ is fractionalized by confusion, sectarianism and division.