It is a very good endeavor to learn Quran and try to understand it through authentic translations of Quran and authentic books of exegesis.
It is not true that only an Islamic scholar can understand Quran. Quran is a Book of guidance for all mankind and all mankind can understand the meaning of Quran if they make an effort for it. However, there are places in Quran that are only understood best by the proper Ulama and an ordinary person may not be able to understand it or may make a mistake in understanding the correct interpretation of it.
Therefore, it is advisable to learn the Quran through authentic translations/Tafsirs and authentic Ulama. When you will start learning the meaning of Quran; you will realize that assistance of an authentic Scholar of needed most often, without which you will either make mistake in understanding it meaning or will not be able to fathom.
Majority of the noble Companinons (R.A) were born Arabs and were well acquainted with the Arabic grammer in which Quran was revealed and understood the meaning of Quran but Allah instructed the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam) to teach them the Book of Allah. The teaching of Book included the teaching of its meaning as well.
Hence, the need of an authentic teacher can never be ignored when learning Quran.
According to the Hadith of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam, learning and teaching Quran are the best practices in the sight of Allah.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Fatwa Center of America
13 Muharram 1432/ December 19 2010