What is the Bible? And why should we read it?
To some; it is a compendium of stories, both fictional and non-fictional. To some; it is another history book, with some proven facts and actual locations. To some; it is purely spiritual (or magical)… you may not even read it to experience its power- keeping it under your pillow is potent enough. To some; it is a theology book, on which Judaism and the Christian faith build their doctrine. To some; it is just another book… another collection of dead men’s works. Many people think many things about the Bible. But what does the Bible say about itself? Also, what did Jesus say about the Bible?
A keen look at Peter’s letter gives us a hint on how the Bible was composed: 2 Peter 1:19-21 (KJV);
“19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
- owing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
- 21. 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”
- “The word of prophecy”… spoken word.
- “The prophecy of scripture”… written word.
The Bible is the compilation of spoken and written prophecies. These men (being HOLY MEN), spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Spirit. Here, Peter was referring to the writings of the prophets; and it still applies to the rest of the Bible. Now we know the bible isn’t a scholastic, magical or history book. God ‘moved’ Holy Men (by His Spirit), to put His own thoughts into words and letters. Therefore, only God has the interpretation of the Bible… no man owns the right to any private interpretation of the Bible.
Let us take a look at what Paul had to say:
2 Timothy 3:15-17 (KJV);
“15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
- All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
- That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”
- The scriptures are “HOLY”… they are more than normal letters. The scriptures are the raw materials for wisdom, leading us to salvation (through faith in Christ). The scriptures are spiritual, not magical. They become active by faith, not fetish or idolatrous practices.
- All scripture was given by the INSPIRATION of God. Not the creative imagination or the historical accountability of man.
- All scripture brings profit to “The Man of God”… only those who have the Spirit of God receive the profit of the scriptures (1Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 4:2). That is why it is possible for one to read the Bible and not make any sense of it, if such a person has no relationship with God.
That settles it. The Bible was given by God and is interpreted by God. And the profit of the Bible is for those who have a relationship with God. What is the central theme of the Bible? What did God intend to communicate through the Bible?