5 Most Important Teachings of the Bible
- Betsy de Cruz Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 6 Oct
I often take the Bible for granted, yet in the Middle Eastern country where I live, millions of people have never even seen one. My friend Leyla had never held a Bible in her hands before.
“Can I see that?” she asked.
As I gave her my Bible and watched her open it for the first time, I got goosebumps. She wanted to learn more about it, so I spent 10 minutes walking her through the Old and New Testaments, including the Psalms and prophetic books.
Listening to Leyla read Scripture for the first time ever took my breath away:
- “In the beginning God created…” (Gen. 1:1)
- “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ…” (Matt. 1:1)
- “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing…” (Psalm 23:1)
Psalm 23 mesmerized both of us as she read it aloud. “How beautiful,” she marveled. I felt grateful for this opportunity God gave me to see the Bible in a new light through someone else’s eyes.
What makes the Bible unique?
My experience with my friend opened my eyes again to the treasure we have in God’s Word. Written over a period of 1,500 years, the Bible is a collection of 66 books penned by shepherds, kings, prophets, doctors, and fishermen. God inspired different men to write the historical records, poems, prophecies, and letters that we know as the Bible. When we read it today, His Spirit speaks to us.
The Bible is God’s love letter to mankind. It’s a record of His work throughout history and contains everything He really wants us to know. When we get out our Bibles and read them, we learn who God is, how He saves from sin, and what He wants from us. His love for us comes alive.
What does the Bible really say?
Recently I asked 25 friends, including writers, pastors, seminary professors, teachers, and students, what they thought were the main messages of the Good Book. Over and over, they mentioned themes of love, grace, sin, and forgiveness. Here’s my best effort to condense their responses into the 5 most important teachings of the Bible.
1. A loving God created our world.
We take it for granted, but the book of Genesis sets the foundation for the rest of God’s story. Our universe was no accident. God existed eternally, and He created the earth. His nature is love, and He desires a relationship with man, the crown of His creation. Austin pastor Geno Hildebrandt says, “This core idea sets the stage for all else—that humanity is a special creation above all other created things; that sin against God truly matters; and that God had a plan for redemption in mind from before the creation.”
2. Man needs a Savior.
Most of us don’t like to talk about sin, much less admit we’re sinners, but it’s an important theme of the Bible. In Genesis 3, the serpent tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God. When they sinned, they lost their perfect relationship with their Creator. Scripture teaches that the consequence of sin is eternal separation from God. Old Testament stories illustrate how sin creates a barrier between man and God. The New Testament presents Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Christian blogger Arabah Joy says, “I believe we have a huge under-emphasis on sin, but Jesus came to save sinners, not the so-called righteous. Understanding our sin problem is absolutely essential to receiving God’s grace.”
3. Jesus is God and Savior.
“This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
When I was growing up, I always pictured God as an all-powerful, loving creator, but I couldn’t understand what the big deal was about Jesus! I found answers to my questions as a university student when I read in John 1 that God came to earth as a man. A reading of John’s gospel reveals that Jesus continually claimed to be God. That’s one reason religious leaders wanted Him crucified. Jesus lived a sinless life, but he died to pay for our sins. It was the whole reason He came to earth. The very name “Jesus” means “The Lord saves.”
4. God calls us to relationship.
“To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Most Christians agree that relationship with God is a central theme of Scripture. Abraham was called a friend of God. Moses met with God face to face. Although our sin made it impossible for us to draw near to a Holy God, Jesus paid the penalty for sin to clear the way for us to enter into God’s family. We have an amazing privilege: when we place our faith in Christ, God adopts us, giving us the status of beloved sons and daughters.
“Anyone can have a personal relationship with God through placing faith in Jesus,” explains Jim Wicker, professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “The call to place a faith commitment in Christ is the purpose for God sending Jesus here and for giving us the Bible.”
5. God rules and reigns forever (even when it doesn’t look like it).
“The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)
As we watch violence, war, and natural disaster on our television screens, we sometimes struggle to believe in a good, all-powerful God. Yet the Bible teaches that God, perfect in wisdom, is always at work for our good and His glory.
Even when bad things happen in our personal lives, believers can rest assured that our Heavenly Father will work all things together for our good. Part of His sovereign purpose is to transform us and make us more like Himself: loving, wise, joyful, and peaceful.
Man’s sin has spoiled this world, and Satan exerts influence and authority, yet Jesus will come again. God will have the final victory over sin and death. His Word assures us that in heaven “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain...” (Revelation 21:4)
The Bible imparts timeless truths that build our faith and encourage us when we take time to read it. Reminding ourselves of our beliefs helps us stand firm when the ground beneath us seems to shake. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves us. Jesus died to pay for our sins, so we can become sons and daughters of God. He will come again to take us home.
Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life with teenagers, and dark roast coffee. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy writes about real life faith on her blog, faithspillingover.com, on Facebook. and on Twitter.
Publication date: October 6, 2016