Monday, January 2, 2012

The Most Read Book

The most read, mis-read, misunderstood and incredibly interesting book is one that’s been around for centuries and has been translated into hundreds of languages and dialects. There are even dozens of translations into English so if you’re put off by the old King James version of the BIBLE with its thee's and thou's then you can find one that is written in up-to-date modern English.

Here’s a simple Bible 101 course: There are 66 books in the Bible; the Bible is comprised of 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Old Testament books tell of mankind vacillating between worshiping and obeying God and then turning away from Him and being idolatrous and immoral. Man’s behavior requires judgment. Throughout these books God’s plan unfolds. First we have the covenants He made with Adam and Noah and Abraham. We watch the Israelites follow God, turn to idols, turn back to God, fall away again, over and over. The miracles and love are abundant and yet they keep being “adulterous” so to speak. From the perspective of the Jews there are two kinds of people: Jews and Gentiles. And I think that this is also God’s perspective. It’s like you have two children, your firstborn and your second born. The Jews are God’s firstborn, but the Gentiles are in the family, too, and the promises and inheritance are for the Gentiles as well.

There are hundreds of prophecies throughout that tell of a coming Messiah. Hundreds of prophecies were fulfilled with Jesus’ first coming and the rest will be fulfilled at His second coming. Some prophecies are so precise that they are impossible to ignore. If you study carefully you can find references to Christ in every single book. My favorites are the Psalms where there are countless prophecies concerning Christ.

The New Testament books declare a message of hope: Christ has taken on our punishment (death) and paid for our sins. If we accept that he has done this, then hooray, we get out of the punishment, but if we don’t accept it then we’re on our own and the judgment is eternal separation from God, or more bluntly, hell.

Many times I’ve heard people (who probably haven’t studied the Bible) say that the Bible is full of contradictions or the Bible is full of bloodshed. I have yet to encounter a supposed contradiction that couldn’t be resolved by a careful look at the original language, culture or context. As for the bloodshed: check today’s news. Man has not progressed.