Why read the Bible?

You may or may not have spotted that there have already been several quotations from the Bible. Many Christians consider the Bible to be a very important book, but there is much confusion about what type of book it is. Islam considers the Qur’an to be holy in itself, which is why Muslims react so strongly when they see a copy being misused in some way. To Christians, the Bible is not an object of worship in this way - it is not the words written on the paper which makes it special, but the truth those words reveal which makes it an important record of the interaction between God and people over time. By the time Christ was on earth, the Jews had turned the Old Testament into a rule book even though it highlighted as heroes of faith people who seemed not to live by religious laws. We have already demonstrated that Jesus did not see the Scriptures in this way, which is why He crossed so many of the religious leaders of the day.

In one street debate He had with His opponents, Jesus accused them of using their Bible in the wrong way, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” In saying this, He told them how the Scriptures (Old Testament then, both Old and New Testaments now) can help people to find the truth. Jesus said that reading and studying the Bible will never give a person eternal life. Rather, the records it contains are pointers to where we can find eternal life, and Jesus said that was in getting to know Him. The Bible is effectively a signpost pointing to Him as a person - He is the One who is able to give us life.

There is one other important thing to note at this point. Even being motivated to search for Jesus is not a thing we can achieve by ourselves, nor is finding Him. In another debate with religious leaders, Jesus told them, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” This means those who come to faith in Jesus Christ do not do so by their own efforts, but with the help of God the Father, who enables them to appreciate who Jesus really is. Again, this reminds us that believing that Jesus is able to rescue us is not an intellectual exercise where we have to work out the answers for ourselves. As we seek for truth, we all need to be asking for help from the God we are looking for. If He is not able to help us in that way, then He cannot be the God the Bible says He is.

Even if you are not sure whether He exists, you can ask Him to make Himself known to you. Throughout their history and not just at the time of Christ, the Father had trouble with the Israelites - they were half-hearted at best about Him and He often had to rebuke them. On one such occasion He promised them, “And you will seek Me and you will find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” This is like a parent hiding from a child; whilst the child is distracted by other things and only casually looking for Dad, they keep out of sight. The moment the child realises that the things they have been occupied with are of no real value and begin searching wholeheartedly for their parent, Daddy steps into sight. One of the great things the Bible tells us about this divine parent is that He does not change His character over time. Like Israel, we too can be confident that if we are seriously looking for Him, then He will make Himself known to us. If He wasn’t like this, we could never find Him.

The rest of Journey Into New Life is written with the hope of helping you to search for Him and knowing what your responsibilities are when He steps out to meet you.

Next: What makes someone a Christian?

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