Why Do I Need the Bible?

I’m not the only one to ask this question, am I?  I’m assuming I’m not, which means at some point in life you have probably asked the same thing. Why do we need the Bible? Before I answer that, let me tell you a little about me. I am a pastor. I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years. I was raised in a Christian home, went to Christian schools, and have spent most of my life surrounded by people who have told me about the importance of the Bible. I can quote a good portion of the Bible to you, so is it weird that I’ve wrestled with this question before? Well, I will tell you that my personal wrestling with the question of needing the Bible came from two things, both of which I hope to help you with today. First, it came from me not really understanding what the Bible is. Second, and probably the bigger of the two issues, it came from me not understanding how I am supposed to relate to the Bible. We’ll get to that one shortly, but first, let’s talk about what the Bible actually is.

            So, what is the Bible? Some common answers I’ve heard are a collection of stories, a bunch of ancient writings, an epic (like the Epic of Gilgamesh), teachings from an ancient society, a religious book, and a book of analogies that attempts to explain things. I can fully understand why a non-believer would give one of those answers, but all of those answers came from people that claim to be Christ followers. It is true that the Bible is a collection of writings. The 66 books of the Bible were written over a period of approximately 1500 years, by roughly 40 men. The collection of writings is broken into two testaments, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The two testaments are separated by a 400 year period of silence between God and man. The names of the books reveal either the author, the purpose, or the target audience of the book. For instance, the Gospel of John was written by John the Apostle, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. Genesis, the first book of the Bible was written to tell the Children of Israel about the genesis (or beginning) of their people. The letters written by the Apostle Paul are all named for their target audiences. All of that data is great, but it doesn’t really tell the story of what the Bible is. The truth is that the Bible is God revealing Himself to man. The Bible tells us who God is, how we can relate to God, and it reveals God’s plan and desire to be in relationship with us. I’ll dive into how God did all of this in a later blog, but for the purposes of this blog, you need to know that the Bible is God revealing Himself to you and showing you His plan to make sure that you and Him can have a real relationship with one another.

            Now, back to my second issue, not understanding how I am supposed to relate to the Bible. Relating to the Bible really comes through understanding what it is and answering the original question, “Why do I need it?” We just talked about what the Bible is: God revealing Himself to you and me and showing us how He plans to be in relationship with us, so now we need to talk about why we need it. The book of Psalms is what’s known as a book of wisdom. It is a collection of songs and prayers that give us a real picture of how the people of God related to God in the past. It provides us with songs of praise, prayers for help and support against things like depression and evil people, and it gives us hope. The first chapter in the book of Psalms gives us a beautiful picture of why we need the Bible. It warns us against following the advice of ungodly people, but it also shows us the wisdom of knowing and trusting God through His word. It encourages us to meditate of God’s word day and night and tells us the benefit of doing that is we become like fruitful trees planted by rivers of water. Psalm 119, the longest chapter of any book in the Bible provides us succinct way to understand why we need the Bible, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”[1] So, why do we need the Bible? We’re lost without it. We can’t clearly see the path to life, the path to the Father without it. We cannot know the way to a relationship with God without the Bible. Without the Bible, you and I would never know how to relate to God.

            I am a husband and a father of five. My wife and I have had plenty of times over the years where we wished each kid came with their own how-to manual. Each child, although raised in the same home, is so uniquely different. They are different in the way they receive love, in the way they give love, in the way they give and receive feedback, and in the way they receive instruction. It can be hard to relate to the kids that grow up in your own home, so imagine how difficult it would be to relate to a God that you can’t physically see and touch without some guide, some means of know how to relate to Him and how He will relate to you. The Bible isn’t just a collection of stories, it is God revealing Himself to you and showing you how to be in relationship with Him. He wants to be in relationship with you and He has given you a how-to manual. In the Bible, God has not only revealed Himself and His plan, but He has given you and me a way to know who we are, why we exist, and how to fulfill the purpose He has given us. Why do we need the Bible? We are alive but we can’t truly live without it. 

            There’s so much more to God’s word than what I’ve talked about here and we will dive into all of that in future blogs. For now, I will challenge you with this, read Psalm 1 and write down what it means to you to meditate on God’s word day and night. I’d love to talk with you about it more. Send me a message below. Let’s talk about what God is showing you.

[1] Psa 119:105 ESV 

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