Bible Study 101 notes
June 10, 2020
What is the purpose of Scripture?
It is helpful when reading and studying the bible to understand why it was written. What is the overall story?
The Bible seems very complex. It has 66 books, some longer, some shorter, some easier to read, some more difficult, some prose, some poetry, some about the past, some about the future. The stories are about different people, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus.
What are all these books, all of these stories trying to tell us? It is actually one story about one person, God.
These stories are there to help us see God. To help us understand our questions about God. What does God want from us? How does God interact with us? Where is God? How can we know God?
Jesus summed up the main theme of the entire story in Matthew 22:34-40.
“When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had left the Sadducees speechless, they met together. One of the, a legal expert, tested him. Teach, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all you mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Everything in this book depends on these two things. All the stories told by Moses, that give us the law are trying to help us understand how to do these two things. All the stories of the prophets are trying to tell us how to do these two things. All the stories in the New Testament written after Jesus came to us are written to help us do these two things.
So, if we read scripture with these two things in mind it helps us grasp the overall picture.
The Bible is not a list of do’s and don’ts it is a book about a relationship between God and God’s creation. Humankind being at the top of the connection between God and God’s creation.
It’s about humanities struggle to know God and remain in relationship with God.
It’s about God’s work to protect, to nurture, to provide for, to love humankind.
It is the struggle of humanity to choose life over death. When Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he chose death. Since that day God has been working to show humanity the way back to life. This is the story of that struggle.
Paul explained the struggle in Romans 7:21:25a
“So I find that, as a rule, when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me. I gladly agree with the Law on the inside, but I see a different law at work in my body. It wages a war against the law of my mind and takes me prisoner with the law of sin that is in my body. I’m a miserable human being. Who will deliver me from this dead corpse? Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Paul gives us the answer to our struggle, Jesus Christ.
God provided Jesus Christ as our way to overcome the broken connection caused by Adam’s choice. God gave us the connection with each other – the second most important commandment – because we need each other to keep our connection strong. Without both connections we won’t be able to win the battle Paul describes.
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