Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why Study the Bible

Dear Family and Friends, 

Let's look at why study the Bible today. 

How nice and convenient it would have been, if God presented His words to us in the form of a video file and uploaded it to youtube. Instead, He gave us a thick book filled with all necessary information for us to read and understand. He did this for a reason. I am sure most of you will agree that the 'trip of reading a book' versus 'watching the movie' is totally different - typically, the movie is a big disappointment, for those who read the book. Six times in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asked different people, "Have you not read?" Knowing Jesus, we can be assured that He will pose the exact question, when we come face-to-face one day. 

Origin of the Bible: 
For most part of the human journey, the Bible was on scrolls and parchments, written by hand even during middle ages. Further, people were not literate enough to read its contents, or even afford it. Until the invention of the printing press, Bible could not be mass produced. Those who wanted to learn the word of God either had no access nor the literacy to understand the scripture. We should consider to be extremely fortunate in that regard, but seldom see it as a blessing. During middle ages, those skilled at art were commissioned to capture Biblical images on canvas and as a result, we see numerous paintings related to the life of Jesus Christ. As Bible gained circulation with time, we saw the decline in art. 

Top reason for not reading the Bible: 
The number 1 reason for not reading the Bible is because we cannot understand it. As stated earlier, the Bible is full of ancient history, genealogies, instructions for priests and kings, bizarre-sounding visions and there is hardly anything which is meaningful to the reader. Just because it is a sacred book, and majority of us are unaware of it's content - we opt to maintain silence and keep the book closed. The New Testament seems bit easier to understand - but most of us stop at the 4th Gospel. This time, let's sit tight and cross that hurdle. 

How to read the Bible:
Treat the Bible differently. Consider it as a Father's long letter to you - explaining how you came into existence. Most of us, we maintain an album or scrap book about the growth cycle of our own children. Keep Jesus in view throughout your study. Let the Bible show you the glory and love of God, and as you discover it, your love for Him will bubble-up - I guarantee it! You are not doing God a favor by reading and studying the Bible. We humans tend to feel guilty of missing some days of Bible reading and think God is unpleased. For those on the guided tour, you will see how Mighty of a God we have, how much we are being eternally loved & accepted by our Father, and how much He blesses us every single moment despite our faults. People who have completed the Bible stick to a reading plan. In our guided tour, we have a plan and let's stick to that plan - with the blessing from above, we should reach our goal on time. 

Why Study the Bible? 
Studying the Bible will make us a better individual in every respect. You can still continue in your current profession and become superlative. The Bible can change your way of thinking and your outlook towards the world and other human beings, elevating you to be better citizens (Christians) - both in front of God as well as your own consciousness. Teachers can become more informed, parents can see the love of God and treat children better, businessmen can learn few new traits of human character and conduct better business... and the list goes on and on. Allow the Bible to serve you as a guiding lamp for your feet, in the profession of your choice. 

May the Force be with you!

Thank you,
Jacob Cherian

--------------------------------- Additional Reading 1 ----------------------------------

The Bible story in 300 words
In the beginning, the all-powerful, God created the universe. This God created human beings in His image to live joyfully in His presence, in humble submission to His gracious authority. But man rebelled against God and in consequence, must suffer the punishment of his rebellion: physical death and the wrath of God.

Thankfully, God initiated a rescue plan, which began with His choosing the nation of Israel to display His glory in a fallen world. The Old Testament describes how God acted mightily on Israel’s behalf, rescuing His people from slavery and then giving them His holy law. But God’s people failed to rightly reflect the glory of God. 

Then, in the fullness of time, God sent His one and only Son – Jesus Christ to renew the world and restore His people. Jesus, as a man, perfectly obeyed the law given to Israel. Though innocent, He suffered the consequences of human rebellion by His death on a cross. But three days later, God raised Him from the dead.

Now the church of Jesus Christ was commissioned by God to take the news of Christ’s work to the world – described in New Testament. Empowered by God’s Spirit, the church calls all people everywhere to repent of sin and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. Repentance and faith restores our relationship with God and results in a life of ongoing transformation.

The Bible promises that Jesus Christ will return to this earth as the conquering King. Only those who live in repentant faith in Christ will escape God’s judgment and live joyfully in God’s presence for all eternity. God’s message is the same for all of us, “My children, repent and believe, before it is too late; lead a life filled with wisdom and righteousness – for, I Love You Dearly.” 

--------------------------------- Additional Reading 2 ----------------------------------

Bible in America Today
The most recent survey conducted by American Bible Society in April 2013 showed the Bible is still firmly rooted in American soil. 
88 percent of respondents said they own a Bible, 
80 percent think the Bible is sacred, 
61 percent wish they read the Bible more, and 
The average household has 4.4 Bibles
Almost a third of respondents said moral decline was a result of people not reading the Bible. 

--------------------------------- Additional Reading 3 ----------------------------------

Evolution of present day Bible
Without going much into the evolution history, read for yourself how the most popular verse, John 3:16, took it's current form. It will speak for itself, the need for refining the Bible. 

995 AD - Anglo-Saxon Proto-English Manuscripts: “God lufode middan-eard swa, dat he seade his an-cennedan sunu, dat nan ne forweorde de on hine gely ac habbe dat ece lif."

1380 AD - Wycliff: "for god loued so the world; that he gaf his oon bigetun sone, that eche man that bileueth in him perisch not: but haue euerlastynge liif,"

1534 AD - Tyndale: "For God so loveth the worlde, that he hath geven his only sonne, that none that beleve in him, shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe."

1539 AD - Great Bible: "For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleueth in him, shulde not perisshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe."

1560 AD - Geneva: "For God so loueth the world, that he hath geuen his only begotten Sonne: that none that beleue in him, should peryshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe."

1582 AD - Rheims: "For so God loued the vvorld, that he gaue his only-begotten sonne: that euery one that beleeueth in him, perish not, but may haue life euerlasting"

1611 AD - King James Version 1st Edition: "For God so loued the world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life."

2011 AD - New International Version (NIV): "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."

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