SO YOU BELIEVE in God? Well, I assume you do because you’re reading this magazine. So therefore you may also be familiar with the Bible. I’d like to share some reasons why you should read it.
The Bible (also known as ‘scripture’) is the Word of God, and it is unlike any other book. We are told this by the Apostle Peter:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20–21).
Jesus Believed the Bible
Our Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament which deals with the history of the world before Jesus Christ, and the New Testament which commences with the birth of Jesus.
The Old Testament was Jesus’ Bible. He believed it to be the Word of God. He held it to be the “last word” in authority, and very often he quoted it and said “it is written…” For instance during his temptations in the wilderness his reply to the tempter was “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4); and “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (verse 7). He also prefaced his answers to questions from the Pharisees with “Have you not read…” (Matthew 12:3, 5; 19:4).
After his resurrection from the dead Jesus met two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, and he said “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25–26).
The Bible Foretells the Future
The Bible claims to tell the future, and its veracity has been proven by many of its prophecies coming to pass. This gives Bible readers the confidence that those prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled will be, at some time in the future.
Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done…’ (Isaiah 46:9–10).
Moses prophesied the future of the Israelite nation after they had entered the Promised Land—they would be blessed in everything if they loved God and obeyed His commandments, but they would be cursed and cast out of the land and scattered into many nations if they rebelled against Him and worshipped false gods. This is detailed in Deuteronomy chapter 28. The Jews disobeyed God and were cast out of their land on two occasions, the last time being AD70, which the Lord Jesus prophesied in his Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21).
It was also prophesied that the Jews would repossess their land—which they did in 1948 when the nation of Israel was re-established.
‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord, ‘nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you (Jeremiah 30:10–11).
The Bible’s Message
The Bible is made up of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New. There are three types of book in the Old Testament—history, poetry and prophecy. In the New Testament there are also three types—history, letters and prophecy.
The books were written by many different authors over a long period of time, but because they were written under inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit the message is the same—the Lord God in heaven has a plan and purpose for humankind.
This plan and purpose is centred around the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We find the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the Old Testament in the form of shadows and reflections, and in prophecy; just as he said about himself to the two on the Emmaus road: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25–26).
The Bible’s Promise
The Bible explains how God set out to save humankind from sin and death. This way of salvation has been brought about by the willing sacrifice of His only begotten Son who died to save us from our sins:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Jesus was raised from death and is now in heaven with his Father, where he acts as a priest to bring his people to God. And the Bible promises that he will return to earth to establish his kingdom:
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till his enemies are made his footstool (Hebrews 10:12–13).
The Bible is the guidebook for life, for all who believe it and seek to learn and understand its message. As the Apostle Paul said:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work
(2 Timothy 3:16–17).
It promises eternal life to all Jesus’ faithful, obedient followers, as he said in his prayer to God before his crucifixion:
Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:1–3).
The Bible is a unique book. It tells the future, it contains the wonderful Gospel of salvation and it tells us what we must do in order to obtain eternal life in the coming Kingdom of God upon earth.
Jesus held it to be wholly God’s Word, and it demands that we should too. Grahame A Co