Why should we read the Bible?
It’s not just for the knowledge or increasing the depth of our understanding of Western civilization (since so much of Western culture is rooted from the Bible) or picking up nice proverbs we can use throughout everyday life. We should read the Bible because it is God’s Word and He uses it to transform people, no matter how good or bad they think they are.
For me, I want to read the Bible because of the transforming power it has. This transformative experience is what I desire, I want it to change and guide me, to create a heart that loves others and loves Him.
I read the Bible to be changed and to shape my will to God’s. That his will, in fact, would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Might his will start first within my bankrupt heart.
Why do you read the Bible?
I am in the middle of preparing a brief message on the crucifixion scene in the Gospel of Mark and it reminded about the author’s style in the composition of this account. During my preparation, I was reading in a commentary about the questions surrounding when to date this particular gospel. It ultimately comes down to the rebellion of the Jewish people against the Roman forces and the resulting destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Due to the lack of comments about the destruction of the temple and other clues, scholars place the composition of this book during the Jewish rebellion or before. 50s-60s A.D. is a safe bet for the earliest gospel account (Paul gets the earliest writer of the New Testament award).
Placing the context of the gospel is important for the preacher and leaders within the church (lay-leaders, not necessarily those on staff at a church) because questions will come up. There will be questions concerning the Gospel of Thomas or Judas. There are fragments that seem to imply that Jesus had a wife and there will undoubtedly be many more compromising documents surfacing. I am convinced by the likes of NT Wright that we need to know not only God’s Word, but the context surrounding it.
We need to understand the context and dig into that first century so that we can enrich our own faith and defend the faith when National Geographic runs stories on the Gospel of Judas. Knowing what we believe and why we believe it is not just our pastor’s job or the job of a seminary professor. No, it is our job as the Church. It is your job as the faithful member of your local church and as a leader within the community. There are so many tools at our disposal now, I beg you to consider to dig into the depths of the Christian faith.
What has helped you explore the depths of the faith?
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Something that I need to remind myself every so often is that I am being talked about. The good news is that I am being talked about in the opposite way of high school gossip circles. We are told that Jesus Himself is interceding for us, on our behalf, in the very presence of God. Jesus is talking about us, even now. Think about that.
God, we are told by Paul, is the one who justifies and declares us righteous. Who could ever condemn us? For it is Jesus who took our place and offered his life on our behalf. God himself took our place!* God himself declares us innocent, like in a court of law. But wait, it gets better! We are told that he also intercedes on our behalf.
Why would we ever want to ask any other person (and rely on them alone) for help when we know Jesus is on our side? The saints might indeed pray for an individual in the presence of God, but I would rather have Jesus on my side. Jesus intercedes for us in the throne room.
Dear reader (and writer, for that matter), do you not know that the Lord cares for you? Do you not know that Jesus not only died on your behalf and was raised, but he also then prayed for you? He appeals and pleads on our behalf, even now. How incredible is that?
This is why we can live without fear, for the Light of the World shines grace upon us. The Light of the World intercedes for his people, the community of the graciously redeemed.
*For a post on Jesus being fully God and fully man, see Jesus, God and Man. Jesus was fully God and fully man in one person.