Step 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Extra Credit: Meet your Bible

Ron Ford March 25, 2023

What your Bible IS and what your Bible IS NOT

  • Your Bible IS NOT a magical book with mysterious origins and mystical powers that contains no ordinary, human elements (versus the claims for the origin of the Koran or Book of Mormon).
  • Your Bible IS the product of human activity in space and time that resulted in 66 books, two Testaments, by multiple authors, in a variety of genres, spanning around 1500 years.
  • Your Bible IS NOT inaccessible to those who are not scholars. You have immediate access.
  • Your Bible IS an ocean that continues to reveal more and more from God to those who strive to explore its depths. Your entire life is not long enough to discover it all.

Your Bible was Written FOR you, although it was not written TO you.

  • OT – written to people living in the culture of the ancient near east (Mesopotamia – Sumerians, Assyrians, Akkadians, and Babylonians – Egypt, Assyria, Persia, etc.)
  • NT – written to people living in the Greco-Roman culture and 2nd Temple Judaism.
  • We are reading the OT and NT while (here in the West) living in the culture steeped in post-enlightenment, post-modern, anti-christian, moral relativistic beliefs and worldviews.
  • The Point? The best place from which to hear what God is saying to you now is to begin with what he was saying to them then.

What your Bible claims about itself

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
  • Written at God’s INITIATION – this is God’s idea. He is reaching to you. He wants you to know him.
  • Written by God’s INSPIRATION – it is God’s voice you encounter through the written words of mere humans who authored the scriptures.
  • Read as God’s gift to us with all the benefits of his communication to us and communion with us
  • Increased familiarity and understanding makes room for:
  • Increased capacity to hear what God is communicating
  • Deeper communion and relationship

The Jesus CERTAINTY principle:

  • The Principle: the closer to the person and events of Jesus, the more certain we are in our understanding. The further away from the facts of Jesus, either into the past or into the future, the less certain is our understanding.
  • See 1 Corinthians 13:9,12 (ESV)“[9] For we know in part and we prophesy in part, [12] For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
  • Our greatest certainty are the historical facts of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection.
  • Next, there are the texts derived from the historical fact of Jesus by those with him that explain and interpret (4 gospels, Acts, letters and sermons by Paul and others).
  • Then, the Texts Jesus affirmed that spoke of him and God’s purposes in the world.
  • Finally, distance from the facts of Jesus increases the uncertainty of our explanation & interpretation BUT does nothing to our certainty of Jesus OR the power of the Bible for communication and communion with the God of the Bible

Your Bible in your daily life – several ways of engaging with God using the Bible that have centuries of proven benefit.

  • Devotional time – moments with God
  • Prayer – taking God’s words back to him to talk about it.
  • Reading for the big picture
  • Studying for the details in the picture
  • Memorization and meditation – like a deep soak in healing, transformational waters

Ron Ford, April, 2022