In verses 15 and 16, Paul contrasts strongly two different attitudes towards God and his word.
In verse 15, the person reads from the books that Moses wrote. Those books are the first 5 books in the Bible. Therefore, they are part of the word of God, and they are extremely important*. Their message will change the life of a person who truly understands them. However, this particular person does not on this occasion understand them; he merely reads them. Of course he ought to understand them, because Godís message in those books is clear. When something covers a personís eyes, he cannot see properly. In the same manner, this person has something that seems to cover his heart (his mind). So he cannot understand properly.
A very wonderful thing happens in verse 16. Paul is still describing the same person, but a wonderful change happens in that personís life*. Now the person is not merely reading words on a page. Instead, he has turned to the Lord. In Paulís letters, Ďthe Lordí usually means Christ. This person has invited Christ into his life; he is now allowing God to change him.
The result is that, suddenly, the person can understand. Of course he cannot understand the whole Bible at once. However, the reality of his life and his experience of God has changed. He now knows what he must do to serve God. He understands how God wants him to behave. The Bible is not just a set of books that he cannot understand; instead God himself teaches him through it*.
So, in his heart, that person is now able to know God and to serve him.
Next part: The freedom that Godís Spirit gives (3:17)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.