March 7, 2010
2 Timothy 3:14-17
The Bible is the most famous, most diverse, most difficult, most profound, most challenging, most acclaimed, most criticized, and most powerful book ever written. More people in the world read the Bible than any other book in the history of the universe.
Yet even so, we read the Bible with a mixture of fear and hope, faith and doubt, understanding and confusion. Some of this great mixture of biblical experience comes from the complexity of the Bible itself, and some of it comes from our misunderstandings of what the Bible is and how it still works today. In the next 15 minutes or so, I want to talk about 5 basic characteristics of the Bible that may help us understand it and reclaim its power in our lives today in the 21st century world.
Sometimes, when we look at the Bible we can feel completely overwhelmed by its complexity and its cultural distance from our world. For many people, even for many Christians, it is hard to see any significant connection between those words written in far away worlds and our life in our world today.
However, the Bible is absolutely NECESSARY for us as Christians. In fact, it is non-negotiable for all who want to follow Jesus. The Bible is one of God’s key tools in accomplishing God’s mission in our world. God intends for the Bible to shape us and to guide us into his mission. N. T. Wright summarizes it like this: “To be a Christian while not letting the Bible do all the things it is capable of, through you and in you, is like trying to play the piano with your fingers tied together.”1
Second, the Bible is ALIVE. ...
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