Over the last 6 months my family has been studying the bible in our family bible studies. I know that sounds really vague. What I mean though is just that. We have been studying what the bible is all about. Rather than taking very long looks at specific passages or spending months on end studying through the Gospels we have been looking at the bible in general. I wanted to give my children an understanding of what the point of the bible really is.
For a kid reading at a 1st grade level and two others who really are still learning to comprehend themes in books (rather than just their entertainment value) the bible can seem rather daunting. The NASB sitting in front of me has 1033 pages. There is not one picture in it and the print is rather small. To expect any kid to fully comprehend the message of the bible without guidance is to expect the highly improbable (if not the impossible). As their father, I felt it was my job to assure that they understood why the bible is something that they need to be reading.
While I have often said that the bible is filled with love stories, it is not a romance novel. While I have often said that the bible is filled with action, it is not an action adventure book. While I have said that it is contains beautiful poetry, it is not just beautiful literature. While Paul often mentions the great mystery, it is not a mystery novel. And despite what many people try to do with the bible, it is not a ďchoose your own adventureĒ book. It is Godís book. It is his story. And the story he desired to share is what is often called the Plan of Salvation or the Scheme of Redemption. In my families study together we learned/were reminded of several important themes found throughout the scriptures.
Godís Desire is to Be With His People. The bible opens with man in the garden. While we cannot know for certain the exact nature of Adam and Eveís relationship with God. What we can know is that in Genesis 3, we learn that they recognized the sound of God walking in the Garden. Just a a child knows the sound of his motherís voice because he has heard it, so Adam and Eve knew the sound of their Fatherís presence because they had heard it before. The bible ends the same way. God is among his people (Rev. 21:3-4). God is like any good Father. He wants to be with his children. He longs to be with his children. And all that he has done is about making certain that at the end of this life he will get to be with his children forever.
Godís Desire is to be King Over His People. The first technical reference to God ruling or being a king is found in Ex. 15:18 where it tells us that he will reign forever. From that moment forward Godís kingship and lordship was unquestioned. While Israel failed to honor God from time to time, there was never any doubt that God ruled from heaven above. This theme of kingship presides over the book of Revelation. More than 80 verses speak of his kingdom (only the Gospels contain more references to Godís kingdom in the NT). It is one of the most important themes in Godís final book. In it he reasserts that he is King. The question becomes will you accept his kingship.
You see, every kingdom is governed by rules. A kingdom without rules is anarchy. Godís kingdom is no different. Many think that we are free to do as we will in Godís kingdom. And yet, that is exactly what the Great Dragon did. He did what he wanted. He gave up his proper abode and for that he was cast from Godís presence.
Godís Desire is for His People to be Holy. In the very same passage that reveals to us that man understood what God sounded like, it tells us why man is not in Godís presence today. Man was kicked out of the Garden of Eden because he sinned. The Serpent was cast out of Heaven because he sinned. Israel was cast out of Canaan because they sinned.
We were called to be a holy. ďYou yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (I Pet. 2:5).Ē We were not called to be any the way we were. We were called to be a holy priesthood. We are bought with a price and made blameless. It is our job to keep our souls that way. No, we wonít be perfect, that is why Jesus died for us. But God wants us to rise above the world by being a special people who truly appreciate the great gift that was given unto us.
When we really consider what the bible is all about, I cannot see any other life to live besides the one God has called me to live. What about you?
Grinnell church of Christ
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The Bible Story
Volume 6 Issue 31