The Bible is above all a book that talks about God and His relationship to the world. What is God like? What is His relationship to His creation? What is His intended purpose for creation? (From the Holman Bible Illustrated Dictionary)When I was in school and a book was studied in class, we would invariably always cover those basic questions:
- Who are the main characters;
- What is the setting;
- What is the climax of the story;
- What is it about.
If we apply those same basic questions to the Bible, I think that we can all agree that the main characters are God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Sub-characters would be Adam and Eve, Noah,
Abraham, Moses, David etc.... The setting is creation. I think it is fair to say that the climax is the cross. The story is about God's love for the world.
Sadly though too often we turn a Bible Study into a study about us and for our particular needs. The Bible is for us not necessarily about us. Now before you call me a heretic, let me explain.
Imagine that just like any good books the Bible is made into a movie. If the Bible was about you then you would have a part in the movie. The truth is that the only part you would have (if you are lucky) is the one of an extra whose head or hands are seen for a second. So first and foremost let's read the Bible to know God better.
To know him is to recognize him for what he is, the sovereign Lord who makes a demand on man’s obedience and especially upon the obedience of his people Israel, with whom he has made a covenant. He is the God whose holiness and loving-kindness are ‘known’ in the experience of nation and individual. The criterion of this knowledge is obedience, and its opposite is not simply ignorance but rebellious, wilful turning away from God (cf. 1 Sa. 2:12; 3:7; 2 Ch. 33:13; Is. 1:3; Je. 8:7; 24:7; 31:34). (taken from the New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition)
The beautiful thing is that the more we get to know Him, the more we get to know ourselves. Our heritage is with God and we are called His children (Romans 8:14). That lofty knowledge comes with some instructions too. Like any parent God wants us to follow some rules and make the family look good:
- we are to be peacemakers Matthew 5:9
- we are to love our enemies Matthew 5:44-45
- we are to believe Him and receive Him John 1:12
- we are not exempt from suffering Romans 8:17
- we are to be blameless and innocent Philippians 2:15
- we are to know Him and recognize Him 1 John 3:1-2
You have all heard that couples that have been together for a long time tend to look alike. University of Michigan psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted an experiment to test this phenomenon. Here is one of his findings; "Zajonc suggested that older couples looked more alike because people in close contact mimic each other’s facial expressions. In other words, if your partner has a good sense of humor and laughs a lot, he or she will probably http://www.livescience.com/8384-couples-start.html)
We are called to be imitators of God Ephesians 5:1. Imitate means "to follow as a pattern, model or example" (Webster). The word imitator from Ephesians 5:1 is also translated as followers in the KJV. We cannot imitate what we do not know, therefore we need to know God and the only way to know God is by spending time with Him through His word. The more the better. Do not treat the Bible as a self help book. It is so much more than that.
Open your Faithbook more than your Facebook.
This semester PWOC Fort Drum will offer a study on the Book of James. I hope that you can join us either physically or online. The study and teaching will be posted here weekly.
I cannot wait to start this journey with you!