The Message of the Bible
What is the Bible? What is its message?
These are two questions that—surprisingly—most people cannot answer accurately.
Pretty much everyone in English-speaking countries has heard of the Bible, but—again surprisingly—even many people who are highly educated, even many people who regularly attend church don't really know even the basics
of the Bible.
The Bible is actually a set of
more than 65 books written by about 40 main authors in three languages
over a period of about 1500 years. (I say "main" authors
because some parts are quotes from official government documents
such as letters from Babylonian or Persian kings. Various people
One way in which the
Bible is unique is that over this 1500 year period it presents a
If you do that:
- There is a single deity ("God") who created
everything and keeps it all running.
- God is a "personal" God. He is alive, He thinks,
He has opinions, He makes choices, etc. He is not like "the Force" in Star Wars, which is non-living and impersonal.
- God gets involved in things that happen on Earth and
- Every person is actually a "spirit" that lives
in a physical human body.
- Physical death is not the end of human existence. When
a person physically dies, the person's spirit continues
- There is an eternal "afterlife".
- For various reasons, God:
- helps people in some situations
- refuses to get involved in others and
- deliberately causes difficulties in others.
- God gave human beings freedom of choice to accept either
good or evil.
- Every person has chosen to do evil. Doing evil is called
- If you have ever lied, stolen, had sex with someone you were not married to, fantasized about having sex with someone you were not married to, been jealous of another person, or many other such things, you have done evil and you are a sinner.
- God rewards good and punishes evil.
- Because every person has chosen to do evil, God should
punish every person for doing evil.
- Sinning is committing a crime against God. Like any
other crime, when God is deciding whether you deserve to
be punished, He does not look at the good you have done,
He looks at the crime—the sin.
This is a fancy way of saying that you can't make up
for your sins by doing good.
Like any other crime, you can't say, "Yes,
Judge, I did beat my neighbor with a baseball
bat so bad that he wound up in the hospital for a week. But
I'm a member of the PTA and I help out at a local homeless shelter.
Overall, I'm not a bad person, so you can just
forgive me because my good works outweigh me putting my neighbor
in the hospital."
- God has provided a way to escape His punishment for
- God came to Earth in the form of a human being (named
Jesus) and lived among humans for 33 years.
- Because He was God, Jesus did not sin.
- Jesus voluntarily took the punishment for peoples' sins
(like one person paying another person's criminal fine).
He was physically tortured to death.
- Jesus physically died.
- Jesus was physically dead three days. (His spirit was
still alive and left His body.)
- God brought Jesus back from the dead in a permanent, physical
supernatural form called a resurrected body.
- God has provided a substitute who took
the punishment we deserve—Jesus.
- To get the benefit of this substitute,
a person must do the following:
- Admit the person has sinned.
- Repent of the person's sins.
"Repent" means "to be genuinely sorry
for and want to turn away from". Being sorry
that you got caught is not repenting.
Being sorry you tried something and it didn't work—such
as lying on a résumé and you still didn't get the job—is
- The person must accept God and try to live how God
said to live.
- Believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead.
Although that sounds pretty weird at first, there
are a lot of credible people who saw Him die and then
saw Him alive. Some of them wrote about it in the books
of the Bible called the New Testament.
Also, Jesus is the only person in history
whose life was described in detail before He was born. These
descriptions are called Messianic prophecies.
- You must believe that Jesus took your
punishment and God has accepted that as payment for
If you don't do that:
- God will immediately forgive all
your sins—even future sins.
- God will start changing the way you think.
Over time, you will lose the desire to do evil things
you used to enjoy.
- God will help you in your daily life. He will protect
you from certain things that would otherwise harm you.
He will send good things your way that He would not
- When you physically die, God will immediately take
you into His presence and provide for you forever.