What would you include in a guide to the Bible?

How would you explain what the Bible is to someone who has never heard of the Bible, or who was fed anti-Bible propaganda by the secular media?  It is still the privilege of believers, guided by the Holy Spirit, to testify about the Kingdom of God. It is only God’s Word, the Holy Bible that makes the difference between eternal life and death.

When I became a follower of Jesus in 1976, they told me to get a Bible and read it. Despite some rudimentary teachings, I had to figure out what it was all about by myself.  After 42 years of study and meditation on God’s wonderful gift to us, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we want to write a booklet to help people get a good idea of Scripture.  The return of Jesus is much nearer and time is precious, so we want to go for short and easy to read.  Some aspects we want to cover:

A.  The Bible is the only one of its kind.

It is the only book of its kind that was ever written in history.  There is no book like it, and there never will be, because,

  • All we know about God, creation and the eternal Kingdom comes from the Bible.  That means the Bible is extremely valuable since it is the only book that reveals the invisible God.  It is a single edition book.  It had no updates, no revisions and nothing is ever changed.
  • This Book is so important that there have been concerted efforts to destroy it since the time of the Roman Empire.  Governments have spent billions to get rid of the physical Bible and/or to undermine and destroy faith in its message.
  • The Communist efforts to rid their countries of churches, pastors and Bibles must have cost billions.  Why such expenditure? Does the Bible teach followers of Jesus to bomb government buildings, to assassinate leaders, to organise coups?  No, none of it, yet even today we read about the persecution of Christians in China and North Korea.
  • The strange aspect of the Bible is that it causes some to love God and others to  ridicule Him.  Hatred and actions against God’s Book and His followers are normal, but because of better communications, we know more about it.  It will never stop since the ruler of this world, the devil, hates God and His followers.

B. The Bible is not that easy to understand.

  • Followers of Jesus agree that the Bible is a marvellous, special book.  It is unlike any other book ever written in human history.  Yet it is not easy to understand, because it consists of different books written by various people (inspired by the Holy Spirit) who lived hundreds of years apart.
  • Why did God, who is all-knowing and almighty, not give us a book that is easy to understand – something like, ‘The Idiot’s Guide to Understanding God and His Kingdom?’
  • Why didn’t God explain who He is, what He plans to do and how He plans to do it, step by step?  No, it was not written in textbook style that begins with A and ends with Z.  One can almost call it ‘disorganised.’
  • For the person who comes into contact with God’s Word, it might be a bewildering experience.  God relies on His children to nourish and feed new believers.

C. Strange aspects of the Bible

It consists of  a compendium of 66 books that were written over a period of 1,400 years by around 40 writers who lived in different times (Genesis dates to around 1,500 BC and the last book, Revelation, before 70 AD).  And… it makes mind boggling statements like:

  • God spoke the universe into existence in six ordinary 24 hour days.
  • An ax head floated and a person walked on water – scientifically impossible.  People know it can’t happen.  Why do we know it is the truth?
  • A few loaves and fish were multiplied to feed thousands.
  • God is ‘a Three-in-One’ King.
  • A brilliant light, fire, four living creatures, wheels that move in many directions (the book of the prophet Ezekiel).
  • They nailed the King of the Jews to a Cross.  It was supreme humiliation by the Roman overlords.  However, on the third day, His grave was empty.  His body was never found.
  • Angels blow trumpets, a huge mountain all ablaze falls into the sea and there are strange creatures that look like frogs (in the book of Revelation).

Conclusion

Despite all the seeming problems or questions, the Bible is truth, from A to Z.  There are logical explanations for the miracles.  Six day creation is a fact.  So it is our desire in 2018 (also see 2018 Resolution), to help people along the journey of the narrow road, a road that leads to eternal wealth and health.

But, please, we need the help of our readers.  Let us know which aspects about the Bible we should include, what questions people ask, et cetera.  Thanks, and a blessed 2018.

2018 Resolution

It is usual for people to make new year’s resolutions.  This year we trust the Lord to help us give more attention to His very wonderful, yet in some instances baffling book, the Bible.  All followers of Jesus are completely dependent upon Scripture, but sometimes we forget exactly what a supernatural product the Bible is.

What a unique book!

On the one hand it is an ordinary book of paper and ink.  On the other hand it has changed the lives of more people than any other book ever written, because it contains the personal words of God to mankind.  The Bible truly is a supernatural product, not of man, but of God.

The Bible’s unparalleled introduction

  • What merely human writer would begin a book with, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth?’ 1  Who is God, and where did Moses (commonly accepted as the writer) who was not trained in theology or modern science, get the insight to make such a claim?
  • How did he know that an omnipotent Creator God made the universe with its galaxies, our solar system, planet Earth and all its myriad lifeforms, in six twenty-four hour days?
  • Genesis 1 gives us a clue that the Bible is not only about the natural but also about the supernatural: the wonderful realisation that we have a Father, a Creator God, a King who cares and loves His creation.

Extraordinary origin

  • No human can design a book like the Bible.  Many have tried, but none of them have had the life changing effects of the Bible.  It has influenced entire nations over the ages.  Why? Because it is inspired by the wonderful God, the Holy Spirit.
  • The 66 books were written over a period of 1,400 years.  The approximately 40 different writers (all Jews, except Luke, a Greek) lived in different parts of Israel and its neighbouring countries at different times in history.  They all wrote under the influence of the invisible, yet all-knowing Holy Spirit.

The Bible’s strange effect

  • Multitudes have studied and still study this marvellous book, while others spend their time and energy to debunk it, like famous atheists Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, et cetera.  They love nothing more than to challenge believers and spew hatred on God, the Bible and the Church.  Yet it is to no avail, because the Bible is still around and still changes people’s lives on a daily basis.
  • World leaders through the ages tried to destroy it, like the Roman emperors, Communism, Islam and atheism.  Civilisations come and go, yet the Bible prevails.  God remains on His throne in heaven in all His glory until He will establish His throne in the New Jerusalem.  The impotent crusades of His haters will not change one whit of His plan to establish His Son, the Bridegroom, and His Bride, the Church, on the new earth.
  • No barrier, like the Iron Curtain, Bamboo Curtain, Oil Sheiks or Atheist Walls can ever stop the influence of the powerful Word of God.  Efforts to get rid of the Bible are destined to fail consistently.

Scripture explains what we see around us.

  • God ‘exalted above all things [His] name and [His] word.’ 2  Without the Bible we cannot understand what life is about.
  • For example the abuse Israel suffers (the United Nations and other nations, as well as many Muslim countries attempt to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jews).
  • The Jewish nation gives us an indication of how God preserves His people.  They were scattered throughout the world for almost two thousand years, but He protected them as a distinct nationality.  In 1948 the nation of Israel was once again established in the country God promised to their ancestor Abraham.
  • We never have to fear that God will fail with His grand program to gather people from all over the world to become the citizens of His Kingdom.

The Bible is not just an ordinary book about some far off deity.

  • No, it is about an Almighty God who calls people to become citizens of that fantastic country that will never disappear or fade away. 3
  • What a glorious hope of an exciting eternal future in the presence of the Most High, with free food, lodging, health, holidays, et cetera!  It is mind boggling that the Ruler of the Universe takes notice of small, insignificant, ordinary people.  He does not particularly favour the powerful and wealthy, but all those who come to Him and seek Him in humility.
  • The apostle Paul wrote, inspired by the Holy Spirit, ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.’ 4   We want to add, ‘We are not ashamed of the Bible, for it is the source of untold riches and blessings for those who take the trouble to investigate it.’

Conclusion

The Bible’s contents have never been updated and never will be.  Yet it has been translated into many languages and new translations come out all the time.  They are based on the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.  Despite the work of some theologians like Bart Ehrman who like to cast doubt on Scripture, the Bible still changes the lives of millions of people.  Millions still love the Book.  Millions still live by the Book.  Many give their lives for the Book.  What a Book!

References

  1. Genesis 1:1
  2. Psalm 138:2b
  3. 1 Peter 1:4
  4. Romans 1:16

Why Genesis 1 leads to big benefits

Scripture clearly outlines a chain of events that are dependent on God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth in 6 days.  It is only because God is the all-powerful Creator that He could steer history towards the big benefits He promised, in the following way:

Creation, Fall and Promise of Restoration

  • God created the garden of Eden.  He put Adam and his wife there and allowed the serpent, the devil, to test their loyalty and love for God.
  • Adam failed and both he and his wife, Eve, were expelled from the Garden so that they would not live forever in their fallen state.
  • At the same time, the omnipotent Creator promised a Saviour to restore them, ‘…He [the coming Messiah] will crush the head [of that ancient serpent, called the devil, or Satan].’ 1  The work of the Messiah would be to bring anyone who desires it, back to Eden.  Eden is a type of the heavenly Kingdom.  By the work of the promised Messiah people will once again have the blessed relationship with the Father and walk and talk with Him as they did in the garden.

The all-powerful Creator steered history to accomplish the goal of Genesis 3:15.

  • God called Abraham (to be the father of the eventual Jewish nation) and promised him that he will be a blessing to the whole world (it happened through his offspring, Jesus). 2
  • God promised king David that He will establish one of his offspring to rule eternally (it would be Jesus). 3

The momentous event to fulfil Genesis 3:15 arrived.

  • The angel Gabriel went to Nazareth and announced to a virgin called Mary, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; His Kingdom will never end.’ 4
  • Only because God is the Creator, could the angel tell Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’ 5
  • Through the ages people scoffed at the idea of a virginal conception.  They forget that the Most High showed His omnipotence in the six days creation of the universe.

The resurrection

  • The resurrection of Jesus was only possible because God is the omnipotent Creator of Genesis 1.
  • There was a titanic clash between God and the ancient serpent to prevent the resurrection of Jesus, but Scripture shows God’s superior strength, ‘That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.’ 6

The arrival of the Holy Spirit empowers believers

  • John the Baptist promised, ‘He [Jesus] will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’ 7   The authority God the Father gave to God the Son, Jesus, after His accession, is the reason we can be baptised with God the Holy Spirit.  He enables us to learn to live in victory over the serpent’s lies and accusations.

Jesus’ omnipotence as Creator and Saviour finishes God’s plan. 

  • Jesus not only forgives our sins when we repent.  The New Testament tells us of His omnipotence as Creator. 8
  • The book of Revelation shows how Jesus wraps up this present creation on our behalf.  It begins with a magnificent scene in Revelation 5.  A mighty angel asks in a loud voice, ‘who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’   The scroll sets the end of this creation in motion and therefore represents our future inheritance, the new heavens and earth.
  • Apparently there is nobody worthy to open the scroll.  The tragedy of it struck the disciple John and he cried his heart out.  Then, “…one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 9

The promise of Genesis 3:15 is finally fulfilled.

  • In Revelation 6-8 Jesus opens the seals, the trumpets and the bowls that are necessary to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.  Only then can the glorious New heavens and earth, the New Jerusalem, the Bridegroom and the Bride’s banquet, and the eternal reign of peace, finally come.  At last Satan is completely crushed and banished to the lake of burning sulphur where he will be tortured for ever.
  • Just imagine this glorious scene!  ‘Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb….  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants [we, the faithful followers of Jesus, resurrected and renewed] will serve Him.  They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.’ 10 

Conclusion

All this is only possible because the message from Genesis 1 rings loud and clear: God is powerful, He promises (speaks) and He fulfils.  Cut Genesis 1 out of the Bible, and you lose the rest of the revelation of Scripture.  Without God, the Omnipotent Creator, there is no power to do what needs to be done.  Only God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who were all involved in the six days creation event, have the power to see that what God promised, will come to pass.

References

  1. Genesis 3:15, Revelation 12:9
  2. Genesis 12:2-3
  3. 2 Samuel 7:12-16
  4. Luke 1:30-33
  5. Luke 1:35
  6. Ephesians 1:19-21
  7. Luke 3:16
  8. John 1:1; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2
  9. Revelation 5:5
  10. Revelation 22:1,3,4