If you’ve dropped into this topic from another page on this site, this is the third post in a six-part series that’s looking at the question: Why should anyone bother to read the Bible today?
A poll of Britons that was published by a newspaper in England in 2012 showed that more than 70% of the population claimed to be Christian. That is to say that, when filling in hospital forms, for example, they would generally tick the box for ‘Christian’ if asked what religion they are. If one is ‘British’ then somehow the assumption is that one is also ‘christian’ since Britons traditionally affiliate with the religion of their ancestors, the ethical system behind their laws, education and government, and the religion of our Queen. But onlookers may look at modern day ‘Believers’ in wonder at what it is that they actually believe.
So, to start at a foundational level, one of the most basic concepts held by all practicing ‘Believers’ worldwide is that: The Bible – the 66 books that were written by Jewish writers (apart from two) somewhere during the period between two to four thousand years ago are together and as a collective whole, the ‘Specific Revelation of the Creator God’ for mankind. Having come to discover that there must be a God alive out there (someone who’s made everything we see including making humans both male and female, in His own image – no other god besides the Creator God has ever said that we were specifically created in that god’s own image), the Bible – the Word of God or the Scriptures – then gets down to the specifics. It’s the script for the Creator God’s epic play and it’s about His relationship with His children – the people that He has ‘fathered’ by creating us in His own image.
Although the Bible is written in the context of one family that developed into a particular people group who resided in a specific geographical area, the event of which took place in a defined time frame, the words written are like the Creator God’s personal letter especially for us and about us His image-bearers. It’s about the humans He made and His relationship with the humans that He made. It’s uncovering the mysteries of our past as a fallen image-bearer, the present situation for us as image-bearers, and even things yet to come that Father God has planned for His creation and for those He created.[i] The ‘Manufacturer’s Guidebook’ has also been miraculously preserved down through the ages. It’s available for everyone to read and learn from today and it’s now found in almost every language known to humankind.[ii] Through the living and active Word of God, the Creator is teaching those He made about Himself, and about ourselves in relation to Him.
Because it’s both living and active, His Word is like our own unfolding history from our Creator God’s current perspective.
So in many ways, from the first to the last, from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is one cohesive Life story. It’s Father God’s own Life Story. Well, at least the portion of His diary from the time He became a Father – when He created humans in His own image. It’s a story of how He has, and is, giving to His created image-bearers both the LIGHT that we need for walking step-by-step through this life, and the LIFE that we need for the life that is to come.[iii] Like a complex multipart Shakespearean Play, the Creator God’s Word is one single epic saga from start to finish.
But the Bible is a truly unique book for yet another reason. As ‘the specific revelation’ (His spiritual handbook or blueprint manual) from our Maker to those He made, God’s Word Feeds Our spirit.
Because we are made in His image, we are not only physical, emotional and intellectual beings but we are also ‘spiritual beings’ in the likeness of our Maker, Father God. Because of this, the Maker’s Manual – God’s Word – is like bread for us. It’s what our spirit feeds on. It’s what our inner being that He created in us, survives on. In quoting from the Jewish Law book, Deuteronomy, Jesus said:
‘It is written: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’[i]
God’s Word has always been synonymous with Himself. To reject or forsake His Word or any part of His Word, is to reject Him who is both bread and living water to us.[ii] Getting time in the Bible is the same as saying that you had ‘time with the Lord’ or time with God.
In the months before she died, my closest friend gave me a biography on a Church leader in the UK named Smith Wigglesworth.[iii] Regardless of whether you wish to dispute his experiences with his Maker, Smith was a ‘man of The Book’. So much so that he would read God’s Word every morning as soon as he opened his eyes, and every night before closing his eyes. During the day, he carried his Bible everywhere. Then every half hour, he would stop what he was doing to read a portion of Scripture.
While this may not be at all practical for most of us (and may appear a little eccentric if not extreme), the saying is true: we are what we eat. Our bodies reflect what we feed it over time. Eat well and you’ll feel and look healthy. The same is true in all areas of our being. What we put into our minds, hearts and spirits and allow our inner being to dwell on, will be reflected outwardly. Paul, one of the early leaders of the new movement called ‘The Way’ (during the first century AD in the years after Jesus came back to life) wrote this:
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”[iv]
So if you’re struggling with yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and perhaps even physically, you may need to adjust what your heart and mind is feeding on. This will almost certainly mean a radical change in your spiritual diet. Knowing this, our Bibles are nothing short of a modern-day miracle and our Father God’s provision for us. It’s an answer to prayer two thousand years after Jesus prayed: ‘…Give us today our daily bread…’[v]
If this is the case, then the Creator’s Word is indeed our daily bread – it provides ‘soul food’ for us. But a perfect God would naturally give perfect provisions for our journey through this life. It’s therefore logical to say that His message is perfect and exactly what we need in full. If we needed something else, something different or something more, then it’s safe to say that what He provided for us (whether we are female or male, poor or rich, regardless of race, background or past choices and no matter what time frame we live in), isn’t perfect – it’s limited and therefore insufficient in some way. If that were true, then He can’t be perfect if His spiritual provision is not perfect.
But His script is indeed perfect because the Perfect Creator God is the author behind the writers. So if you would like to know why 21st Century Believers still believe that the cohesive collection of books that make up the Scriptures: God’s Word is perfect, without fault, and all what mankind needs for knowing who Father God is and what He has in store for us and this world, then just click on to read my next post: 1.4 The Faultless Maker’s Handbook
[i] Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4 [NIV]
[ii] John 1:1-2 and John 6:25-59 (Referencing v35)
[iv] Philippians 4:8 [NIV]
[v] Matthew 6:9-13 (referencing v11)
[i] Romans 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 1:9-10 & 3:9; Colossians 1:26
[ii] Romans 15:9-12 (Referencing Deuteronomy 32:43; 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49 & 117:1; Isaiah 11:10)
[iii] Psalm 119:105 and Revelation 22:5
[iv] 2 Timothy 3:16 (making reference to Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4)
[v] 2 Peter 1:19-21 [NIV]