I search a cookbook for recipes. I check the news for the weather forecast. But where can you turn to learn more about God and find peace for your soul?
In the Bible, God tells us about himself. Here we also learn more about ourselves. The Bible is an amazing collection of 66 books recorded over sixteen centuries by over forty writers.
God carefully guided this written record so that you would have a reliable place to turn. These words are “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16); he alone is the author. He chose human writers to record them.
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”2 Peter 1:21
In love, God also guided the transmission down through the years. He did this to ensure you would have clear and accurate details for the most important message ever recorded.
Two Main Messages
The Bible records two main messages. The first is the record of God’s law, reflecting God’s justice. This is often summarized by specific do’s and don’ts. While God also wrote his law on our hearts (Romans 2:15), this can be corrupted by the influences of sin. So, God wrote an unchanging record of his law in the Bible.
God clearly laid out his expectations, yet humanity repeatedly rebelled. From Eden to Egypt, Jericho to Jerusalem, God’s people tragically trusted in themselves rather than in God alone. This rebellion built a barrier of sin and broke our relationship with God. We created a problem we could not fix.
So, because of his great love for us, God revealed another message in the Bible, the gospel. Gospel literally means “good news.” The gospel is not a list of commands. Nor is it another plan for us to try to follow. (Recall that didn’t work the first time). Instead, the gospel is God’s rescue plan in Jesus.
Jesus didn’t come as an example to show us the way. He came as our substitute to be the way. He also took the punishment for sin that we deserved. We couldn’t keep God’s laws, so Jesus did—perfectly in our place. Because of Christ’s perfect obedience, the gospel is often summarized as done.
The law shows we can’t keep God’s law perfectly. The gospel shows us the one who did for us. Those who trust in that gospel message are saved:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”Romans 1:16
One Central Character
The Bible is all about one central character, Jesus. When reading about Old Testament sacrifices, you’ll see how Christ’s sacrifice fulfills them. Some Bible characters served in different roles as a type of Christ; their stories pointed ahead to the Messiah. Prophecies fill the Old Testament predicting his coming into the world.
The New Testament reveals that God kept his promise to rescue the world. The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) record Jesus’ perfect life and ministry, culminating in his death and resurrection. The New Testament records the ongoing spread of the gospel, uninterrupted to this day (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 24:14). Many New Testament letters reveal the peace we now have because Jesus has reconciled our relationship with God.
While Jesus is the central character of the Bible, God wrote it with someone very dear to him in mind—you! The Bible is his love story for you. It provides a refuge in trouble, wisdom, insights into our purpose, and the sure hope we will live with Heavenly Father eternally. Jesus said:
“These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”John 20:31
YouTube has great how-to videos. A doctor can provide a medical diagnosis. But when you’re looking for answers to the most important questions like “Where do I stand with God?” or “What will happen to me when I die?” look no further than the Bible. These words of life record God’s promises in Jesus and assure you, through faith, that you’ll never have to doubt God’s love now or forever.
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Which Bible Translation Should I Use?
The Bible was not originally written in a language that most people can read. Therefore, most people need to read from a translation to understand the Bible.