“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” – Matthew 12:40
Sometimes you might be troubled while studying the Bible, because you’ll come across passages that just don’t seem to add up. They may even appear contradictory, and that’s disconcerting, because the Word of God just shouldn’t contradict itself. For instance, in my early days of Christian growth, I was troubled by the above passage in Matthew. Now, this really bothered me, because no matter how many times I counted, I couldn’t see how Jesus was in the tomb for three nights! But several years later, a teacher explained that first century writers would count a day and a night if it was any part of that day or night. So, Jesus died on Friday and was dead for Friday night, Saturday night, and part of Sunday – thus in that day, it was considered three nights. That insight pulled it all together for me; it finally made perfect sense.
In that light – I am so thankful that we have the Holy Spirit and wise teachers to help us understand things we don’t see at first reading of the Word. That’s why Bible studies are so vitally important and why we need Spirit-filled teachers to guide us. Most of all, that is why we need the Holy Spirit to give us insight into areas that we can’t understand on our own.