Why should we read the Bible? Does it give us any encouragement to read it?
The Bible says that it is not like any other book; it is Alive:
The Word of God is living and powerful….and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
There are over one thousand prophecies in the Bible and almost six hundred have been fulfilled to the letter, many confirmed by historical records separate from the Bible.
It seems reasonable to suggest that the remaining four hundred will also be fulfilled to the letter. On the basis of this evidence, the Bible is worth reading.
However, there is a problem. Much of the Bible is difficult to understand, and there are many passages that can only be understood with familiarity with the culture and customs of the Ancient Near East.
This is because the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, was written by Hebrews, for Hebrews, in the Hebrew/Aramaic language, rooted in Hebrew eastern culture and thought patterns…..which are very different from western culture and thought patterns.
God asks several questions in the Bible, of which one of the best known is in the Garden of Eden:
Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ Genesis 3:9
This seems to be a strange question to ask because God knew where Adam was, and in any case, it is impossible to hide from Him:
‘Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD. Jeremiah 23.24
The question was not about where Adam was geographically in the Garden. God asked the question following Adam’s disobedience which resulted in a basic change in Adam’s relationship with Him.
Therefore, the real question was, ‘Do you realise where you are (in your relationship with Me)?’
In Acts 8 the Apostle Philip is specifically sent by God to talk to the Ethiopian Eunuch, and he asks what seems to be an impertinent question of an important man:
A man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. Sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet….
Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’ So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’
The Ethiopian said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8.26-31
The Ethiopian replies graciously, but perhaps Philip’s real question was, ‘Do you want to understand what you are reading?’
Have you ever noticed that there are some curious and unexplained comments in the Gospels?
For example, at the end of the story of the Raising of Jairus’s daughter:
He charged them to tell no one what had happened. Luke 8:56
What did happen that Jesus was so insistent nobody should know except those in the room? Clearly it was not that the child had been raised from the dead, because as soon as she walked out of the front door the ‘tumult’ outside could see her.
Again, at the beginning of the story of the Raising of Lazarus:
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. John 11.6.
Since we are told that Jesus was particularly fond of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, why does He not hurry to Lazarus as soon as He receives news of his illness?
Again, John the Baptist asks Jesus a very strange question:
When John the Baptist heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" Matthew 11.2
Since John had announced Jesus’ arrival, had been present at Jesus’ Baptism, had seen the dove descend, and had heard the voice from heaven – why does he need to ask the question?
Are there answers to these three questions, and many similar ones? Yes.
Are these questions important, or irrelevant? They were important to the Apostle Peter:
Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of Eternal Life. John 6.68.
If Jesus has ‘the Words of Eternal Life’, it must be important to us to know what they mean.
Welcome to this Blog….and enjoy the answers to these difficult questions!