What is the Bible? Is it inspired or man-made, inerrant or faulty, myth or history? For some, the Bible is a wondrous book given by God to men. For others, the Bible is a collection of myths used to control people’s thinking. Whatever the opinion, it goes without saying that the Bible is perhaps the singularly most influential book in history.
The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors, over about 1600 years, on three continents, in three languages. It contains history, poetry, fiction, doctrine, narration, and prophecy. It is historically accurate, contains incredible claims of God’s work and words, has prophecy, and it all points to one man: Jesus.
The Jews wrote and assembled the Old Testament and the Christians wrote and assembled the New. Both testaments contain teaching, prophecies, and doctrine. But, it is the New Testament where we see Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament. In fact, the Bible is about Jesus. “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me,” (John 5:39). I always tell people when they come up to something difficult, “Put Jesus into it and see if it makes sense.” Usually, the light comes on and things then make sense. Take for example, the offering of Isaac by Abraham and notice the similarities between Isaac and Jesus: Only begotten Son, Isaac in Genesis 22:2; Jesus in John 3:16. Offered on a mountain (hill) Gen. 22:2 and Matt. 21:10. Took donkey to place of sacrifice, Gen. 22:3 and Matt. 21:2-11. Two men went with him, Gen. 22:3 Mark 15:27; Luke 23:33. Three day journey – Jesus: three days in the grave, Gen. 22:4 and Luke 24:13-21. Son carried wood on his back up hill, Gen. 22:6 John 19:17. God will provide for Himself the lamb, Gen. 22:8 and John 1:29. Son was offered on the wood, Gen. 22:9 and Luke 23:33. Ram caught in thicket of thorns, Gen. 22:13 and Jesus crown of thorns John 19:2. The comparison continues, but you can clearly see that Jesus is reflected in the Old Testament which explains why Isaac was offered. He was a prophetic typology pointing to Jesus as the true sacrifice. Okay, so we now see that the Bible is about Jesus. This is fine intellectually, but what does it mean to us as Christians on a spiritual level?
As Christians, the Bible is not simply a book of stories and moral truths. It is the very word of God, inspired, inerrant, true, and infallible. It is God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). But, it is also more than that. It is the truth of God that resonates in the souls of those in whom the Holy Spirit indwells. It is the means and the measure of our lives made real by God’s indwelling. It is the revelation of God’s will for us and the world. It is the promise of God to deliver the believers. It is, in reality, the loving and true words of our God. In this sense, it is alive.
Because of the God-breathed nature of the Bible, we Christians need to inhale its goodness on a regular basis. It is no different than our need to breathe. We must constantly take in air in order to live. Likewise, we must constantly take in God’s word in order to live spiritually and to grow in our love and obedience to God. We cannot ignore His word and expect to grow in grace and life. We cannot set His word aside and expect to walk in goodness and truth. We cannot forget about God’s word and expect to walk in holiness. On the contrary, in order to grow in our relationship with God, we must have the word of God in us. In order to walk in goodness and truth, we must study His word so it can guide us. In order to live in holiness, we must live in God’s word. There is no other way. We need His word. We need His truth. We need His food for our souls. It is the cross of Christ that makes all this possible in us. The cross is where the love and truth of God was most perfectly manifested.
God’s word, when deeply studied, reveals two things: God and yourself. It reveals to you the sovereign and holy God of the universe who loves you and desires your salvation and presence. But, it also reveals the sin in you. It is like a mirror that enables you to see who you really are as it reflects yourself back to you compared to Jesus, the one who sacrificed Himself for us so that we might become more like Him as we study His holy word.
So, do you meditate on God’s word? Do you make it a part of your life? Do you desire it like medicine, like food, like air? Do you experience its goodness as it washes over your soul and cleanses your heart and mind from the filth of the world? If not, repent, open the Bible, pray for understanding and truth, and then read. Do it regularly. You need it.