Every book in history has an author, a target audience, and an attainable objective within the scope of the book. A great author has a specific message he hopes to pass along. A goal he keeps the focus on, regardless of the story-line he is recounting. He cannot write everything he sees or knows. He does write specific events as he wants the audience to see it—through his eyes. Only those things he considers important get prominence. Whenever we pick up a bestseller to read, we read the author’s prioritization of events as they unfold before us. The Bible is no different. It has a primary author with a specific goal and a particular targeted audience.
So, what is the Bible? Why was it written? Who wrote it and to whom?
The Bible is a collection of books. It has different writings that cover different topics over a period of about 2,000 years. The book was written by Men inspired by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:16). A review of the book headings often gives the writer’s name, audience, or a description of the book content itself. Most of the books further give an introductory sentence or paragraph explaining the objective of the book. In some, the last sentences give a conclusion as well.
With this basic information, we can identify the primary author of the Bible as God (2 Timothy 3:16). The questions we now need to ask ourselves are: why did He have the book written? Who is the intended audience? And what is the expected response?
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. – Genesis 1:1-2
Note that God already was before this beginning, so the book is not about who or what God is. It is a book about the relationship between heaven and earth and the purpose for which they are built. Hence it discusses the beginnings of man (Genesis 1:26) and Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:13-19, Isaiah 14:12-20). God’s begining however is never questioned. Proverbs 8:22-31 further reveals a time before the earth was made. It describes a time when there were no depths, waters or mountains. A period before dust was made, but God already was even then.
The next verse (Genesis 1:2) goes on to describe the chaos that was on the earth, how darkness was everywhere. Note that it was the earth that was without form and void, not the heaven. The earth’s atmosphere was polluted. The environment so degraded that it was impossible to see the distinction between the sky and the ground (sounds familiar?). The earth was such a worthless place; living things could not survive there. It was a miserable place to be, a sorrowful sight, and a sore to the eyes. It became so marred that water covered the ground, making it impossible to see the land (2 Samuel 14:14).
The question I ask myself is why would God create such a shapeless void on earth while heaven was not so bad. Did God create a marred earth or did some accident happen? How did the earth become like this? I decided to look up the word ‘was’ in the Strong’s dictionary, and surprisingly, the Hebrew word used is “hayah,” which means to become, to happen, to arise, or to be brought about. This suggests that something happened to make the earth to become without form and void.
I believe it was the Luciferian rebellion that resulted in this chaos.
Why is this important? It is crucial to our understanding of the purpose of the Bible. First the heaven and earth are created, judgment and destruction then follows Lucifer’s rebellion. Genesis 1:2 (and Job 38:10-41) now describes the RESTORATION of the earth to its glorious state.
By omitting a large chunk of what happened at the beginning, God set the agenda for why the Bible was written. In the first few verses of Genesis, God is basically saying – this book is not about me, nor my works, but about the earth and its restoration. That is why, in Genesis 1:28, God commissions man by saying unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” It is not about the devil, it is not about the angels, but all about restoration. To be fruitful and multiply is straightforward, but you can only replenish something that has been depleted. Something must therefore have been lost before Genesis 1:2 that needs replacing. That is the purpose of the Bible, to reveal and save what was lost (Matthew 18:11). It is the reason why all Scripture points to Christ because He is the ultimate revelation of the word and mind of God towards us.
The Bible is not the history of God and His acts, or of the world, or of Israel, but of mankind and what he did with what he was given. We do not see a chapter or book that gives an exposition on God because it does not fall within the scope or objective of the book. We will therefore never fully know him by just reading the Bible. That is why Revelation 22:4 says we shall see his face and his name shall be on our foreheads. The full revelation of God will come later when we see him as He is and know Him as we are known. For now, we have the Bible which is the revelation of the heart of man towards his Maker.
The Bible is a love story that starts with romance in Genesis 1-2, becomes a saga in chapter 3, and a full blown nightmare by the 6th chapter of Genesis. It describes the horrifying things we do, our thoughts, and our ways of life. Our fears, pains, faith, and hopes are laid bare and it exposes our ambitions, resolves, failures, and triumphs. It starts with the creation of our world, time and rebellion in Genesis 1, and ends with reconciliation and recreation of our world and time in Revelation 21-22. It is written for doctrine, reproof, correction, for instruction in righteousness that the MAN of God may be perfect, furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is written to us and is about us, that we may know what we are, why we are here, and what we need to do.
Only the stories that are crucial to our restoration made it into the Bible. The ones the Holy Spirit considered important for our relationship with God. It is a love story full of romance between man and his Maker. We see in Isaiah 5:1 the song of God to His vineyard, and in Matthew 23:37, the lamentation of Christ against Jerusalem. How often have I wanted to gather you (to me) as a hen gathers its chicks, but you would not. God has given so much, but our rejection of Him is chronicled in this book called the Bible.
Not every event in human history is talked about. In fact, most events do not get mentioned in the Bible at all. For example, archeologists often criticize the Bible for writing so much about David who’s existence is still questioned. In God’s eyes, the life and reign of David was more significant than all the other kings combined.
Having this at the back of our mind, we begin to understand why the Bible is silent on prominent historical events and heavy on seemingly insignificant incidences. There is a silence on the Egyptian Pharaoh’s identities though some of them lived during Israel’s 430 years Sojourn in Egypt. Neither is there mention of Confucius who lived in China during the time Israel was exiled to Babylon. The Bible does not mention Alexander the Great, though his city of Alexandria is mentioned (Acts 18:24) as the birth place of Apollos the Jew. But the lives of the queen of Sheba (1Kings 10:1-13), the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:27), Balaam (Numbers 22:5-41), and even Rahab the prostitute (Joshua 2:1) are commended. As far as God is concerned, neither the greatness nor the philosophy of a man counts, but his role in the grand plan of restoration.
The most important man described in the Bible is the man Jesus, the perfect example of who God wants us to be. The more we study His word, the more we understand who Christ is (John 5:39, Luke 24:27). “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them IN ALL the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Every passage in the Bible points to Jesus the second Adam and the perfect man. Through Him, we see how we have failed in our relationship with God and how to succeed by following His example. That is the purpose for which God gave us the Bible.
Knowing this background of the Bible, what should be our response to the contents? If it is a book written to us, about us, then a study of the Bible should be an adventure in self-discovery. In Colossians 3, the Bible describes that when Christ is revealed, then shall we also be revealed. The more we see and know Him, the more we see and know ourselves. He has walked through this life and experienced every temptation we will ever go through. The Spirit that raised Him from the dead now lives in us and will quicken us to be like Him. Through Him, we must learn to distinguish between what is important in our relationship with God and what is not.
In Luke 10:40-42, we see an example of Martha so zealously preparing the house and cooking for Jesus and His disciples. She then complained about Mary listening to the sermon instead of helping her. Jesus simply told her, Martha, you bother about insignificant issues, Mary is doing the most important stuff .
Let there be no misunderstanding. Eating and house cleaning are very important functions, just not during the sermon ministration. Martha could have prepared before or wait until after the preaching to do so. Sermon time should be listening time.
When we prioritize the important things, we walk in the Spirit. But when we don’t prioritize, we walk after the flesh chasing vain shadows (Galatians 5:16-17).
In concluding this article, here is a thought that we need to ponder on. If the Bible only records the events and people who are involved in the grand plan of reconciliation, would our names be mentioned in His book were it to be written now? If our lives came under review, would our works stand the God test (1 Corinthians 3:13)? Do we live our lives seeking the goal for which we were made or have we spent it doing our own thing? What will the book of remembrance say about us?
(article taken from ‘Creation Or Restoration? When Faith And Science Agree‘ with permission from the author)