Friday, 13 May 2011

why read the bible?

Imagine for a moment that you've taken a step of bravery and decided to give to your friend a copy of a gospel. You've had some conversations with them in the past, and you think it's time that they read the Bible for themselves.

You give them the gospel and they say to you 'I'm not into reading – why should I bother reading the Bible?'. What do you say?

There are a few options for what you could say. Here are one or two of them.

Why read the Bible? Because it's clearly an incredibly powerful and influential book.

Look back through history and there are millions of examples of people who have read the Bible and their lives have subsequently been dramatically altered. There must be something to it for it to have consistently had this effect across cultures and time.

To look deeper than this though, we should not look only at the fact of the effect that it's had, but also the claims that it makes. The Bible makes claims to have a right to influence your life. It claims to offer the key to true joy. It claims that there is such a thing as God, eternity and heaven and hell. It claims that only in it's pages is it possible to find the answers to questions of eternity, meaning and identity. These claims primarily revolve around the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ made some staggering pronouncements about himself. The consequences of what he said about God, humanity, the world and life are earth-shattering in their scope and importance. If what he says is true then this is something that needs to be engaged with, given great weight and it's something to which it's vital that we pay attention. If what he says is true then there's nothing more important to believe, and the risks of ignoring it are incomparably huge.

That's why everyone should read the Bible. There are all sorts of reasons for believing that it is true – that's for another post. If it is true there's a massive amount to be gained or lost. You might read it and decide that it's just another book with no significance. In that case then there's an hour of your life that you'll never get back.

But you might not decide that it's insignificant. You may read it and realise that it really is true, that it really is more than just another book. What if that were the case? There's too much at stake to not make this trade-off. You risk losing an hour of your time if you read it. But if you don't read it, you risk losing the secret to the human condition, to true joy, meaning, eternal life and relationship with God. I think that's worth an hour of your time.

No comments: