The Holy Bible
You’ll find one in most homes and nearly every hotel room.
You hear it quoted in hit songs, popular films, and political speeches – often without realizing the source.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that over 160,000 copies are sold or given away EVERY DAY!
Some of us grew up in families that displayed a large edition on the coffee table. Others were raised in a faith tradition that used a different sacred book.
The Holy Bible is probably the most influential book ever published. But why is it so popular? And, more importantly, why should you care? Let’s explore several reasons from a distinctly Christian perspective.
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THE BIBLE IS REVELATION
Every world religion has a sacred text of one form or another. Judaism has the Torah. Islam has the Koran. Buddhism has the Tripitaka, Mahayana Sutra, and Book of the Dead. Each considers its own text to be a supernatural revelation: wisdom given directly from God or God’s prophet.
So, why do Christians trust the Bible over every other self-proclaimed sacred text? To answer that question, it is important to understand that Christians do not consider the Bible to be the only source of revelation, or even the most important. There are at least four.
Source #1: Creation – Christians believe that God has revealed Himself to all people in all generations in all places. King David described this reality when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1) The Apostle Paul explained further in his letter to believers in Rome: “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” (Romans 1:20) Both statements describe what theologians call “general revelation.” God uses His creation to show Himself to everyone, everywhere. That’s especially significant when you consider the fact that until recent history relatively few people had access to a Bible.
Source #2: Conscience – Go to any culture across the globe and you will find a legal system that condemns murder, stealing, and other activities specifically identified in the Bible as wrong. Even where the law does not condemn such things, decency and sanity do. Christians point to this common sense of right and wrong as a second source of general revelation to all human beings. As the Apostle Paul explained, “They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness.” (Romans 2:15)
Source #3: Incarnation – Christians believe that the most important way God revealed Himself to humanity was making a personal appearance. The Apostle John described it like this, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-14) Theologians call it the incarnation, which means “becoming flesh.” God did more than shout instructions from heaven written down in a book. He came in person!
Source #4: Scripture – Christians believe that God gave us a collection of writings that were inspired by God and assembled into what we now call The Bible. The first part, the Old Testament, is accepted by both Jews and Christians as sacred. It records the creation of the world, the fall of humanity into sin, God’s special purpose for and work with the Jewish people, and the promise of a Messiah who would someday rescue us from the mess we’ve made. The second part of the Bible, the New Testament, is focused on the life and teachings of that Messiah, Jesus. So, for Christians, the Bible is the authoritative, written testimony to the highest source of revelation, Jesus Christ.
THE BIBLE IS RELIABLE
Anyone can claim to speak for God, as evidenced by the many different books claiming the status of scripture.
The Bible, by contrast, has undergone rigorous scrutiny for centuries from skeptics and believers alike, from documentary evidence cross-referencing other historically credible sources to extensive archeological verification. The more scrutiny it undergoes, the more trustworthy it has proven to be. Christian theologians attribute such a high degree of reliability to how the Bible came into existence.
Inspired by God – A young, first-century pastor named Timothy received a letter from his mentor, the Apostle Paul, explaining why the scriptures are trustworthy. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) “God-breathed” is the literal translation of “inspired.” Much more than a stirring feeling that motivates an artist’s creativity, inspiration is God working through the writer He chose to record authoritative truth. That’s how the Apostles and early followers of Jesus understood the term. Centuries later, Christians still view the Bible as sacred words that originated in the very breath of God.
Written by men – One of Jesus’ closest friends, Peter, became a key leader in the early church. He described how words breathed by God can be delivered through humans. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, thought human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) It seems God delights in using humans as instruments for His most important work. He used a willing, obedient young woman named Mary to deliver His Son into the world. In like manner, He worked through reliable believers to deliver the life-giving words of scripture.
THE BIBLE IS A GUIDE
The best way to understand why the Bible is such an influential book is to experience it for yourself.
You will discover why King David wrote, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105) and why Christians in every generation have relied upon it for…
Instruction: Knowing right from wrong, truth from error
Inspiration: Amazing, true stories of God’s work in the world
Insight: Discovering where we came from, what’s broken in our world, and what God has done to set it right again.
If you are new to the Bible, start with these two foundational sections.
The Book of Genesis: The first book of the Old Testament is called “Genesis” which means beginning. The early chapters tell the story of creation, how humanity fell into a disease called sin, the horrible consequences of that disease on the human race, and how God intervened to “restart” after the great flood and lay the groundwork for ultimate redemption by choosing a group of people (the Jews) through whom the Messiah would come.
The Gospel of John: The fourth book in the New Testament was written by one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers, the Apostle John. It tells us who Jesus is and why He came into the world. It describes some of the key events of His thirty-three years on earth including His teachings, His miracles, and His death on a cross followed by His bodily resurrection.