27 February 2015

Sometimes the Bible is clear

A lot of times the Bible doesn't seem all that clear. What, after all, is the right Christian position on birth control, the role of women, care for the environment, the ideal way to pray, whether prophecy still happens today, and so on? Asking what the Bible says and why it matters was the focus of one of the Bible studies that we just had in Campus Edge. It was a joy to lead, but we didn't come up with any obvious answers, which might feel disappointing to those searching for clear answers.

At the same time that the Bible seems unclear in numerous issues, it's clear in other ways. One of those ways is why things are written. The following are a number of examples:
  • That the people might know the the LORD is God - that is the reason  the plagues are recorded the way they are.
    • Exodus 10.1-2 "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”"
  • So that you might believe Jesus is God and so have life, that is why the gospels have been written.  
    • John 20.30-31 "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." 
  • Ezekiel frequently repeats "that you might know that the LORD is God" as the reason why something happens. 
  • The end of Ezekiel explains why the description of the temple is given. It is not, as some seem to want to argue, so that we can build a temple according to the description given (even if the building description was comprehensible, which it's not, what good is a temple that has no roof?). Instead, a more surprising reason is given: becoming ashamed of one's sins. 
    • Ezekiel 43:10-11 says "“Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider its perfection, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple—its arrangement, its exits and entrances—its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations."
These are simply some of the verses I can think of (off the top of my head) that proclaim a clear biblical message: that you might know God. This fits well with the greatest commandment that Christ proclaims: love God above all and your neighbour as yourself. The rest of the stuff in the Bible, irrelevant of how clear it may or may not appear to be, is definitely good and helpful, but I believe it is ultimately less important than the coming to know (and love) God.

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