In this 21st century when there are so many more recent and (supposedly) more relevant sources for spiritual information, why should anyone read and study the Bible? Because of its antiquity many people think it is outdated and therefore not relevant to our current age. But is this so?
Is the Bible a dead letter, having no meaning for man today? If we can answer in the affirmative – and give sound reasons for doing so – then we can dismiss the Bible as being of any concern to us today. But if the answer is “no,” then we had best give it serious attention by reading and understanding its message to us today.
The Bible is actually a blessing to mankind. It reveals our origin, nature, purpose and destiny. It answers the perennial questions of “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” Not only does it answer these questions but it also gives us the only definitive and perfect standard for man to live by.
In reading the Bible to find answers to the above questions one thing that stands out above everything else is that through the pages of the Bible we come to know the God who created us and all things. How important is that? Just this – if we do not read the Bible to become acquainted with God it becomes only a rule-book. There are plenty of people who approach the Bible in this way. When that is one’s approach to the Bible it loses much of its power. It becomes merely a manual or a road map for getting from earth to heaven. It becomes all about us and what we have to do to get there. It becomes a source of religion but not relationship or righteousness.
The Bible has faced unbelievers and critics bent on its destruction for as long as it has been in the hands of man. Not one of them has proven it false. Some who have set out to disprove it have instead come to know and believe in God as a result of searching it for its supposed flaws and weaknesses. Others who have sought to discredit the Bible are gone and forgotten but the Bible is still here. The poem, “The Anvil” well describes the futility of the attacks against it.
“Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
“‘How many anvils have you had,’ said I,
‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’
‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye,
‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’
“And so, I thought, the Anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.” (John Clifford, 1836-1923)
The Bible is God’s revelation of himself to man. It was written for the purpose of showing man who he is. We can look at nature and determine that there is a God, but to find who that God is and what he is like and what he wants from man can only be found in the pages of the Bible. All through the Bible God has progressively revealed himself to different people in different ways, but at the time in which we live he has revealed himself to through his Son, Jesus. So we should read the Bible to learn about the creator of the universe and about how to have a relationship with him.
Without knowing God man becomes his own god, doing what pleases himself. When everyone approaches life in this way there is not shared standard of conduct and everyone becomes a law unto himself. The Bible provides the only objective standard of conduct in existence.
The Bible also reveals man as he is and how he should and can be. It reveals us as the sinners we all are. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. It also reveals to us the kind of person we should be in the person of Jesus who lived as a perfect human being. It calls us to the perfection that he possessed and shows us how we can achieve that through forgiveness.
It shows us that we cannot change the fact that we are condemned by our sin and that we must come to God for the grace he offers if we are to be saved. It shows how we are to live submissive, obedient lives while we live here and reveals how to have eternal life after this life is over as well as the fate of those who are not obedient to him.
The Bible reveals how to live while we are here on this earth. With our families. On the job. With our neighbors and friends. In the church. As citizens of our nation. Even with our enemies. It is sufficient for every need that we might be the kind of people God wants us to be.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
It also tells us what our mission here on earth is and how we are to carry that out. It tells us of the glorious church and how we are to be united in one mind and one spirit to work together to the glory of God. It provides security now and hope for the future.
Read it to be wise. Read it to learn how to be saved. Read it to know God. Read it to know how to live successfully. Read it for the pleasure of knowing the great people whose stories are told in its pages. Read it because it is from God and leads us back to him from the wilderness of sin. For whatever reason – READ IT!