Open Bible

What is the Bible and What is it For? – Part 2

When I was in Middle School, we bought our first personal computer. I believe it was a Packard Bell. At the time I didn’t know much about computers. We had them at school and used them a little bit to play Oregon Trail, but I hadn’t taken a typing class or a class on how to use any of the programs yet.

I remember looking at the keyboard for the first time. I knew what the letters and numbers did. Delete and enter were self-explanatory, as was Caps Lock, but I had no idea what the other keys did, which meant they weren’t all that useful to me until I learned what they did and what they were for.

In a similar way, we may look at the Bible and ask: What is the Bible and what’s it for? Until we are able to answer that question, it is not going to be all that useful to us just like those other keys on the keyboard weren’t all that useful to me.

What is the Bible and What is it for?

(2) The Bible Tells Us the Real Story of Human History

We all inhabit a story. Our culture tells us that we inhabit a story of our own making. One that we forge ourselves, which is why we are often told, “You can be who you want to be and do what you want to do.”

In order to be who we want to be and do what we want to do, in order to write our own story, we are told that we have to discover ourselves. Our culture tells us that we discover who we are by looking within.

While that sounds great, it’s not true. If we look within to discover who we are and begin writing our story based on what we find, it is going to be one messed up, self-absorbed story. All you have to do is look at people’s Facebook or Twitter feeds to know that’s true.

You see, we are messed up people, who have been corrupted by sin, so instead of looking within, we need to look outside of ourselves. By outside of ourselves, I don’t mean to our culture. It’s just as messed up as we are because we make up the culture. Instead, we have to look beyond ourselves and our culture to God.

God’s Story

We look to God not only because He is perfect and able to reveal the truth to us, but also because it’s His story that we inhabit. Listen to what the Psalmist says in Psalm 33,

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Ps 33:6–12)

We inhabit God’s story. A story that began in Genesis chapter 1 with God creating the world and everything in it and one that culminates in Revelation 22 with God’s people inhabiting a New Heavens and New Earth for all eternity. So if we want to find ourselves, if we want to know our true identity, we must read the Bible because it provides the real story of human history.

Four Main Acts

The Bible’s story can be broken down into four main acts.

  • Creation
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Recreation

You see, we weren’t created by a time plus chance evolutionary process. Instead, we were created by God. After man was created, he was placed in a perfect garden and given dominion over all the earth. But man rebelled, which is why we and the world we inhabit is so corrupt and messed up.

God’s Faithfulness

But even though we rebelled against God, He didn’t abandon us. Instead, He sent a Savior to redeem us and make a way for us to once again enjoy a relationship with Him. The Savior is Jesus, who came, died on the cross for our sins, resurrected on the third day defeating death, and ascended into heaven to sit on His throne. One day, Jesus will return and set everything right. After Jesus’ return, we will once again live with God for all eternity in a perfect world.

Now, that’s quick, but that’s the barebones story of the Bible. A story we inhabit. So if we want to learn more about who we are, we don’t look within, instead, we look outside ourselves to God’s Word — the Bible. It tells us who we really are, how this world can be fixed, and what our hope for the future is.

Question for Reflection

  1. What is the real story of human history to you? Is it the biblical story? If not, why?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon: What is the Bible and What Does it Tell Us?

Open Bible

What is the Bible and What is it For? – Part 1

When I was in Middle School, we bought our first personal computer. I believe it was a Packard Bell. At the time I didn’t know much about computers. We had them at school and used them a little bit to play Oregon Trail, but I hadn’t taken a typing class or a class on how to use any of the programs yet.

I remember looking at the keyboard for the first time. I knew what the letters and numbers did. Delete and enter were self-explanatory, as was Caps Lock, but I had no idea what the other keys did, which meant they weren’t all that useful to me until I learned what they did and what they were for.

In a similar way, we may look at the Bible and ask: What is the Bible and what’s it for? Until we are able to answer that question, it is not going to be all that useful to us just like those other keys on the keyboard weren’t all that useful to me.

What is the Bible and What is it for?

(1) The Bible is a Unified Story that Points Us to Jesus 

In 2 Timothy 3:14 and 15 Paul speaking to Timothy says,

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Ti 3:14–15)

When Paul uses the phrase “the sacred writings” he is referring to Scripture. The Scripture for Paul is what we know as the Old Testament. The New Testament wasn’t completed yet. It was being written and collected as Paul was writing his letter.

Here, Paul reminds Timothy and tells us that the Old Testament points us to Jesus. It’s not just a bunch of stories about some dead old guys who did some cool things, like slay a giant or survive a lion’s den. Instead, it’s a unified collection of books that form one story that points us to Jesus. Which means:

  • The Bible isn’t a self-help book.
  • It’s not a science book.
  • It’s not meant to be a comprehensive history book
  • Nor is it a book that’s going to answer all our questions. In fact, a lot of times it’s probably going to raise more questions than it answers. Just read the book of Job or Revelation and you will have a good idea of what I’m talking about.

The Bible isn’t any of these things. Instead, the Bible is God’s special revelation of Himself in a unified collection of books that form one story whose purpose is to point us to Jesus so we can glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That’s what the Bible is.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you realize that the Bible is a unified story that points to Jesus?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon: What is the Bible and What Does it Tell Us?

jesus-prophet-priest-king

Why is it Not a Good Idea that We Reject Jesus as King?

Last time I ended by pointing out that instead of submitting to Jesus as King, allowing Him to reign and rule over our life, we reject Jesus as King while trying to keep Him as Savior. We do that because we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to be saved from eternal punishment, but still get to call the shots. While that might sound like a good idea, it’s not.

Why is it Not a Good Idea that We Reject Jesus as King?

When we are left to call the shots — to determine right and wrong, to set the direction for our lives and the society around us, we mess things up royally.

Think about Adam and Eve. God placed them in a perfect garden to live and work under His perfect reign and rule. He gave them dominion over all the animals and land. He provided the Tree of Life in order to sustain them. He even cultivated a relationship with them — walking with them in the cool of the day. Even though they had all of that, they still found a way to mess things up.

Wanting to be wise and determine right and wrong for themselves, they rebelled against God and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We all know how that turned out. The whole world was plunged into sin.

But Adam and Eve aren’t the only ones who make bad decisions when left to their own devices. I, personally, have made a number of bad decisions. In the past, my finances were one of those areas. I have since learned my lesson, and I’m financially capable now, but in the past, especially in college, if I wanted to go out with my friends, take a trip, or buy something, I just did it or bought it. If I didn’t have the money, I just put it on the credit card. Since I wasn’t paying my credit card off every month, I ended up running my credit card bill up pretty high. Thankfully, God was merciful and gracious, and He allowed me to learn my lesson before it was too late.

Now imagine how different things would have been if I had allowed Jesus to reign and rule over my finances from the beginning. For one I wouldn’t have had to worry about paying off a huge debt. I probably would have had some savings in the bank for a rainy day. And I would’ve been able to use the money I was paying in interest to help further Jesus’ kingdom instead of the credit card companies. Life would’ve been much better, if I would have just let Jesus reign and rule over my finances. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I wanted to be the king. I wanted to call the shots. Just like that didn’t turn out too well for Adam and Eve, it didn’t turn out too well for me, nor will it turn out too well for you.

Finances, however, isn’t the only area we need to allow Jesus to call the shots in. We’ve got to allow Him to call the shots in every area of our lives. If we don’t, we are just setting ourselves up for failure and heartache.

You see, when left to our own devices, we will make bad decisions, which is why we shouldn’t reject Jesus as King.

We Shouldn’t Reject Jesus as King

When we allow Jesus to be king over our lives:

(1) We will experience Jesus’ wise leadership

You see, when we actually live according to what the Bible says, we flourish. Our life is full. Peace, comfort, joy, safety, and security is abundant. Not in a health/wealth kinda way, but in a way that is real and tangible to the Christian. In a way that transcends the circumstances and situations, in which we find ourselves. You see, all those who submit to Jesus as their King can experience this type of life — a full life.

(2) We avoid His Judgment

While Jesus was born as a helpless babe in a manger, He’s now a resurrected King who sits on His throne in heaven. One day, He will return to set up His kingdom on earth. When He does, He will judge all those who haven’t yet submitted to His reign and rule.

So instead of rejecting Jesus as King, we should humbly submit ourselves to Him. Not only to avoid His judgment but also so we can experience His wise leadership and the full and joyful life that comes from following Him.

Conclusion

So to return to our original question: Who is Jesus and how should we respond to Him? Jesus is not only:

  • A Prophet who proclaims the good news of salvation.
  • A Priest who reconciles our relationship with the Father through His death on the cross,
  • He’s also a wise King whose leadership is worth submitting to and following.

My hope that through these articles you have come to see Jesus in all those ways. That you see Him as Prophet, Priest, and King. Seeing Him in those ways, that you listen to His message, hope in His salvation, and submit to His leadership. If you do that, you will receive the greatest gift you could ever receive — the gift of salvation.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you recognize these truths about Jesus?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon Jesus as King