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.

Are you eating from a tree of life?

The Word of God is the Gate to immense treasures in this life and the one to come.

1 Peter 1:3-5 says, ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you….’   To miss that inheritance is the most terrible tragedy that can befall anyone.  We learn how to claim our eternal inheritance in the Word of God, the revelation of God’s plan for man.  It is a reliable document, but there is a world-wide attempt to sow seeds of distrust in it.

The keys to our inheritance

  1. The keys to open the way to our inheritance are: wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  We call it the ‘small trinity.’
  2. God used those keys to create: ‘By wisdom God laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided and the clouds let drop the dew.’ 1
  3. We need those ‘keys’ in our ‘creation’ process to become new people in Christ.
  4. But the glue that keeps the small ‘trinity’ together is faith (‘…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him’ 2).

How to acquire the keys 

  1. ’The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’ 3
  2. Thus the command in Proverbs 2:1-6, ‘My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom, and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.’  Then, 
  3. ‘…wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.’  4

The Bible calls these 3 keys, a tree of life

  1. ‘Blessed is the man who gets wisdom, the man who gains understanding for she is more profitable than silver, and yields better returns than gold….  She is a tree of life to those who find her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.’  5
  2. We eat of it here (get knowledge, understanding and wisdom in the Bible) to eventually eat of the real Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem. 6  God banished Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden so that they could not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen state. 7

Wisdom preserves life eternally, which money cannot do.

‘Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.  Wisdom is a shelter, as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.’ 8 

Conclusion

Knowledge, understanding and wisdom, held together by faith, are the 3 keys to the Kingdom.  The foundation of these keys is the 66 Holy Spirit inspired books that together form God’s wonderful Holy Book, the Book of all books!

References

  1. Proverbs 3:19-20
  2. Hebrews 11:6
  3. Proverbs 1:7
  4. Proverbs 2:10-11
  5. Proverbs 3:13-18
  6. Revelation 22:2
  7. Genesis 3:22-23
  8. Ecclesiastes 7:11-12

Some interesting tidbits about the Old Testament

The Jews believed firmly in the Shema, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ 1  So when Jesus said, ‘I and the Father are one,’ 2 they questioned Him.  Jesus answered, ‘… If He called them ‘gods’ to whom the word of God came – and Scripture [Old Testament] cannot be broken….’’ 3

#  Jesus declared:

  • The word (Word) of God is Scripture.
  • Scripture is the Word of God.
  • Scripture cannot be broken.

#  Why can’t Scripture be broken?

Besides that it is the Word of the eternal God, it must be available to all people in all ages.  It is imperative that people since about 400 BC (Malachi is the last book of Old Testament) have the same document that expresses the will of God.  The Bible is the map that shows the way to eternal life on the new heavens and earth.

#  Jesus never once doubted the Old Testament Scriptures,

When Judas Iscariot led the crowd, sent from the chief priests and the elders, to arrest Him, Jesus said, ’But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, never doubted the truth and accuracy of the Old Testament.

#  It never once says the word of God came to Jesus.

The reason is that Jesus is God, revealed to us in the New Testament.  He is ‘the Word of God,’ according to John 1:1 &14 and Revelation 19:13, who spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit.  So the word of God did not come to Him, He is the Word.

#  The Old Testament teaches about Jesus.

Paul wrote, ‘…from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures [Old Testament], which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’ 5

#  God exalted His Word:

It is written, ‘…For you [Lord] have exalted above all things your Name and your Word.’ 6

#  What should our attitudes be?

Followers of Jesus who are filled with the Holy Spirit should have the same attitude as our Lord Jesus.  The Old Testament is the Word of God and thus important for us to hear what God says to us.

Conclusion

Let’s agree with the psalmist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, ‘I have put my hope in your word.’ 7

References

  1. Deuteronomy 6:4
  2. John 10:30
  3. John 10:35
  4. Matthew 26:54
  5. 2 Timothy 3:15
  6. Psalm 138:b
  7. Psalm 119:74, 81, 114, 147