David Pawson -The Word of God Part 1
Thoughtful Thoughts 12.1.2018
Introduction to the Bible: Part One. God’s plan.
We are starting off the year with an Introduction to the Bible. To help, we will use David Pawson’s message “The Word of God” to help get us going. He was already into his 80s at the time.
The Bible is a library of books of God’s work in history, and of wooing His lost creation. It is God’s story from the very beginning of creation, to when God’s will bring it all to an end. It tells us the things that are important for us to know if we want to find our way back to Him. To achieve that end, God has 66 books in His library compiled by 40 authors, over thousands of years, and yet all hangs together - because it has one Divine Editor. There’s no other book like it and to my knowledge, it always was the world’s best seller.
Genesis shows us that God created everything, including space and time. It tells us what went wrong and the problems that that all led to. Genesis has in it the first clues about what God intended doing about the problem. God started with relationships, by creating a family of those who would listen and obey. Genesis and Revelation are the two books in the Bible that have come under the greatest attack from the enemy. That’s because Genesis tells us how evil got into the world, and Revelation tells us how it will be kicked out. The reason that God has to go through a process to restore His creation, is because God is not only a God of mercy but also of justice. Sin had to be paid for before He can forgive it - even though He needed to pay for it Himself to achieve that. That is how serious sin is. God is a God of righteousness. He can only ever be true to Himself.
Jews divide up Bible books into “The Law”, “The Prophets” and “The Writings”. Because each book is different, the reader needs to ask, “Why was this book written?”, in order to understand it properly. By way of illustration... Christians often see 1 and 2 Chronicles as repeats of the books of 1 and 2 Kings. However, Jews understand the difference. Kings was written by a prophet before the exile, whilst Chronicles was written by a priest after the exile - to a new generation. It tells them what went wrong and why. It helps the new generation to see their roots through names and beliefs, and what had happened to the kingdom.
The prophecies show us that God is working to a schedule. Jesus pointed out that His Father in Heaven knows when His second coming will be. The vision Daniel had of empires coming and going shows us that history is on a timeline. Jews have an understanding of history. Although God is eternal, He operates in history and therefore in time. Jeremiah warned Israel that the Babylonians were coming to destroy Jerusalem, including the temple, and witnessed the Holy Spirit leaving the Temple. (Other prophets also warned this would happen). After the exile, in the second half of his ministry, Jeremiah encouraged the Jews by telling them that God had a plan and was going to do a new thing. God would then dispense with the old covenant as a way of accessing Him and bring in a new one. But that is for next time!
As the meaning of Bible verses is lost when we just “cherry pick” verses out of context, we need to read each book in its entirety. So, if you read 3 chapters from the Old Testament a day from Monday to Saturday, and read 5 chapters of the New Testament on Sunday, you will read through the whole Bible in a year! To catch up, just add one Psalm at night to your 3 chapters on weekday mornings. Let’s do this! (I find that a diary helps).
I’m John Dunning and that’s “thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.