Understanding the Bible

Chapter 1: The Function of the Bible

The creator laments that folks normally ask varying questions and employ diverse strategies to read the Bible. Others, he asserts, hand over Bible reading altogether or never start reading because they can’t see the relevance of accounts of people within the distant part for them today. Nevertheless, Christians believe that though the Bible has a wide variety of human authors, there is a single unifying theme for a divine Author. It’s perhaps most succinctly offered by Paul to Timothy in I Tim. 3:15-17. The apostle brings together the origin and object of Scripture. The writer investigates the character of the Bible’s usefulness and evaluation three words used Paul – salvation, Christ and faith.

Stott presents the central idea that the supreme function of the Bible is to instruct its readers for salvation, implying that Scripture has a practical purpose which is ethical than intellectual. Since this is neither scientific nor literary, the Bible may very well be rightly seen as a book neither of literature nor of philosophy, however of salvation. He notes that salvation, in addition to forgiveness of sins, contains the entire sweep of God’s function to redeem and restore mankind and indeed all creation. The principle thrust is God’s love for the rebels who deserve nothing however judgment.

God’s plan, originating in His grace, Stott emphasizes, took shape earlier than time began. He made a covenant of grace with Abraham, promising by way of his prosperity to bless all the households of the earth. The rest of the Old Testament tabulates His gracious dealings with Abraham’s posterity, the Israelites. Although they rejected His Word, He by no means casts them out. In the New Testament, the apostles emphasize that forgiveness is possible only by way of Christ’s sin-bearing demise, and a new birth leading to a new life only via the Spirit of Christ. The New Testament authors insist that though individuals have already in one sense been saved, in one other sense their salvation still lies within the future. Conceived in a past eternity, achieved at a time limit and historically worked in human expertise, it will attain its consummation in the eternity of the future.

Stott’s hypothetical argument is that if salvation is available by Christ and if Scripture issues salvation, then scripture is filled with Christ. Christ’s assertion was that in each of the three divisions of the Old Testament, the Law (the Pentateuch/First five books of the Bible), the prophets [history books or former prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and latter prophets (major-Isaiah to Daniel- and minor prophets- Hosea to Malachi)] and the Psalms (writings), there have been things concerning Him and all these things should be fulfilled. Discovering Christ in the New Testament is just not strange. The gospels, acts, epistles and revelation vividly portray Him. In the latter for example, He seems as a glorified man, a lamb, majestic rider on a white horse and a Heavenly Bridegroom. The survey of the two testaments demonstrates that we must turn to the Bible if we want to know about Christ and His salvation. The writer puts faith in its right perspective after lamenting its misuse.

Chapter 2: The Land of the Bible

Stott observes that some knowledge of the historical and geographical setting of God’s individuals is totally essential to place the study in perspective. The reason for the recording of God’s dealing with Israel generally and individuals in particular is to teach us (Rom. 15:4; I Cor. 10:11). Scripture refuses to hide the faults of great characters within the Old and New Testaments.

The writer dismisses the declare that Jerusalem was the centre of the earth as a sheer geographical nonsense though Christians would defend it theologically. Nonetheless, Christians imagine in the providence of God whose choice of Palestine can’t be an accident. An obvious feature is that it acts as a kind of bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. Strategically, due to this fact, God set Jerusalem within the centre of the nations (Ez.5:5).

When God told Moses that He’d bring the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan, He described it nearly as good and spacious. Joshua and Caleb, unlike the other spies, confirm that the land was exceedingly good. A number of fashionable expressions had been used to check with the entire country from north to south. The most common merely is from Dan to Beersheba. Stott means that maybe an easier way to recollect Palestine is to visualize four strips of the country between the sea and the desert – the coastland, the central highlands, the Jordan valley and the jap tableland.

Stott affirms that God’s revelation as the ‘Shepherd of Israel’ was natural because of the intimate relationship which grew over time between the Palestinian shepherds and the sheep since the latter have been kept more for wool than for mutton. Jesus further developed the metaphor, calling himself the Good Shepherd. Although many Israelite farmers kept livestock, even more cultivated the soil. The three major products of Palestine (grain, new wine and oil) are normally grouped collectively in lots of biblical passages (Deut. 7:13; Joel 2:19). The writer notes the super importance of the early (autumn) rain and the latter (spring) rain to harvest. Without them the corn would remain thin and desiccated. God Himself linked the rain and the harvest together and promised them to His obedient people. Three annual festivals had an agricultural as well as a spiritual significance. In them they worshiped the God of nature and the God of grace as the one God, Lord of the earth and of Israel. They are the Feast of the Passover, the Feast of the First fruits/Harvest and the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles/Ingathering. The observance of those was obligatory. They commemorated the signal mercies of the covenant God of Israel who first redeemed His folks from their Egyptian bondage and gave them the Law at Sinai and then provided for them throughout their wanderings within the wilderness. From another standpoint, they’re all harvest festivals marking respectively the start of the barley harvest, the end of the grain harvest and the tip of the fruit harvest. Stott’s use of three maps showing the Fertile Crescent, the historical and natural areas of Palestine clearly puts the examine in perspective.

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