What is the Bible?

It might not be what you think it is.

What the Bible is

The Bible Is God’s Word

The Bible was written by God.  He is the author and source of every word.  

Ultimately, God’s authorship is what sets the Bible apart from every other word that has been spoken, written, and recorded.  Yes, God used human hands to put ink on paper, but His Spirit was behind every sentence.

Because God is the author, we can trust what we read and hear.  Humans lie, deceive, and get things wrong. But not God. When He writes something it can be trusted.  When God says something, you better believe it is true. When God promises something, you can take it to the bank.  

The Bible is A Story

What is the Bible to you?  Do you see it as a big book of rules?  Is it a collection of wise, pithy proverbs?  Have you treated it like a how-to manual for healthy living?  There is some of all of that in the Bible, but it is also so much more.  

The Bible is ultimately a story.  One big story from start to finish.  Of course, as you read it you will notice that there are many different genres of literature within the Bible.  There are poems and prayers, letters and prophecies, genealogies and histories. But, all of them are painting a bigger picture, telling a larger story.  

At its core, the Bible is God’s story.  It is the story of the God who created the world in the very beginning.  The story tells of God’s amazing love as He stuck with His creation even after they rebelled.  It’s the story of His promises to provide for them, stick with them, and one day send them a Savior.  As the story goes on, we get to meet that Savior, Jesus. We get to hear His words, watch His miracles, and stand at the foot of His cross.  If we read it all the way through, we’ll even hear that one day our Savior Jesus is returning to make things right. It is the most amazing story about a most amazing God.  

But, the Bible is also your story.  You are a part of God’s creation. You are one of the people who has rebelled, but whom God continues to love.  You are someone Jesus speaks to, someone He calls out to, someone He fills with His Spirit, and someone He died for.  You, yes you, are someone Jesus will raise up and call by name on the last day.

The Bible:  God’s story.  Your story.

The Bible is Focused

The Bible is one story about one person:  Jesus. It really is all about Him. Sometimes it’s obvious.  Other times it’s a little less clear. But, everything God wrote in that book is pointing in one way or another to Jesus.  He is the main character and the hero. Jesus is there in the very beginning (Read Genesis 3:16) and He’s there again at the very end (Read Revelation).  If you somehow read the Bible and don’t see Jesus, you’re reading it wrong. He is the scarlet thread that is woven through every page. Without Jesus, we are left with nothing more than rules, commands, and empty promises.  But, with Jesus, we read about our life and salvation.

The Bible is Purposeful

God’s Word has a purpose:  Your redemption. Every word is meant to either show you your need for Jesus or to present Him in all of His loving glory.  The Bible wasn’t written to fill you with facts. It’s not meant to merely be a historical record of God’s working. Its purpose isn’t to condemn you or to make you feel bad.  God didn’t fill all those pages just so that you would act the right way or behavior correctly. He didn’t write everything down so that you would know the right things. No, God wrote the Bible so that after seeing Jesus, you would trust in Jesus, and having trusted in Jesus you would be redeemed and saved.  

The Bible is Performative

When God says something, it happens.  That’s not always true for you and me.  Try telling a two-year-old to sit still for ten minutes.  No matter how forcefully or loudly you say it, there’s a good chance it won’t happen.  I can shout at the tree outside my house to grow dollar bills, but we all know it won’t.  But, when God says something, things change.

And so when God speaks a promise of life after death – you will rise.  When God declares you to be forgiven – your sins are washed away. When God calls you His child – you become His beloved son or daughter.  

God’s Word has the ability to get things done.  No matter what.

Click Here to read an article I wrote on “How to Read the Bible”

Resources

Growing Up:  In, with and under Jesus

The Lutheran Study Bible

Christian Standard Bible

The Lutheran Bible Commentary

Bible Highlighters

ESV Ultraslimline Bible

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