The living God, whose words brought the cosmos into being, is eager to relate to us. He has not left us to guess at his character and intentions like some kind of charades game or to try to interpret what he is saying through the night sky, natural disasters, or the changing of the seasons. He knows that relationships need words—so that’s what he gave us. He provided the Bible by inspiring different authors in a variety of cultural settings to write the books of the Old and the New Testaments. And those books show us that the creator of the universe is a relational God. In Scripture, we see him interacting with people like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Ruth, David, Mary, and Paul.
That’s not the only characteristic of God we see in Scripture, however. A full broad spectrum of God’s glory and power and love is on display throughout the Bible. For example, we learn that God has a mission for his people, and that his call to this mission is irrespective of character flaws or personal limitations. We learn that God suffers with us, demands justice from us, and offers mercy to us.
The Bible also teaches us about Jesus—“the image of the invisible God,” as Paul writes in Colossians 1—who came to earth in a physical body precisely because God wants us to know him. To connect deeply with Jesus we need to “see” for ourselves how he treated sinners, healed with compassion, spoke with authority, submitted himself to crucifixion, and rose from the dead. Hearsay is not enough. Early church leaders understood this; they were painstakingly careful to write down and pass along eyewitness accounts of Jesus. Luke, for example, explicitly stated the reason for writing his Gospel: “Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you . . . so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3-4).
If it weren’t for the Bible, God’s gift of Jesus would have been an exclusive gift, accessible to only a relatively small number of people a long time ago. But, again, because God desires to communicate about himself to us, his self-revelation is available to all through Scripture, regardless of when or where they live. Through the Bible we come to know Jesus and the bigger story of God’s work in the world.
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