I promised to deliver book reviews to my readers, so here’s my first venture.
After thirteen years as a Christian I have finally finished reading the bible cover-to-cover. I completed the book of Malachi last week, thus ending my long journey through the Old Testament. So what took me so long? In February, 1995 I picked up the holy scriptures for the first time with a burning heart. Within a few months I had read through the New Testament. I began reading the Old Testament starting with Genesis. I moved fairly quickly through it and Exodus too, but hit a brick wall in Leviticus. I just flat stopped reading the bible through at that point. I didn’t cease from studying the bible, just from reading it like a novel. I couldn’t get a firm grasp on Leviticus, nor did I see any profit in attempting to understand it. I moved on to topical studies until 2005. My regular readers will realize this is the time when I had my personal reformation of belief. A new fire and passion for God’s word blazed through my heart and the scriptures have consumed my thoughts ever since. I picked up where I left off in Leviticus and raced through the the remainder of the OT with great zeal. Now that I have finished this epic quest, I’m off to do it again!
Yes, my friends, the bible is that good of a book. It’s author is peerless among men. I realize credit is given to over 40 different writers spanning nearly two millennia, however, the Lord God himself breathed inspiration into their spirits to communicate his eternal truths. The bible is part history, part prophecy, part poetry, part song, part instruction, part exhortation and all theology. There is something for everyone in this massive tome. One incredible attribute the bible possesses is its ability to speak to every culture, every personality, every age range and every heart in every epoch of history. The scriptures are applicable to all persons without exception. The bible is more than words on a page. It is living and active, cutting through stony hearts and making alive those whom it touches. It testifies of the single greatest man who has ever walked the earth. Jesus Christ, who is fully man and fully God, has no equal in all of history. It is he who the scriptures testify of from Genesis to Revelation. The glory and power of his name contrasts starkly against the depths and misery of human sin, a subject God is unafraid to confront. He has successfully articulated the heart of the human condition. He does not pull any punches in his assessment of our thoughts and desires. The bible is stark and uncensored in its take on our depraved state. The unfolding story of redemption is the plot-line to this literary masterpiece. It is a book that glorifies God and debases man. God’s glory is manifested in his love for his chosen people and in the just punishment of the wicked. How could mere human writers have truly authored it? Who would dare author a volume condemning all human activities?
Warning: Plot spoilers ahead. Approximately two-thirds of the bible sets up for the introduction of the story’s protagonist in the New Testament. The Old Testament contains many foreshadowing references to his eventual appearance, thus building the appropriate amount of tension and excitement for his revelation to the world. When he did come, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was despised and rejected by the very people he has come to redeem. The deliverer Israel has cried out to for generations to come and save them from their oppressors dwelt and ministered right in their midst, yet did not recognize him! They in fact, unjustly accused him, beat him and condemned him to death. The king of glory was crucified on a Roman cross; A cruel death reserved for the most heinous criminals. Death could not hold him, however, and he rose from the grave with the keys of death and hell firmly in his hands. His resurrection brings life to all those who will believe in him, of both Jew and Gentile. The climax of the book comes when the armies of Satan, the story’s antagonist, wages war against Christ and those who fearlessly hold to his testimony. The Lamb of God, will return to the earth in glory to exact vengeance upon his enemies and to give his Saints an eternal inheritance. The meek shall inherit the earth. The wicked will suffer everlasting misery. What an incredible story! It has been allegorized, typified and symbolized time and again throughout history, but none come close to the drama and triumph of the original redemption story.
In conclusion, the bible is a long book, but never dull. It is a real page-turner. Holy scripture challenges our natural mindset. Its teachings are antithetical to all we hold dear, but its overall message is life transforming. The bible testifies to something much greater than words written on a page. It is the historical record of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the testimony of the eternal significance of his life and death. The bible acts as a means of grace to bring us to a full knowledge of the person and work of Christ. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It behooves every single person to read this book; whether man or woman, young or old, saved or lost, rich or poor. The bible has a lasting impact on all who read it with a seeking heart. If you pick up only one book this year, let it be the eternal wisdom of God’s holy word, preserved through the generations by his divine providence. Trust me, no other literary work on this planet can make us deeply feel both the depths of despair and the heights of hope quite like the bible. Pick up your copy today!
Note: The bible is unlike your typical novel. You can open it toward the back and begin reading there. In fact, that is the way it is intended to be read. My personal recommendation is to start with the New Testament books of John and Matthew and then proceed to Romans and Acts. This will provide a solid foundation in understanding the life, ministry and doctrine of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.