Some time ago, we featured a series of posts about how to begin reading the Bible. While we have our Bible reading group happening on a Tuesday evening at the moment, we thought it was time to share these posts again!
If you’ve never picked up a Bible before, you might think it was just like any other book. It has covers, a beginning and an ending, and lots of pages in between.
But in lots of ways it is totally unlike a normal book. It isn’t something you’d want to try and read in one go, nor only read once. This series of posts will try and take you through your first steps in getting familiar with the Bible. First of all, we’ll think about why it’s a book worth reading.
First of all, it claims to be the Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete,” (2 Timothy 3v16). If we want to know God, and understand Him better, then it makes sense that we should read His message to us. If we read it, it will explain not only who God is, but why He says and does certain things.
Also, if we want to know about Jesus – who he was and what he did and why – there is nowhere better to look than in the Bible. Not just the four gospel records of his life, but also the Old Testament where it is prophesied what he would be like.
The prophecies which the Bible makes are a reason in themselves to investigate it. Isn’t it worth discovering how a book written so long ago can contain detailed prophecies about events that could not have been known?
And if it could predict those events, can it also predict our own future? If there is a book that can tell us what to expect in the years ahead of us, you would expect everyone would want to know what it had to say.
The Bible is a book that tells us exactly how mankind is. We see all our flaws, our temptations, our troubles and our worries displayed in its pages through the characters presented there. If we read it with an open mind, we can understand more about ourselves and how we can be better people.
It also gives us a moral code for how we can live our lives in a way which nurtures love and not hatred, respect and not selfishness, hope and not deceit. People as diverse as Jewish fishermen and Babylonian kings saw that this was a code which worked, and our society today could learn lots from it.
Finally, it is a book which offers life – not just in this world now, but eternal life. It contains all we need to know in order to be given this gift through God’s grace. “These [things] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name,” (John 20v31).
In part 2, we’ll look at how the Bible fits together, and why it’s arranged as it is. Meanwhile, don’t forget to have a look at our Read the Bible page.