This is the last post in a six-part series on why anyone today should bother to read the Bible.
By now you will have heard me talk about ‘Believers’ or followers. After Jesus’ came back to life the Believers were called ‘Followers of The Way’ in some countries today they are called ‘People of the Book’. I believe that the Bible is a great book to read. It has plenty of story line that keeps the reader as interested as in any novel out there today. I can sit in the sunshine reading the narrative (storyline books) for hours. Unlike a novel though, it’s written especially for me by my Father God. So it’s also real, helpful and applicable to modern day life today. By now you may also be interested in reading the Bible for yourself but you may be wondering: How can I move forward as a “Seeker”?
Whether you buy materials, or use free resources on the Internet, it becomes incredibly important very early on, for any seeker or new believer to attend a basic ‘Christianity explained’ course such as Alpha.[i] Or, seek out a course on the Internet. If you are in a country where it’s difficult to find a local ‘Christianity explained’ course, just email me for help via firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re in a country where it’s easy to find groups of authentic Believers who are meeting together, I’d also encourage you to begin to regularly attend a good church where you feel most at home. Then join one of their mid-week bible study groups. This helps you grow in your understanding in a healthy, balanced way as a true “disciple” (this word means a ‘learner’). If you check out a church with 50 or more people, but they say that they don’t have any mid-week bible study groups, it may be an indicator that it’s not such a great church! So I’d keep looking!
At a basic level, anyone who wants to know the Creator God; begin a relationship with Him and grow as a disciple; any Believer who seeks to be strong in their faith and be used by God to serve or help someone else in a spiritual way; anyone who desire’s to be part of spiritual leadership or has made it into leadership in a healthy, vibrant, and Bible-based ministry; will all agree that they cannot do it without the Bible taking an active and central role in their day-to-day life. They will also agree with a need for good accountability with other mature Believers who can discuss Bible ideas with them and especially others who will challenge those ideas to ensure that they are actually ‘biblical’.
The people that God seems to trust most with the leadership of others, are often not people of ‘deep personal faith’ alone. It’s not even about being a charismatic speaker or a miracle worker. They need to be ‘People of the Book’. So much so that in some countries today, to call yourself ‘a Christian’ means very little – if it doesn’t initially have negative connotations! What they prefer, and what translates more powerfully, is if you’re a ‘Follower of The Book’.
But I wonder how many of us in western society could call ourselves a ‘Person of The Book’ when we give only a tiny fraction (if anything), of our time each day to quality Bible reading. The point I’m making is that coming close to Father God: the One who made you in His own image, requires coming close to His Word.
You may have heard a lot here yet you’re still thinking …
Is the Bible not Out-Dated and irrelevant?
The New York Times Best Seller’s list is perhaps the most well-known for best-selling books. But very few people know that the Bible is the #1 Bestseller in history! Twenty million copies are sold every year in America alone! Yet because it’s always at the top, perhaps it’s no longer newsworthy. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t seem to appear on any of the Best Seller’s lists any more. So here’s a link to a story run by the Washington Times about a surge in Bible sales in Norway.[ii] In truth, there isn’t a book out there in all the world that comes close to selling the same number of volumes every year – year after year. There isn’t a book out there that comes close to the number of languages it’s translated into.
Through His Word, the Creator God has not hidden anything of Himself from us. We can now hold in our hands 100 percent of everything that is of current value to get us through this life and on to the place that He has prepared in advance for us – the LIFE that is to come. What we need to know about our Father God: who He is and what He expects from His relationship with us; the mysteries of God – past, present and still in the future (things that were previously hidden since the creation of the world), are all now made known to us in His Word. So to show you how Father God communicates to us in everyday life …
… Here’s A Story to Close
Our only son Michael, passed away on a Saturday morning. The next Saturday morning was understandably ‘challenging’! This was not just because of the poignancy of the timing, but because Michael’s passing went to inquest. We still hadn’t buried him yet! So while our son lay in the funeral home awaiting burial, the following words from the ancient prophet Isaiah were set in my QuieTimes book for August 8 – the first Saturday without our son …
“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls forth each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing….Why then do you complain…“My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… …those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”[iii]
Through the incredible timing of this reading just seven days after Mikey left us, I learnt that not only has God created the stars, but He calls them each by name. Not one of them is missing. So if He’s intimately aware of the stars that are only balls of gas, how much more is He intimately aware of us, His own image-bearers? If our Heavenly Father is indeed intimately aware of me, then my way is certainly not hidden from the Lord and my cause is not disregarded by my God! Because the Creator will not grow tired or weary, we knew that He would increase our power and renew our strength for the long journey that was now set before us: a long journey out of this grievous storm.
Because of everything we’ve personally seen and experienced – especially since the day we found our only son gone – I’d like to encourage you now to begin getting familiar with the whole Play. Don’t just focus on the portion of the stage that includes scenes about you and your life. Don’t concentrate on your own lines recited in isolation of everything else. The Bible isn’t everyone’s story – it was written long before my story. But it covers a long enough period to take in just about any scenario known to humankind – along with God’s action and involvement every step of the way.
So if you’re one of the people who’ve asked the question: What makes the Bible so special, is it really relevant today, and why bother to read it at all? I’d say that the Words of the Creator God are a time-honoured heroic adventure. It catalogues so accurately the stories of real people because it’s written especially for us!
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”[iv]
Thank-you for reading through my six posts about the relevance of the Bible today, I invite you now to read on by checking out more topics on the Topics Page or click on my second topic 2. Where’s God when Life’s so Hard?
[iii] Isaiah 40:25-31 [NIV] (Context: whole chapter)
[iv] Jeremiah 33:3 [NASB]