The Purpose of the Bible
Like a love letter, The Bible is designed to connect us to the One who loves us and created us.
Filled with history, poetry, songs, prophecies, and letters, the Scriptures reveal God’s character.
The goal of the Scriptures is not to get more information. The goal is transformation – understanding who God is and living a new life under His leadership and with His guidance.
Applying the Bible means trusting God and trusting God means a real relationship with God. That is the goal of the Scriptures.
Before you read the Bible, pray the following:
“God, show me who you are and who you want me to be.”
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for
every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Let me acknowledge:
- The Bible has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, and even used for the agenda of people who did not have the heart of God or were a product of their times.
- The Bible can be hard to understand. Some passages were written so long ago and seem so different than our day and time.
- To make matters even more complicated, many of us have given up on the Scriptures, haven’t understood the Bible, or haven’t made spending time in the Scriptures a priority because there are spiritual forces opposing us.
- The darkness in our heart, and the darkness in the world around us does not want us to discover the mysteries that are revealed in the Scriptures.
- The Bible is not a giant “Don’t Do” List – a book of rules to make us feel guilty.
- The Bible is not a series of boring stories that have no relevance in our lives.
- The Bible is not what you probably think it is.
For just a moment, whatever resistance you may be feeling, or whatever your experience has been with the Bible. I want you to consider having an open mind. We need to become more open-minded to the possibility that God has more for us!
What if what keeps us from experiencing all the Bible has to offer has more to do with our view of the Bible than the Bible itself?
- Some of us have hit a ceiling in our spiritual growth. We think we have arrived, or we think that this is all there is. We come to closure too soon on who God is in our life or what God wants to do in your life.
- Some of us have rejected the Bible because of what others have said negatively about the Bible.
- Some of us have been inoculated to the Bible. We’ve heard just enough to think we know it all.
- Some of us think it’s important, but we can never quite make spending time in the Scriptures a priority.
- What if I told you, if you make spending time in the Scriptures a priority you will be more fulfilled and faithful in all of your other priorities?
Erwin McManus puts it this way:
“The Scriptures are a portal into God’s presence!”
Interpreting the Bible Overview
The Bible is human and divine (historical particularity and eternal relevance).
Interpret the Scriptures with the Scriptures
Humility necessary in interpreting and applying the Scriptures.
Understanding the types of literary genres.
(descriptive vs. prescriptive
Understand the context to apply to your life.
Every individual OT narrative is at least a part of the greater narrative of Israel’s history in the world, which in turn is a part of the ultimate narrative of God’s creation and his redemption of it.
- God is the hero of the story and the story shows three levels:
- God and humanity.
- God and Israel/the Church.
- God and individuals.
The Entire Story of the Scriptures
The Scriptures share the story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
Author Gabe Lyons points out that we need to understand, live out, and share the whole story of God.
Too often people of faith have forgotten the first two chapters and last two chapters of the Bible. We live out the Gospel – the message of faith – as if it was only about the fall and redemption, but when we do we are leaving out the creation and restoration. When we do this, we forget to speak hope into the lives of people. Everyone was created in the image of GOD!! Everyone! There is a fall which led to brokenness and a disconnecting with God, but once we are redeemed and discover a relationship with God we are now to be restorers. We are to bring healing to the world! We are to help God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
This epic story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration is revealed in 3 ways:
God and humanity.
God created humanity in His image, but we chose to rebel against Him. Even still, He pursues to redeem us, and we can join Him in restoring the world back to the way God intended.
God and His chosen people (Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures or the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament). God chooses one person to bless so that all nations will be blessed. He sets apart His people so that the way we live is attractive to others. He sends out His people to bring His love, faith, and hope to those around us.
God and each person. Each story in the Scriptures is a case study in how people have interacted with God and become heroic in spite their brokenness or have rejected God. We have the same opportunity!
“The message of the Bible is not that God blesses and saves those who live moral and exemplary lives. The message of the Bible is that God persistently and continuously gives His grace to people who don’t ask or even appreciate it.” – Timothy Keller
The Story of the Bible Overview
The Scriptures begin and end and all in between is a story about heaven and earth (not heaven and hell as became the filter people would read the Bible in the Middle Ages).
Heaven meets earth:
- In Eden
- In the tabernacle
- In the Temple
- In Jesus
- In the Body of Christ
- At the end of all things when God makes all things right.
Paul’s understanding of Jesus where heaven meets earth, the fulfillment of all of the Hebrew Scriptures, the One who defeated sin and death, the first of the new creation.
The New Creation
“…we are God’s poetry, God’s artwork. God has accomplished, and will accomplish, the entire new creation in the messiah and by the spirit. When someone believes the gospel and discovers its life-transforming power, that person becomes a small but significant working model of that new creation…. [We] are not merely beneficiaries of God’s mercy; [we] are also agents. [We] are poems in which God is addressing his world, and, as poems are designed to do, [we] break open existing way of looking at things and spark the mind to imagine a different way to be human.” – NT Wright from Paul: A Biography
In the letters of Paul, he was writing to churches he planted and leaders he mentored. Paul was creating a Jewish and Gentile community of Christ-followers. Not just for Gentiles (extreme leave behind Judaism completely) and not just for Jews (extreme Judaizers).
The church was the Body of Christ – the place where heaven meets earth.
The church is how God will advance His invisible Kingdom.
The church is the answer to Jesus’ prayer “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”.
The Church advanced the message of Jesus because of its unity and diversity and because it was set apart and sent out.
Set apart in our behavior and Sent out in our relationships to love, serve, and reach others.