Understanding the Bible

Chapter 1: The Goal of the Bible

The writer laments that individuals usually ask various questions and employ numerous strategies to read the Bible. Others, he asserts, give up Bible reading altogether or by no means start reading because they can not see the relevance of accounts of people within the distant part for them today. However, Christians imagine that though the Bible has a wide variety of human authors, there’s a single unifying theme for a divine Author. It is maybe most succinctly offered by Paul to Timothy in I Tim. three: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 objective 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, includes all the sweep of God’s goal to redeem and restore mankind and certainly all creation. The primary thrust is God’s love for the rebels who deserve nothing however judgment.

God’s plan, originating in His grace, Stott emphasizes, took shape before time began. He made a covenant of grace with Abraham, promising by way of his prosperity to bless all of the families of the earth. The rest of the Old Testament tabulates His gracious dealings with Abraham’s posterity, the Israelites. Though they rejected His Word, He never casts them out. In the New Testament, the apostles emphasize that forgiveness is possible only by way of Christ’s sin-bearing death, and a new beginning leading to a new life only through the Spirit of Christ. The New Testament authors insist that although people have already in a single sense been saved, in another sense their salvation still lies in the future. Conceived in a previous eternity, achieved at a time limit and historically worked in human experience, it will reach its consummation in the eternity of the future.

Stott’s hypothetical argument is that if salvation is available through Christ and if Scripture issues salvation, then scripture is full of Christ. Christ’s assertion was that in each of the three divisions of the Old Testament, the Law (the Pentateuch/First 5 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 must be fulfilled. Discovering Christ within the New Testament will not be strange. The gospels, acts, epistles and revelation vividly painting Him. Within the latter as an illustration, He seems as a glorified man, a lamb, majestic rider on a white horse and a Heavenly Bridegroom. The survey of the 2 testaments demonstrates that we must turn to the Bible if we want to know about Christ and His salvation. The writer places 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 absolutely obligatory to put the research in perspective. The reason for the recording of God’s dealing with Israel generally and people in particular is to teach us (Rom. 15:four; I Cor. 10:eleven). 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 although Christians would defend it theologically. Nonetheless, Christians consider within the providence of God whose alternative of Palestine cannot be an accident. An obvious feature is that it acts as a kind of bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. Strategically, therefore, God set Jerusalem in the centre of the nations (Ez.5:5).

When God told Moses that He’d carry the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan, He described it as good and spacious. Joshua and Caleb, unlike the other spies, confirm that the land was exceedingly good. Several standard expressions were used to consult with the entire country from north to south. The commonest merely is from Dan to Beersheba. Stott means that perhaps a simpler way to remember 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 because the ‘Shepherd of Israel’ was natural because of the intimate relationship which grew over the years between the Palestinian shepherds and the sheep for the reason that latter have been kept more for wool than for mutton. Jesus further developed the metaphor, calling himself the Good Shepherd. Though many Israelite farmers kept livestock, even more cultivated the soil. The three essential products of Palestine (grain, new wine and oil) are usually grouped collectively in many biblical passages (Deut. 7:13; Joel 2:19). The writer notes the large importance of the early (autumn) rain and the latter (spring) rain to harvest. Without them the corn would stay 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 after which provided for them throughout their wanderings within the wilderness. From another standpoint, they are all harvest festivals marking respectively the beginning of the barley harvest, the top of the grain harvest and the end of the fruit harvest. Stott’s use of three maps showing the Fertile Crescent, the historical and natural regions of Palestine clearly puts the study in perspective.

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