When it comes to understanding your Bible, it really comes down to one thing: work. You work to understand it. God works to give you understanding. Both are necessary. The brightest minds in the world are unable to grasp the truth of God’s word without divine help (i.e. illumination). And God will never give illumination to you without you giving it some effort to understand (i.e. contemplation).
In 2 Timothy 2:7, Paul writes, “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” Paul had just given several illustrations of divine truth. For Timothy to understand his words, he needed to think about them (i.e. “consider what I say”). Furthermore, he needed the Lord to help him (“for the Lord will give you understanding”).
The same is true for us. For us to understand the Scriptures, we need to think long and hard about what the Bible says. Additionally, we need divine enablement to understand.