Welcome to our new series; this series is all about Exploring some of the different elements of being a Christian. What are they, and what do they mean? Why should I do these things?
Today we are looking into the Bile. What is it? How was it written? Why is it so important? Read on to find out more…
2 Timothy 3: 16-17
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.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
1 Timothy 4:13
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written by a collection of different people, over a few hundred years. So what’s all the fuss?
Our selection of readings come from throughout the New Testament; and they all refer to the bible. Now it is important to notice that when these passages were written, the “bible” as they knew it, was only the Old Testament, and it wasn’t until 5th Century that a collection of books was compiled and agreed upon by the churches as the “Bible”. So it took a long time, for things to become formalised. However, these passages can now be read in as a whole with the rest of the bible. What do they tell us?
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus is speaking, and he tells those listening to him that it’s not just food that humans require to live a life pleasing to God, but the word from God’s mouth. He doesn’t explain exactly what that is at the time, but in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we can see that “All Scripture is God breathed” so now we know that ALL SCRIPTURE is from the mouth of God. So this is what Jesus was referring to, when he said we need the word from God’s mouth, the Bible, Scripture.
In fact, in Timothy 4:13 Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him in his faith and in his ministry. Now while this passage might seem directed at pastors, and ministers of the church, I believe it is something that is really directed to all those who live in Christ, and put their faith in him; because we all “minister” to those around us through our actions. Paul is saying that we must not forget to read the Bible, and many other books as well. Surrounding yourself in knowledge is not something to be ashamed of, but instead something to be celebrated. Now I know that at school this isn’t always seen as “cool” and I know that when I was at school I would say “I hate reading”, and “it’s boring, why should I read” and I really struggled to get excited about it. However, now when I look back, I genuinely wish I had read more books, both for school and for pleasure, but also about the bible, and the Bible itself. It’s so amazing what you can pick out when you’re reading, and you always learn something new. So, take Paul’s advice, and don’t forget to read!
Lastly, the passage from Hebrews says that the Bible is living and active, sharper than a two edged sword. Obviously the writer of Hebrews (who we still don’t know for certain! It might have been Paul, but it could have been another Jewish Christian from the same time) isn’t saying that the Bible is literally a living thing, like a pet. He’s saying that from this book actions will occur in people, emotions will be stirred, lives will be affected. It’s not just a nice story, it’s a life changing book. The Word of God, is so powerful that it can enter your life, sometimes without you even knowing about it. That’s why the writer here likens it to a double edged sword; the sharper the blade, the less effort required to cut something. The bible is this super sharp sword, cutting into people’s lives and causing radical change.
When I think back to my childhood, I can still remember attending a “junior church” event one Sunday morning call “Live it to the Max” (I think), and they were teaching us about the Bible, and there was a memory verse, which I can’t for the life of me remember today, but I can still remember sitting on the wooden floor with a bunch of other kids screaming “Math-ew Twenty Two, Ver-ses Thirty four to Forty”. It’s amazing how something so simple can stick with you for years and years (possibly 20+ years in my case). The Bible can enter our lives, and we can base our whole thought processes around something in the back of our mind, and only later realise that actually, that’s the Bible!
So why is the bible important? Well, it’s the Word of God. The authors of the bible were inspired by God to write down what they saw, or dreamed, or were told by God to write down. Why these people? They were chosen by God to create a record that would last the test of time.
Is it all factual? People have different opinions on this; some think yes, others think no, but they all agree that it is the inspired Word of God, and therefore is something important and well worth putting time into reading.
But it’s really old? Yes, It’s very old, but that doesn’t mean that what’s in it isn’t good. There is still excellent life advice to be found between the pages of the Bible, and it tells us who Jesus is, who God is, and who the Holy Spirit is. It’s our way of getting to know the creator of the universe much more deeply.
Do we know all the authors? No… most fo them, yes, but not all of them.
Why do we call it the “Bible”? It comes from the greek, Bibliotheca meaning library. It’s a collection of books by different authors. (66 in total, 39 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament).
How do I read the bible? Well, there are many different methods, and some will work for you, others won’t. There are apps such as “Lectio 365” which will give you a bible reading every day of the year, and a prayer. There’s Bible of One Year (BIOY) which helps you to read through the whole bible in just 365 days (They have launched a “Youth Version” for 13s-18s recently as well!). YouVersion, which will let you read the whole bible, but has reading “plans” to follow. You could just pick up a bible and open it and start reading (either from the beginning, or wherever… just don’t start with Revelation!). You can read blogs online, you can watch videos. There are so many ways of reading the bible, and none of them are “the best way”, but it’s about finding the best way for you. If you want some help finding some resources, then drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Bible is an amazing book, it’s been around for thousands of years, and is the most sold book of the last 50 years (globally!). Yes you read that correctly, the Bible is the best selling book of the past 50 years with other 3.9 Billion copies sold, that smashes Harry Potter’s number of just 400 Million (which come’s in 3rd place).
The Bible is great, so make time for it, and give it a go!
Lord, help me to make time for reading the Bible more, and help me to understand it’s importance. Give me the wisdom to understand a little bit more each day. Thank you for creating this amazing gift for us, and help me to use it more. Amen.
Sum it Up:
The Bible is God inspired. It’s a method of getting to know the creators of the world. It’s the most important book you will ever read, and it WILL change your life.
Why not take a look this week, and see if you can find a good method of reading the Bible that you like and give it a go?