Getting to the point!

Have a point.  Good advice in almost any context, right?  It really does make things so much more interesting for the listener (or reader).

Have you ever wondered what the main point(s) of the Bible is?

Maybe such a question has never crossed your mind.  Or maybe you always suspected that there was a unifying theme running throughout the Bible, but just never knew what it was.

Maybe you see all of the different types of literature (or genres) in the Bible and doubt that a unifying theme or point could even be possible.  After all, how could history (e.g. Genesis, Acts, etc.), law (Exodus 20:1-17, much of Deuteronomy, etc.) poetry (Psalms), prophecy (Isaiah, Revelation, etc.), wisdom literature (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, etc.), and letters or epistles (Galatians, 1 Peter, etc.), written by dozens of different authors over a period of over 1,500 years (!) possibly have the same main point?

But they do.

They ultimately teach us the same thing in different ways, but the main point in all 66 books of the Bible is the same.

This is what The Westminster Larger Catechism is talking about in question #4 when it asks “How does it appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?” Part of the answer given is that the Scriptures show themselves to be the Word of God “by the consent [i.e. unity] of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God . . . .”

In other words, the Bible does not contradict itself and it has one primary unifying theme or purpose (the glory of God).

So what is the main point of the Bible?  What are we supposed to learn when we read it?  The Shorter Catechism asks that very question:

“What do the Scriptures principally teach?” (The Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.3.)

The answer?

“The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.”

So the Bible is basically all about two complementary things – what we are to believe and what we are to do.  And those two things are kind of like two sides of the same coin.  The one follows naturally from the other.  The Bible tells us what we are to believe about God, and what He (as our Creator and Redeemer) would have us to do as His people.

That being the case, when we read the Bible we should be looking for how we can get to know God better in what we are reading.  Ask yourself, “What does the particular verse or passage tell me about God?”  or “What has He revealed about Himself here?” (Sounds a lot like theology, doesn’t it?)

And not only that, but we should also be asking ourselves, “What would God have me do?”  or “What should my life look like according to this passage?”

Notice that what we are to believe comes first.  Obedience should be the result (or the fruit) of faith.  In a sense, it is the evidence of true faith. (See James 2:14-19.)

So God has not left us to our own imaginations to determine what He is like. And He has not left it up to us to decide how we should live in light of our knowledge of Him.

Is it possible to read or even study the Bible and miss the point?  Sadly, yes.

Jesus Himself had an encounter with a group of people who did just that.  In the 5th chapter of John’s Gospel, He was speaking with a group of Jews, probably Pharisees.  Look at what Jesus says to them:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)

So they hadn’t neglected the Scriptures, but diligently studied them.  Most people considered them to be the experts or authorities on the subject.  But Jesus strips them of that title, doesn’t He?  In fact He tells them that, despite all of the diligent study and hard work, they had completely missed the point of the Scriptures!

Why?  Because they did not see that all of the Old Testament Scriptures pointed to one thing – Jesus Himself.  And these men rejected Jesus.  They refused to come to Him that they might have life (v.40).

Truly knowing God is only possible in knowing Jesus Christ.  To reject Him is to reject God Himself and to count oneself unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46).

And what is eternal life?

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

So knowing God in Jesus Christ is the point.  You may have read or even studied the Bible; you may attend church every Sunday; you may have been raised in a godly Christian home; but have you come to Jesus Christ by faith?

If not, you have missed the point not only of the entire Bible, but of your very existence.

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