The Bible is God’s Story in written form. Inspired by Him, it communicates who He is, shows how He reveals Himself to mankind, and reveals His work in their lives. It’s not a book about men. It’s a book about God.
The Bible is a collection of 66 books written over a fifteen-hundred-year span. God inspired more than forty authors from every walk of life to write His book. These authors included kings, military leaders, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, tax collectors, poets, musicians, statesmen, scholars, and shepherds. It was written in different settings, ranging from times of war and sacrifice to times of peace and prosperity, from palaces, prison cell, deserted islands and pasturelands. It was written on three different continents: Asia, Africa and Europe, and was written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The Bible includes a wide variety of literary styles including poetry, historical narrative, song, romance, didactic treatise, personal correspondence, memoirs, satire, biography, autobiography, law, prophecy, parable and allegory. It addresses hundreds of controversial subjects that elicit opposing opinions when mentioned. These include marriage, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, adultery, obedience to authority, truth telling and lying, character development and parenting. Yet despite all this, the writers addressed these issues with an amazing degree of harmony.
Like a large puzzle with many pieces, the Bible has various accounts and thoughts, but all are connected together. These pieces form a singular threadwork which reveals a larger picture of what God wants every person to know. This big idea can be boiled down into eight different components:
1) God Is Perfect - Matthew 5:48 "…your heavenly Father is perfect."
- His Works Are Perfect - Deuteronomy 32:4 "He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he."
- His Way Is Perfect - 2 Samuel 22:31 "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless."
- His Knowledge Is Perfect - Job 36:4 "Be assured that my words are not false; one perfect in knowledge is with you."
- His Law Is Perfect - Psalm 19:7 "The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple."
- His Beauty Is Perfect - Psalm 50:2 "From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth."
- His Faithfulness Is Perfect - Isaiah 25:1 "…for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago."
- His Will Is Perfect - Romans 12:2 "Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
- His Gifts Are Perfect - James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
- He Is Perfect In Every Way - 1 John 1:5 "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
2) God’s Creation Was Perfect
- light - Genesis 1:3, 4 "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness."
- ground and sea - Genesis 1:9-10 "And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.' And it was so. God called the dry ground 'land,' and the gathered waters he called 'seas.' And God saw that it was good."
- day and night - Genesis 1:16-18 "God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good."
- fish and birds - Genesis 1:21 "So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good."
- animals - Genesis 1:24-25 "And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good."
- man - Genesis 1:26-27, 31 "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
3) Man Had the Perfect Relationship with God
- Genesis 2:8 "Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed."
- Genesis 3:8 "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day…"
4) Imperfection and Separation Came via Sin
- The Command against Sin - Gen 2:16-17 "And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'"
- The Act of Sin - Genesis 3:6 "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."
- The Immediate Impact of Sin - immediately after sinning in Genesis 3, man experienced sin’s poison in the following ways:
- he felt naked (3:7);
- he felt the need to cover/disguise himself (3:7);
- he hid from God (3:8), he became afraid of God (3:10);
- he began to blame others for his actions (3:12,13);
- he experienced conflict in relationships (3:10);
- he felt the immediate sting of conflict with Satan and was promised that it would continue (3:15);
- he began to experience physical pain (3:16);
- he began to experience struggles with and in authority (3:16);
- the entire planet was cursed (3:17);
- work became difficult (3:17);
- physical death (3:19);
- animals died to cover his sin (3:21).
- The Eviction of Sin - Genesis 3:23-24 "So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."
- Our Current Separation - Isaiah 59:1-3 "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things."
5) God Promised a Solution for Imperfection and Separation
- The Serpent and His Work Will Be Crushed - Genesis 3:15 (to the serpent) "'And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.'"
- Sin Will Be Washed Away - Isaiah 1:18 "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'"
- Separation Will Be Removed - Jeremiah 29:14 "'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,' declares the LORD, 'and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'"
- Redemption Will Be Completed - Isaiah 54:5-8 "'For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,' says your God. 'For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,' says the LORD your Redeemer."
6) Jesus Is the Remedy for Imperfection and Separation
- He Came to Save Sinners - Matthew 1:21 "'She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'"
- He Came as a Friend of Sinners - Luke 7:34-35 "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."' But wisdom is proved right by all her children."
- He Came to Forgive Sin - Matthew 9:2 "Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.'"
- He Took Sin upon Himself - Romans 6:10 "The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God."
- He Became Sin - 2 Corinthians 5:21 "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
- He Paid for Our Sin - Galatians 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'"
- He Became Our Substitute - Galatians 1:4 "…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…"
- He Removes Obstacles between Us and God - Isaiah 40:3-5 "A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.'"
- He Reconciles Us to God - 2 Corinthians 5:10 "For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"
- He Continues to Perfect Us - Romans 8:29 "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…"
7) Responding to Jesus Perfects Our Relationship with God
- Believe - John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son."
- Repent - Matthew 4:17 "From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'"
- Follow - Luke 9:23 "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"
8) In the Future, Perfection Will Be Completed
- We Will Be Perfected - 1 John 3:2 "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."
- Our Bodies Will Be Perfected - 1 Corinthians 15:50-55 "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
- Our Separation from God Will Be Perfected - 1 Corinthians 13:12 "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
- Our Relationship with God Will Be Perfected - Romans 8:23-24 "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved."
- All of Creation Will Be Perfected - Romans 8:19-22 "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."
- Heaven and Earth Will Be Perfected - Revelation 1:1-5 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying. 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"