The Purpose of the Bible: Part Three
We’ve looked at how the Bible is the story of God’s conversation with his creation down through the centuries and taken a quick glance at the major themes in that story, now I’d like to sum up my thoughts on this subject. What is the purpose of the Bible? Simple, the purpose of the Bible is to tell us about God. I’m sorry if that doesn’t sound profound enough or if it sounds all too familiar. But just stick with me for a moment.
I’m convinced that when many of us read the Bible, we do so to find out about ourselves. For example, we read the Old Testament stories as examples of good (or bad) men and women that we can imitate (or not). But the point of the Old Testament stories is not to tell us about Abraham or David or whoever, but to tell us about God. Yes, we learn a great deal about the characters, their strengths and weaknesses, but the story isn’t about them, it’s about how God reacts to them and deals with them. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty that you can learn about yourself from the Bible, it’s just that this isn’t it’s primary purpose. You see, God is ultimate, not man (to quote John Piper) and the Bible is a book about God, not man. The Bible isn’t a book of good ideas which can plug into our lives, it is a huge narrative about God and his creation into which we can plug ourselves. The Bible story is bigger than us.
At the very basis of his being, God is a communicator. This is lies at the very centre of the Biblical teaching of the Trinity. The three persons of the Trinity are engaged in an eternal conversation and this communicating God wants to share himself with us. Through the stages of the Bible story – creation, fall, incarnation, redemption and future hope – we see different facets of God’s character and through it all we see God reaching out to his creation and calling them to return to him. The death and ressurection of Jesus Christ lie at the heart of the story, but the story wouldn’t be complete without the love and care of the Father and the energy and power of the Spirit.
The Bible tells us that the Triune God is on a mission to call a people to himself. He is calling us to join in the eternal conversation of love that is at the centre of his being and to be a part of his mission to his world. The Bible is a missionary book, about a missionary God.
You can read more on this on Brian Russel’s excellent blog, if you are interested.