The central, dominating theme of the Bible is not science, style or philosophy…it’s something more practical, yet more dramatic.
What’s the purpose of the Bible? That’s the million dollar question.
Well, I know what it’s not.
The Bible Is Not Science
It may contain some cosmology, archaeology and anthropology. But the Bible is not science.
Science comes by way of research, theories and testing.
Science might be able to tell us something about man’s origins. But it could never tell us about man’s nature…
The Bible Is Not Literary
Anybody–and I don’t care how smart or savvy they are–describing the Bible as literature is missing the point.
Yes…the Bible deals with great human themes like sex, suffering and death. Yes, it contains some breathtaking literature. Yes, it handles knowledge with simplicity and deep insight. Yes, it stirs the soul.
Nevertheless, God didn’t intend the Bible as great literature. It’s written in a common, commercial language.
Much of it lacks polish. Grammatical accuracy. Emotional attribution. Thus, the purpose of the Bible is not in science OR style…
The Bible Is Not Philosophy
Of course, the Bible contains profound thoughts about being, knowledge and conduct. But it glosses over huge issues some philosophers spend their whole lives on.
Take evil and suffering for an example.
One of the things we learn is that the Bible teaches sin causes suffering and evil. But we’re never given a full explanation why sin, suffering or evil even exist in the first place.
Even Job in the end doesn’t learn the true point behind why he suffered so much.
Why the missing attention on these issues? I don’t know. All I know is that the Bible is more concerned with how to overcome evil and suffering than it is in the origin and purpose.
The Central, Dominating Thrust of the Bible
So what’s the purpose behind the Bible? The Apostle Paul gives the best answer.
Paul teaches us that the Bible has a practical, yet dramatic purpose. This purpose is moral rather than intellectual. It’s spiritual rather than physical. The supreme purpose of the Bible, Paul writes to Timothy, is to instruct its readers “for salvation.”
But salvation is far more than the forgiveness of sins. It includes the whole sweep of God’s purpose to redeem and restore mankind…to recreate the universe.
From the Bible we learn how sin entered into the world. We learn that death entered the world through sin. We learn the gravity of sin. The gravity of death. The gravity of alienation from God.
But the central, dominating thrust of the Bible is that God loves the very rebels who deserve nothing at his hands but judgment.
That is the purpose of the Bible.
Both Testaments Promote the Singular Purpose of the Bible
From cover to cover we learn the outworking of this salvation, this redemption. Where the Old Testament predicts and promises the source of this redemption, the New Testament identifies who it is.
The fundamental relationship between the Old and the New is that between promise and fulfillment. The Old promises. The New delivers.
The Simple Formula for Salvation
In the long run, Scripture doesn’t bear witness to Christ in order to satisfy our curiosity. It bears witness to Christ to draw from us a response of faith.
Think about it.
God’s purpose in and through the Bible is severely practical. He’s ordained it as his chief instrument for bringing men to salvation. The Bible points its finger unapologetically to Christ so that it’s readers will see him, believe him and be saved.
But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31
The formula is simple: Scripture. Christ. Faith. Salvation. Scripture points to Christ in order to evoke faith in Christ in order to bring life to the believer.
Whenever you read the Bible, you must look for Christ. And you must read until you find Him. Until you believe Him. And until you are saved.
And then you keep reading. Forever. And ever.
Part of the Quick and Dirty Guide to the Bible series.