Saturday, June 22 2024 - 1:31 AM
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Why Read the Bible?

He was born Alexei Maximovich Peshkov but renamed himself Maxim Gorky. (“Gorky” in Russian means “bitter.”) In one of this famous writer’s best plays, The Lower Depths, this bitterness was expressed by Bubnoff, who uttered to another character, “You are not wanted anywhere—and, anyway, all people on earth are superfluous.”

Superfluous? It’s hard to argue otherwise, at least for beings trapped on a planet that’s always half immersed in the cold darkness of a galaxy drifting toward nowhere. No wonder Shakespeare’s Hamlet cried out, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!”

Work It Out

Nature? However inspiring, nature gives us no end other than a cold hole that we share with worms. Nature isn’t the answer to our problems; no, it’s the cause of them because nature, as it’s now constituted, is what eventually leads to our sickness and death.

Science? Science hasn’t answered the hard questions of life but has, instead, with its weapons of mass destruction. It has made those elusive answers more urgent than ever. Far from solving our problems, science can quickly turn into the biggest problem of all.

Art? Artists only mimic our pain, our bitterness, our superfluity; they never work us through them.

History? History offers us nothing but dismal examples that will be repeated even more dismally despite the lessons it unfolds if history is any example.

In short, nothing in the world itself offers us the solution to our problems. On the contrary, the world itself and all that springs from it (war, disease, suffering, and death) is the problem. Thus, unless we have something that transcends this world—that will take us above it, past it, and beyond it—then our fate is as hopeless as this world.

There’s Hope!

No doubt this is why the Bible tells us something radically different from what the world does. It’s why the Bible tells us what the world itself can’t, for while the world tells only about itself, the Bible tells about what transcends the world, about what’s above, beyond, and better. For this reason, the Bible is a source of hope for us, we who otherwise are gripped in the gravity of a dying planet. Though the Bible itself has been produced here, in this world its inspiration, the things that it promises and offers, are not of this world but of God, who’s greater than this world and who, out of that greatness, has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ.

The messages of the world—nature, science, history, art—offer us only the world and what it’s made of: that which is decaying, dying, fading. But the Bible points us to something else:

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:23).

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Wonderful Truths

Can you see? These are not truths found in the folds of roses or in the dark sparkle of a cat’s eyes. But they are truths, truths full of hope and promise. They are answers that we know only because God has revealed them to us through the Bible. That’s why the Bible is so important. It tells us what we wouldn’t be able to learn anywhere else, and it does so with a power and authority that only those who have submitted themselves to the God of the Bible can experience.

You can’t know the power and authority of the Bible simply because the radio preacher’s words touch your ears. You can’t know the power and authority of the Bible because your mother was Christian. Or because you were sprinkled as an infant and a priest uttered a prayer over your damp head. But you will know the power and authority of the Bible only by reading it for yourself and coming to know and experience the love of God revealed in its pages. For it is here, in this Book, that we learn about the God who loves us, forgives us, hears our every cry, knows our every pain, and wants to bring help, healing, and solace every hurting human being.

The Only Source

To learn these wonderful truths—that God loved us before the foundation of the world, that Christ died as a sacrifice for our sins, that we can have forgiveness for whatever evil we have done. We have to go to the only source that teaches these things and does so with power and authority that nothing else has.

Nature might speak about a Creator, a Designer, but not about a Savior. Not about a sacrifice for sin. Not about a Redeemer who has died for us, who was raised from the dead, and who promises to return. Nor that he will re-create the heavens and the earth in an environment in which evil will never appear again. We know about these things only because the Bible tells about them.

But on whose word should I believe in the authority and importance of the Bible? The radio preacher’s? No! Not on anyone’s word—except the Bible’s itself! I challenge you to go to the Bible with an earnest heart, a sincere longing for answers that you will never find anywhere else. And I say go now! Don’t wait until you’ve stopped drinking, or you’ve stopped philandering or cheating, or lying. Go now, just as you are, to the Bible and read for yourself about the God who took on human flesh. In that flesh, He died so that people just like you and me, with our lies and cheating and philandering, can still find hope. It is so we can find forgiveness, healing, and the promise of a new and better life.

The Bible and Reality

Guilty? Frightened? Unloved? Confused? No wonder! After all, we live in a guilty, frightening, unloving, and confusing world. But the Bible, unlike any other book, can bring you to something beyond all the guilt, fear, and confusion of the world to a greater reality. It can bring you the reality of a God who loves us and who tells us things that this world can’t.

Maxim Gorky says: “You are not wanted anywhere—and, anyway, all people on earth are superfluous.” The Bible says: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).

Superfluous? Not wanted?

Or is there a God who knows even the number of hairs on your head?

The world tells you that the first statement is true; the Bible says it’s the second. I challenge you to discover once and for all which is correct.

And the answer, you will see, makes all the difference in the world.

If you liked this, you might also like Why Should I Study the Bible? | Understanding The Bible: How to Read and Study It for Yourself 

Clifford Goldstein writes from Silver Spring, Maryland.

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About Clifford Goldstein

Clifford Goldstein

Clifford Goldstein

write from Silver Spring, Maryland.

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