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

Can we afford to neglect the Bible?

Many people are called ‘Christians,’ 1 ‘followers of the Way’ 2 or ‘saints.’ 3   They are all united by one book, the Bible, or the Holy Scriptures.

Some of those people might have had the same experience that I had when I was called by the Lord.  I joined a local church and they told me to read the Bible, have faith and pray.  Somehow no one seemed to realize that I knew absolutely nothing about the Bible.  They assumed that I would understand what I read.  It took me years of private study to build up my faith and get to know God through His Word.

That is why we want to follow Jude’s lead and say, ‘Dear friends, although we are very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, we felt we had to write and urge you to contend for the Holy Scriptures that was entrusted to the saints.’ 4

#  Is the Bible just another book?

We are very used to books.  Millions have been written in human history.  It still happens, though the electronic media has changed it a bit.  Yet, out of all the countless millions of books, one book stands apart.  It is that special book, the Bible.  Let’s look at some of its outstanding characteristics:

#  It is a once off edition.

It will never be updated.  It cannot be updated, because its 66 books/booklets were written over a period of about 1,400 years (from the first book, Genesis to the last book, Revelation).  If you use the same method and time frame to update it, who knows if the world will still exist, seeing the rate of biological decay that is the result of God’s curse on creation.

#  The Bible covers an immense time space.

It describes the origin of the universe, of life on earth, how humans came to be, et cetera.  Then it describes how this present order will end.  It explains that there will be a future new heaven and earth.  This present natural heaven and earth is just a prototype of the coming one.  The Bible urges us to prepare for the coming one.

#  It is a book that has divided humanity into two groups.

  • People are either for it, or against it.  They either embrace it or ignore and hate it.  There is no neutrality, no feigning of ignorance about the God it introduces.
  • Many volumes of books are commentaries on it.  Many other volumes denounce and persecute it.
  • We know that there are numerous tribes and nations who still do not have Scripture, but even they are divided.  Some have the laws of God written on their consciences, some not. 5

#  One person described in the Bible has divided history into two slots.

  • It is the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  Time was always indicated by, Before Christ (B.C.) and After Christ (A.D.).  It has now been changed to Before Common Era, and Common Era.  Why?  Because the ruler of this age, the devil, does not like the name of his conqueror, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
  • The Cross sharply divided the light of God and the darkness of the evil one.  There are no any illusions about the Cross: either one’s sins are forgiven, or they are not.  Either one pays the punishment for sin oneself, or one lets Jesus do it.
  • The tragedy of the post cross era is that the devil has firmly established his anti-Jesus propaganda.  That propaganda never stops to tell people how bad Jesus is. Despite it, the Kingdom of God grows.  Jesus’ dominion will never end.

#  The Bible reveals what science and clever thinking cannot discern. 

  • It reveals the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Who could imagine that there exists three Persons with one essence?  Definitely not science!
  • The Bible introduces the enemy of the Trinity who rules over the world.  It is the devil and he forms his own trinity with the Beast and the False Prophet.
  • He is hostile to the Bible, and everything connected to it.   There are very few people, especially in the Western World, who are not aware of the war against the Bible.
  • The Bible teaches about angels, God’s good, loyal ones and the devil’s rebellious, evil ones.

Conclusion

Scripture is one of a kind.  Psalm 138:2 says, ‘…You have exalted above all things your Name and your Word.’  The Bible, the 66 books that is the Word of God, is incomparable, and a book no one can afford to neglect.

References

  1. Acts 11:26
  2. Acts 22:4
  3. Ephesians 1:1
  4. Jude 3
  5. Romans 1:20; 2:15