THE PURPOSE OF THE BIBLE
The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans )
To understand the Bible one must have knowledge of the Bible as a whole. The Bible plan is historical. The scheme of redemption is presented historically. It must be studied with respect to this fact. While there is great value in studying small sections of the Bible - a chapter, a paragraph, a verse, a phrase, a word, a man or woman, etc. - yet, knowledge of the whole is indispensable.
While an artist might have occasion to carefully scrutinize each square inch of a painting, he would first see the picture as a whole. If you would know Abraham or Moses or David or Paul (those parts), if you would comprehend the Abrahamic Covenant, the scenes on Sinai and on Calvary, or the sermon on the day of Pentecost, you must know them as parts of a sublime whole.
It IS good to read an entire book of the Bible at one sitting. We must strive always to see how the part fits into the whole. It is important that we study each book of the Bible as a whole, realizing that it has a significant relationship to a larger whole - the whole Bible.
The Bible relates to the need for human redemption. The fact of redemption necessarily implies man’s need for redemption. The first three chapters of Genesis are specifically designed to explain the need for redemption. In spite of all that God had done, and in spite of all the wonderful circumstances, blessings and opportunities He gave to the first couple - Adam and Eve transgressed God's will - they sinned.
Through this sin of Adam, sin and death entered into the world (Rom. 5:12). Consequently, men are born into a world where sin and death (both physical and spiritual) do exist. One dies physically as a consequence of Adam's sin. One dies spiritually as a consequence of his own sins. When an accountable person yields to temptation and transgresses God's law he thereby becomes a sinner and involved in spiritual death. He stands in need of deliverance - redemption.
All accountable persons share this need for redemption. This is true because all sin. "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). The Gentiles had violated the law which God had given them, and were therefore condemned before God (Rom. 1:18-32). The Jews had violated the Mosaic law, and were therefore condemned (Rom. 2 & 3). Thus, the Jews and Gentiles were alike - sinners, guilty, condemned. There was no distinction, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:22-23). There is no distinction among people today...we all sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).
We all sin, and therefore the need for redemption! The Bible shows that redemption is through Jesus Christ. In Rom. 3:24 Paul refers to "being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Redemption here comes from the Greek to signify or mean "deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the retributive wrath of a Holy God and the merited penalty of sin." Paul refers to..."the Beloved: in whom we have our redemption through his blood" (Eph. 1:6-7). It is in God's "dear Son" that "we have redemption" (Col. 1:14). Jesus is the deliverer (Gal. 1:4).
The Old Testament points to the Christ (please turn to Luke chapter 24). After the Lord's resurrection two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13ff). As they talked together, the Bible says the Lord "drew near, and went with them" (vs. 15). Jesus then said to them (Read vs. 25, 27). After Jesus vanished from their sight, they recognized who He was, and they said (Read vs. 32).
Recognition of the fact that the coming of the Christ, for man's redemption, is the message of the Old Testament is the key which opens the Old Testament. Paul persuaded the Jews "concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets" (Acts 28:23). Jesus Himself said, "All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me" (Luke 24:44).
Again, concerning the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus said, "They are they which testify of me" (John ). It is a fact that Moses wrote of the Lord (John ). It is also a fact that the prophets’ spake of the Christ and His sufferings (Acts 3:18; 1 Pet. 1:10-11). The prophets showed "the coming of the Just One" (Acts ). "To him give all the prophets witness" (Acts ).
Paul emphasized that in preaching the salvation of mankind in Christ, he was preaching "none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come" (Acts 26:22-23). Obviously, the Christ is the center, sum, and substance of the Bible message. The coming of Christ is its theme. The Old Testament points forward to His coming; the New Testament emphasizes that Christ did come, and that He will come again.
Additionally, the redemption of mankind glorifies God! Being adopted as God's children through Jesus Christ is "to the praise of the glory of his grace" (Eph. 1:5-6). "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Rom. ). The Holy Spirit teaches "that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. ). Thus, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Eph. ).
What we've said is that the Bible relates to the need for human redemption. All accountable persons share this need for redemption. The Bible shows that redemption is through Jesus Christ. The Old Testament points to Christ. The Christ is the sum and substance of the Bible message. Human redemption is to the glory of God.
From these fundamental facts we have the inevitable conclusion that the purpose of the Bible is "THE GLORY OF GOD, AND THE SALVATION OF MAN, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD." This is the purpose-line which runs all the way through the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. Every word in every verse of every paragraph of every chapter of every book has a vital connection with this purpose-line. Every book fastens in a wonderful way upon this purpose-line. It is our task as students of the Word to ascertain exactly what that connection is. We must study all the parts and see how each relates to the purpose of the Bible.