One of the biggest criticisms of the Bible is that it is no longer relevant. After all, the most recent events recorded in the Bible took place nearly 2,000 years ago, when Paul and the other disciples were preaching the gospel.
Given the ancient contexts of each biblical event, how is the Bible relevant today?
A secular view of the value of history
Scholars recognize the historical value of the Bible regardless of whether they believe in a god or reject spiritual life. Even atheists use it as a resource for understanding past cultures and creating historical timelines.
They question some events and certain dates established by Christian historians, but there is much information in their pages that is still useful to historians.
But why is every story important to today's society? Peter N. Stearns argues that history "provides the only comprehensive body of evidence for considering and analyzing how societies work, and people need to have some idea of how societies work just to live their own lives".
Stearns also suggests that history contributes to our understanding of identity, morality, "good citizenship" and coping with change.
It could also be argued that history conveys a sense of connection with the past, so that the individual, centuries after the lives of his predecessors, is part of a long and tenacious root and feels part of a larger story.
Christians point to the deep roots of Christianity as part of the evidence for the relevance and truthfulness of the Bible.
Christians and non-Christians alike can find examples of good and bad leadership in the Bible. Its pages help them build theories about effective government and social infrastructure. They try to learn from past mistakes and prevent future atrocities.
Proponents of social evolution theory believe that "whenlife goes onfrom one level to the next, he slowly gets rid of intellectual errors. [...] [T]his meta-narrative is about gradual progress fueled by improvements in the human mind and will.
The Bible shows the deficiency of this theory, for "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
God's Word for the New World
Nathaniel Schmucker wrote that the testimonies of history are often bleak, for no man can solve the problem of evil. Only God can solve this problem.
At the micro level, change can occur when large groups within a society can be motivated to act in the best interest of others, but the evil does not go away; just change the beat.
Consequently, examining the realities of human nature and the failures of social justice over time reveals a depressing cycle. We cannot solve our own problems. We see that the evils of past ages persist in our generation and will persist in the next.
However, the Scriptures offer a solution, saying that evil has already been defeated. Even if new forms of government and social ideologies do not bring lasting change, "God still commands us to help the poor of the world financially and spiritually and envisions a world in which all pain and sorrow will be gone."
Therefore, "the Christian view of history is inherently optimistic" because "unlike any other worldview", Christianity "recognizes the evil of sin and offers a solution for it". The Bible gives hope where logically there should be none.
And while we look forward to Christ's return in the future, God demands that all people be treated equally.Now. Proverbs 20:10says, "Unequal weights and unequal measures are likewise an abomination to the Lord." InLeviticus 19:15, we read, "Thou shalt not show partiality to the poor, nor respect the great, but thou shalt judge thy neighbor fairly."
The Lord invented social justice. The social evolution model says our contribution to the greater good is all that matters, but the Bible says otherwise.
The proper framework for understanding history is not the triumph of humanity, but the history of sin, redemption, and judgment. Hebig question of lifethis is how we respond to the offer of salvation and where we will be after the Last Judgment.
This question is not in the past; it is as crucial today as ever.
The Bible sets standards that modern philosophers and activists believe they invented. What matters is that Scripture fills in the gaps created by sinful societies, gaps that human determination cannot fill.
The Enduring Purpose of the Bible
As for Christians who claim that Scripture is simply an outdated moral guide to an ancient way of life, the Bible was not written simply as a guide to a better moral life. The Bible is the story of God. We read it to learn more about Jesus.
He is the living hope of the modern Christian, as he was for the early Christians and will be for future generations of believers. For "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), what we learn about him from the pages of Genesis, Ruth, Psalms, and Ephesians is as relevant today as ever.
This is excellent news for all people, for Christ opened a way for us to be with the Father. He said: "Whoever believes in me shall not perish" (João 3:16), but also warned: "No one comes to the Father except through me" (João 14:6).
Christ does not change, so this statement is not out of date. This promise also has an immutable downside: all who refuse to believe in Christ for salvation and put their hope in other gods or themselves will perish forever apart from God.
The Bible is relevant because the way to heaven and the way to hell remain the same and this is a message that every person on earth needs to hear.
João 3:16it is as true today as it was 2,000 years ago. The path is not a human path, so the changing landscape of modern times does not affect this spiritual reality.
From Eden to Eternity
God was silent for centuries, except where He communicated His majesty through the glory of creation and through Jewish teachings and customs. However, when Jesus arrived as Emmanuel, the Word of God was relevant to him.
Christ quoted Scripture when facing Satan in the wilderness. "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 8:3;Matthew 4:4) These words were first used around 1400 BC. spoken over 1400 years before Christ was tempted by Satan.
When Jesus had to defend himself from the devil, the Word of God was his defense.Ephesians 6:11tells us to become wholeGod's armor, including his word which is our sword. "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12).
We face an enemy whose determination to destroy us is eternal, yet who still crouches before the name of Jesus. The Bible is always relevant because Satan is always at work in the world and the name of Jesus still overcomes his power.
The Bible is also the collective memory of the church. Communion is an act of remembrance. Jesus broke bread with his disciples, commanded them to eat and drink, and asked them to "do this in remembrance of me" (Lucas 22:19).
Jesus is the living Word (1 Pedro 1:23), "immortal" and "permanent". The Bible is needed to remember who God is, who we are, and what our life is all about.
what we learned
The Scriptures describe how God's history, his character, describes his promises and explains why Jesus had to come. The penalty for sin is explained, as is the cost of choosing not to follow Jesus. We learned that God can always be trusted; that's himomnipotent, omniscient and loving.
God is always more powerful than the enemy, as has been proven over the centuries. Messages are still coming to us and they are still being saved. One caveat, however, is that taking Bible quotes out of context can be dangerous.
We want God's Word to be life-changing and life-giving and not encourage lies. Therefore, the best way to understand the relevance of the Bible is to look at the work as a whole.
To read more:
What does it mean that the Word of God is alive?
Is there any evidence for Jesus other than the Bible?
How can we trust the Bible we have today?
Why should I believe the Bible?
Why can the Bible only be understood by the Spirit?
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Candice Lucyis a freelance writer based in British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. learn more about themHere.