How to Get Oriented to The Bible
The Bible is called the greatest book, and rightly so. Most people have a Bible somewhere in their home. Year after year, the Bible is the world’s best-selling book. Yet, most people know very little about this amazing book and what it contains. To many people, the Bible is merely a book to be read, but the Bible is so much more. It is a blueprint for life. It is the story of redemption. It is the manner through which people receive communication from God. Christians often find the Bible to be a book that is life-changing and inspirational, but not straightforward. Trying to understand the Bible can sometimes be a difficult task, but with God’s help, it is possible. In this week’s message, we talk about how followers of Jesus Christ can get orientated to God’s holy word.
Something To Talk About:
Here are four things to consider as an introduction or orientation to the Bible:
- Library: The Bible is not a traditional book, written by a single author and divided into chapters. The Bible could be described as a compilation of 66 individual books written by different men over about 1,500 years. Although about 40 men wrote the 66 books of the Bible, in another sense, there is only one author. Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “all Scripture is inspired by God.” The books are of different lengths and different literary styles. Yet through it all, the Bible is the story of God pursuing a relationship with people. It is a story of God working to restore a broken relationship between himself and humanity.
- Two testaments: The Bible is two testaments, the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books) because the Old Testament described the covenant and the history of the people that God chose to be the ones through whom the Messiah would come. Therefore, it contains the history of God’s people (the Jews) and also includes prophecies of the coming of Jesus the Messiah. The New Testament was written as a demonstration of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus as well as letters written to various churches and individuals informing them of proper Christian behavior.
- Sacred: Do most Americans believe the Bible to be sacred? Many in fact do, and why not? When you read or study the Bible you are viewing the “word of God.” This is the title Christians most commonly give to the Bible, and the expression is rich in meaning. John 1:14 tells us, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” And Revelation 19:13 says, “He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.” The Bible is sacred because it speaks of Jesus, it is our primary and most authentic record of what Jesus, the Son of God did and said. If you believe Jesus was who He said He was – God Himself in human form – then what He said is what matters more than anything. When we approach the Bible, then, we approach Jesus, the Word of God; and in order to encounter Jesus, we must approach Him in a prayerful study of the sacred, inspired word of God.
- Inspired: When people speak of the Bible as inspired, they are referring to the fact that God divinely influenced the human authors of the Scriptures in such a way that what they wrote was the very Word of God. In the context of the Scriptures, the word “inspiration” simply means “God-breathed.” 2 Peter 2:1:20-21 tells us, “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. And 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.’Inspiration means the Bible truly is the Word of God and makes the Bible unique among all other books. Because the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, we can conclude that they are also inerrant and authoritative.
- What does the Bible mean to you? How well do you know the Bible? How were you oriented to the Bible?
- Someone once said that as you read the Word of God, it reads you. Agree or disagree and why?
- When and where do you struggle the most in studying the Bible?
- What comes to your mind when you hear someone talking about the authority of the Bible? The inspiration? The Inerrancy?
- How do you react when someone says the Bible is sacred?
- Do you believe the Bible is actionable?
- Where does simple faith and trust come in when studying the Bible?
Take one thing home with you:
Some people look at the Bible as a relic of a bygone age—an outdated remnant of an ancient society. French philosopher Voltaire said that in a hundred years from his day the Bible would have passed into the myths of history as people became more liberated and enlightened. So much has changed, so much is different than in Biblical times. How could it be relevant now?
When people talk about the Bible, some immediately think of a dated document with a laundry list of regulations reflecting pre-modern views. But in fact, the opposite is true. When you take the time to study the Bible, you discover it contains a storehouse of wisdom and explores timeless questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? Where does evil come from? What is the meaning of life? In as much as it relates to our lives today, it is also illuminates the future, specifically our hope for the future and our ultimate destiny. You can’t be more timeless or relevant than that.