As you read the bible, there are many passages that are going to be perplexing or difficult to understand, and Luke 16:1-16 is one of those. So, how do you approach such a difficult passage, or approach any passage so as to allow your Father to speak to you from it?
Firstly, we need to begin by valuing all of Scripture, believing that ‘all of Scripture is breathed out by God and so is useful for teaching, correcting & training us in what following Him looks like.’ (My paraphrase of 2 Timothy 3:16-17). I have learnt to not be put off by perplexing passages but rather drawn in by them. So value all of Scripture, ask God to speak to you from it, don’t be quick to move on to more comfortable, less challenging or more easily understood passages.
Secondly, get into the habit of asking questions of the text. Bombarding the text with questions is a great way of extracting the original meaning and so being able to understand what it means for you today. Who said it? Why? To who was I said? Where was it said? What did they say? What does it mean for me? What should I do now?….. Apart from the who,why,what, how, to whom & what now type of questions I have learnt to ask the following questions as well:
What questions/mystery does this text address, ask or answer?
What tension does this text create or resolve?
What issues in life does this text address?
What does this text say about God, myself or others?
I urge you to not just read what others have gleaned from Scripture but to develop a hunger to hear God speak to you from all of Scripture, even from the challenging, difficult or perplexing passages. Your Father wants to speak with you, wants to guide, encourage, correct & inspire you as you seek to follow Him and His ways and mission for you life.