Understanding the Bible
29th September 2020
As we acknowledge Bible Sunday on 25th October, it’s a good opportunity to ask the question: why should I read the Bible?
The Bible is the world’s best-selling book of all time. However, it isn’t one book, but a library of 66 books, composed by some 44 writers over a period of 1500 years in a range of literature including history, poetry, prophecy, letters and apocalyptic (end times). Despite having a number of different writers, the Bible claims one author: God himself!
This is the basis of the unity of its message and authoritative claim to be the primary way by which God speaks to us: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is inspired (‘the word of God in the words of men’) and presents itself as a manual for life, equipping us to live for God in every aspect of our lives. We also have the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide us in applying the words to our lives: "the Spirit will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).
However, the Bible could also be described as a love letter from God, as He uses it to deepen our relationship with him. As Jesus said: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me’” (John 5:39,40). Christians follow a person not a book, and the Scriptures are intended to help us to know Jesus better.
At her coronation, the Queen was given a Bible with the words ‘the most precious thing this world affords’. Does this reflect our own attitude to the Bible?
also published in Parish Life
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