Christian theology in a Sudanese context. God's word written down and published. Reading this section, it is important to keep in mind these comparisons between Christianity and Islam:
In Christianity, 1. God reveals Himself, in the Son, one with God from eternity. 2. The ultimate revelation is: Christ, the living Word of God, (Arabic – kalimat allah) a person. (John 1:1-5; John 1:14; Hebrews1:1-3).
In Islam, 1. God reveals his will, in the ‘preserved tablet’ or ‘Mother of the Book’. 2. The ultimate revelation is: The Qur’an, the Speech of God, Arabic – kalam allah) a book (Qur’an 85:21-22; 42:52;43:4; 3:3-7; 27:91-92; 13:39)
21. God’s purpose for the Bible
God the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of the authors of the Bible. He prepared and moved them so that what they wrote, in their own words, was actually the word of God. The people did not realise they were writing the Bible! They wrote for the situation in which they lived. Yet God the Holy Spirit, in His wisdom, supervised the collection and protection of these authors’ works over the centuries. God very much wants us to have our Bible. He always has lots to say to us through them (2 Timothy 3:16.17). Of course, God shows Himself to people in nature. We all have a natural awareness of God. Everyone sees outside of themselves, with their human eyes, the evidence in creation that God exists. This evidence is supported by a capacity inside peoples’ minds and hearts to know God personally. J.M. Boice, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, U.S.A.,until his death in A.D. 2000, once wrote: “There is enough evidence of God in a flower to lead a child as well as a scientist to worship Him”. But many people simply refuse to recognise that this Creator God has any claim upon their lives. So they live as if there is no God. He still speaks clearly to such people, through the natural world and through their inward thoughts, but they inexcusably won’t listen! (Romans 1:18-23).
The Bible takes God’s revelation of Himself one step further than nature or inward thought ever can. The Bible is God’s method for communicating the only way that humankind can become the ‘Christian’ men and women God Himself wants us all to be. The Bible is the selectively written history of God’s dealings with the human race. It does not contain all of history. It focuses on people being ‘saved’ simply through taking God at His word (Genesis 15:6; John 20:30,31).
The Old Testament points forward to the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. It uses historical narrative, with illustrations from historical places and events, the poetry of peoples’ real life experiences, plus some picture-language and prophecy, all to introduce and to help readers recognise Jesus Christ as the Saviour sent from God (Hebrews 1:1-3).
The Gospels record four accounts of the short life of Jesus on this earth.They all end with His crucifixion and resurrection (Luke 1:1-4).
The rest of the New Testament includes some narrative and some prophecy, but mainly pastoral letters that include a little historical data. It records how people who met this Jesus were changed into men and women totally given over to honouring Him in every part of their lives. (Acts 11:19-24; 2 Corinthians 5:16-19).
The breath of God is seen and felt on every page, in every person, and through every teaching of the Bible.
Thinking it through.
(a). According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, what are God’s purposes for the Bible?
(b). How would you tell your friend what the central message of the Bible is?
(c). Where does the story of Jesus fit into the whole Bible?