Why People Miss the Obvious

Text: Acts 28:23-29

Paul spoke to the Jews in Rome from the Law and the Prophets intending to lead them to Christ. However, some would not believe even though the truth should have been obvious to them when it was presented. Sadly, the same thing happens today – people miss some obvious truths in God’s word. We will consider four reasons why this happens.

An Illustration

  • In the assembly, as the sermon begins, someone opens a nice, large, new Bible to follow along
  • Person A (across the aisle) doesn’t see it – looking another direction (up front)
  • Person B (in the row behind) doesn’t see it – looking past it to focus on the front
  • Person C (in the same row) doesn’t see it – distracted with own Bible, notes, kids, etc.
  • Person D (preaching) doesn’t see it – sees the person, but the view of the Bible is blocked
  • Even though the Bible is out in the open, different people might fail to see it for different reasons – not looking (person A), overlooking (person B), distracted (person C), wrong perspective (person D)
  • These are the same ways that people miss the obvious when it comes to what the Bible teaches

Some Verses That Contain Obvious Truths

  • Mark 16:16 – different people will have different theories about who will be saved; Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved
  • 1 Peter 3:21 – people have many ideas about baptism, but most deny that it is necessary for salvation; yet the apostle Peter stated the truth very plainly (“baptism now saves you“)
  • James 2:24 – many believe we are saved by faith alone; faith is certainly essential (Hebrews 11:6); yet James explicitly said we are “justified by works and not by faith alone
  • Hebrews 5:9 – this is related to the previous verse; many do not believe we must obey to be saved; yet the writer clearly said that Jesus is “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation

Why People Miss the Obvious Truths

  • They are not looking – if we are not looking for the truth, we will not find the truth; example of Josiah and the lost book (2 Kings 22:8-13); we must seek if we expect to find the truth (Matthew 7:7); go to the source (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17); examine the Scriptures diligently (Acts 17:11)
  • They are overlooking – focus on part of the Scriptures to the exclusion of another part; example of David and Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-7, 13); we must examine ourselves first (2 Corinthians 13:5; James 1:25; Matthew 7:1-5); example of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:23); we cannot neglect any part of God’s word in teaching (Acts 20:27) or in practice (Matthew 28:20)
  • They are distracted – focused on other things; example of Felix (Acts 24:24-27); there will never be a “convenient” time to follow the truth (Luke 9:23); if we allow ourselves to be distracted by earthly things, they will choke out the word (Luke 8:14)
  • They have the wrong perspective – their preconceived notions prevent them from accepting the truth; example of the crowd in Capernaum (John 6:14-15, 60, 63, 66); this is a common problem among those who are sincere people yet not in the Lord’s church; they read their preconceived notions into various Bible passages and change the meaning of them; if they could approach the Scriptures without the preconceived notions, they could see the truth; we need to be sure we are also willing to do the same


  • God has revealed His word in a way that we can understand it (Ephesians 3:4)
  • Some miss the truth – we need to do what we can to correct them (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
  • All of us have been wrong before (Titus 3:2-3) – we must keep the right attitude (Matthew 7:12) as we try to help

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