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Written by Ángel Manuel Rodríguez
What is the Bible?
The Bible/Holy Scripture is the sacred writings of Christians from which they acquire their understanding of God, their beliefs, and the way they live. They consider it a divine gift to humanity that guides all in their pilgrimage on earth and in their preparation for a future life with the Lord. I will summarize some of the reasons Christians consider the Bible their sacred text.
1. Origin of the Bible: The origin of the Bible and its central purpose are interconnected. It originated with God, who, in speaking to humans, revealed Himself to us as a God who cares for and loves us in spite of our lack of concern for Him and of the pain and suffering we experience. It was precisely because of our miserable condition that He chose to speak to us in order to infuse hope in our lives in the midst of our hopelessness. “All Scripture is God-breathed [originated in God],” wrote Paul the prophet (2 Tim. 3:16, NIV). For Christians, the divine origin of the Bible invests it with unique authority.
2. Prophets and the Bible: God took the initiative to address us, but He did it through humans chosen by Him as mediators of His self-manifestation to the human race. He spoke directly to them in dreams and visions and through His spoken word, and they shared the messages received with others through their spoken and written word. Yet, what they proclaimed was what they received from the Lord: “The word of the Lord came to me,” said Jeremiah the prophet (Jer. 1:11). Humans could learn about God and His character only through His own self-disclosure, and He did it throughout several millennia by means of His prophets. These prophets preserved for us the divine instruction in the Holy Scripture, our sacred text.
3. Christ and the Bible: Since the main reason God chose to address the human race through His prophets was to reveal the loving nature of His character, His revelation through the prophets was not enough. Only God can reveal to the human race the fullness of His character. He did it, not through a prophet, but by becoming a human being and dwelling among us. This happened through Jesus Christ, who is God Himself in human nature. John the prophet writes, “The Word became flesh. . . . We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NIV). In His own person, actions, and teachings God revealed Himself to us as never before as a God of love who was willing to do for us the unimaginable in order to restore us to permanent fellowship with Him. The revelation of God through Jesus Christ is supreme and unsurpassable; it is final because in it God Himself spoke directly to us.
4. Message of the Bible: The central character of the Bible is the God who spoke to us as Creator and Redeemer through Jesus Christ. As Creator, He brought into existence a very good creation that was later damaged by a rebellion in heaven against the goodness of God’s character. Humans joined the rebellion, and consequently we are all involved in a cosmic conflict. In the Bible God has preserved His self-revelation in order to call us to join Him in His conflict against the forces of evil. These forces cause suffering and death on the planet as they attempt to occupy the place of God on earth. As Redeemer, God became human, experiencing our suffering and dying for us. He now offers to all who join Him in the cosmic conflict what He originally intended for us, namely, the joy of eternal life. On the cross Christ defeated the forces of evil and revealed the unsearchable love of God manifested in His sacrifice for the human race. He demonstrated to the cosmos that God’s will for all is always good. His victory will be consummated at the Second Coming when the forces of evil will be deleted from the universe and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The Bible is a book of hope given to us from God through Jesus Christ.