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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Why Is the Bible So Special?

Don Stewart :: Why Should Such an Ancient Book, like the Bible, Be Used as the Basis of Our Behavior Today?

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Why Should Such an Ancient Book, like the Bible, Be Used as the Basis of Our Behavior Today?

Why the Bible Is So Special – Question 25

How can the commandments of Scripture, written thousands of years ago, be binding on people today? Since the world has radically changed since the time of Jesus Christ, in what sense is the Bible still relevant? How can the Bible be considered normative in any way? Thus, it is fair to ask the question, “Why then should we obey the commandments that are written in the Bible?”

A number of important points need to be made about this issue. They are as follows:

1. The Character of God Has Not Changed

While humanity may change, God does not change. The Bible says:

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:2 ESV)

In the Book of Malachi, we read the following:

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6 ESV)

God remains the same. It is only from Scripture that we know who He is and what He is like. Therefore, if we want to know what God is like, we must study the Bible.

2. The Human Condition Has Not Changed

Human beings are the same as they have been since the time of the fall of Adam and Eve. They are still lost in sin and they still need a Savior. With all the advancements that have been made since biblical times, there is still the need for forgiveness of sin and a personal relationship with the Creator. All the advancements of science and culture cannot even be of the slightest help in bringing a person into a right relationship with God.

3. The Way to Approach God Has Not Changed

People today need to approach God in the same humble way as in the beginning. This has not changed with time. An individual needs to come to the Lord in simple faith believing in His promises. There is no other way to approach Him.

4. The Need for an Absolute Standard Has Not Changed

There has always been the need for an absolute standard of right and wrong. This does not change from generation-to-generation. The teachings of Scripture do not change from century-to-century. The truths about God are still binding.

There are passages in Scripture that directly apply to all people of all times. For example, the Bible prohibits stealing. It says:

You shall not steal... (Exodus 20:15 NKJV)

This passage applies to all people at all times. Stealing is always wrong. The same holds true for such things as lying, cheating and murder.

5. All Portions of Scripture, No Matter to Whom They Were Written, Teach Important Principles

There are parts of the Bible that were addressed to individuals which dealt with specific situations. For example, Paul gave Timothy the following advice:

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. (1 Timothy 5:23 ESV)

On another occasion, Paul wrote to the Corinthians and said:

All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. (1 Corinthians 16:20 ESV)

While these verses speak to specific situations, there are underlying principles that are normative and can be applied at any time—they contain truths and biblical principles that are beyond the immediate context.

6. Eternal Truths Can Be Revealed in an Ancient Document

We need to stress this final point. There is nothing illogical about claiming that eternal truths can be recorded in a document written long in the past. The claim of the church for the last two thousand years is that the teaching of the Bible is normative for all people for all time. While the biblical writers were limited to the time in which they lived, they shared things that were common to all human beings. The writings were not time-bound, though the writers lived at a distinct time in history.

While the words of Scripture are human words that were spoken and written in a particular culture at a particular time, there is nothing unreasonable about believing that they can have authority across cultures and across time. This is because the words of Scripture are the words of God. They can communicate across cultures, geography and time. While the Bible must be interpreted in its historical setting, the message is not limited to a particular time in history.

Because the Bible is completely God’s Word, it speaks eternal truth that applies to all readers, everywhere. While it was addressed to specific problems and specific needs, it does not merely apply to those who first received it. Therefore, the Scripture is just as relevant today as when it was first written; its commandments are still binding.

Summary – Question 26
Why Should an Ancient Book, like the Bible, Be Used as the Basis of Our Behavior Today?

While some people think that the Bible is out-of-date or irrelevant to modern humanity, this is certainly not the case. There are a number of reasons as to why the Bible is still the most relevant book in the world. To begin with, it is only from the Bible that we can know any specific facts about God. He does not change. In addition, humanity is still in the same sinful condition that our first parents, Adam and Eve, found themselves in.

The way in which a person approaches God has not changed through time. The Bible also provides a necessary, absolute standard of right and wrong. All of Scripture, no matter to whom it was originally addressed, contains important principles for us today. For these reasons the Bible remains the most relevant book for humanity in our present day.

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