I find the Bible to be a rather large intimidating book; not one that readily invites someone to take a dive. I once read it cover to cover and I’m convinced that it need not be read this way on your first trip out of the driveway. Try reading the New Testament first, or just the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. It’s okay to start even smaller; pick anyone of four of them.
The whole Bible can be broken down into 3 sections: the message that Christ is coming, Christ actually here, then the spreading of Christ’s message after he has left. It’s like a big game,or I should say the biggest game you can imagine. There would be plenty of pregame speculation and prediction (Old Testament), the actual contest (Matthew, Mark Luke & John), then post game highlights (the rest of the New Testament).
The whole message of the Bible and Christ time here on earth can really be a very simplistic message. This is where I’ll defer to Pastor Andy Stanley who I was introduced to by DVD during our Monday evening study group. He shrank the whole thing down to just about as small as I can possibly imagine.
You don’t have to have all the answers about creation and evolution, or whether the Bible is ‘inerrant’ or just ‘inspired,’ whether rap music can be Christian, or exactly how Noah got all those animals on one boat. These may be interesting questions, in some contexts they may even be important questions, but to someone whose life has come apart or someone who’s trying to connect with God, they are all quite beside the point.
The whole gospel is summarized in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” And as short as it is, even John 3:16 can be summarized by looking at just the four verbs in that verse:
People want to know: what do I need to know and what do I need to do to be a Christian? What you need to know is that God LOVED the world so much that God GAVE the only Son. No multiple choice questions, no essay test, no memorizing laws or pithy principles. Just this: God LOVED so much that God GAVE the only Son. Learn other stuff later, but never forget that much.
And what do we do? We BELIEVE in Jesus and so we HAVE eternal life. No Herculean labors. Nothing in there about coming down to the altar or praying the sinner’s prayer. Nothing wrong with those things, but nothing magic about them either. We BELIEVE and so we HAVE eternal life. End of verse.
He can really do some distilling can’t he: Love, Gave, Believe, Have.
Is that really it?
Is it that simple?
Absolutely it is!
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.