what is the purpose of the Bible?
Updated: May 5
Today I had an epiphany.
This morning I bought two new books; they were both Bibles. One was a Bible in the traditional sense. It had thin, delicate gold-edged pages, chapters, verses, and all the other typical features that Bibles have. The second was a sort of Bible hybrid that has been created to focus on all the story elements of the Bible. It had been edited and re-written so that it reads like a novel.
Being the avid young bookworm that I am, I immediately got cozy this evening the second I had a spare moment and I began reading the novel version of the Bible. I don't know if you guys enjoy reading or read a lot of novels and lengthy books, but if you do you are probably familiar with the general layout authors follow. After you get into the first few chapters you begin to recognize who the main characters are and what the plot is going to be. You discover details and personalities that draw you in, causing you to get invested in the story. If the book is written by a skilled author, this is the point in the reading experience that starts to give you that, "can't put it down" sensation. I have read many books and felt this sort of addiction to the story I'm investing in, but I have never been able to get that feeling when reading the Bible.
In the past when I have read the Bible, I've thought of it in numerous different ways. Sometimes I read it as a set of rules or facts. Sometimes I read it as the stories of some beloved Bible characters. Often I read it as a recollection on the life of Christ. No matter how I've viewed it in the past, I've always assumed that the Bible was written for us as humans to understand how we should live and recieve salvation. I'm writing this post at this moment to tell you that, while those are all valuable perspectives on the Bible, I think I have been thinking about it kind of wrong... I think many of us have been.
Have you ever kept a diary or daily journal? Maybe if you haven't you at least know someone who has. People fill diaries with all the different things they are doing and phases of life they are going through. If someone is a really avid writer they will have a shelf or a box full of diaries by the time they reach late adulthood. There will be one about their first date, their first job, their marriage, their first place, etc. Everything they do that has meaning, they write about. Today I realized that God has "a box full of diaries". There is no way for me to know how many He has. I don't know what He "writes" about in each of them... except for one.
The Bible is God's diary about His experience creating humans and Earth.
I'm not just saying this to be poetic or tell you something clever. I believe the Bible is God's actual feelings, records, and experiences. A true journal that is keeping record of this point in His "life". What I'm trying to say is it isn't us as humans, the Bible characters, or even Jesus who are or is the central protagonist of all these stories... the main character of the Bible is God. He is the only consistent, reoccurring character that every author kept in every book that has been compiled into scripture.
When you start to read the Bible as God's diary, journal, or autobiography you begin to comprehend things like you never have before. Suddenly, God has relatable emotions. I caught myself beginning to relate to Him as if He were human... and then I had to laugh because actually I had it backwards. I was relating to Him because I am God-like. I am made in his image. Suddenly, I saw God in a startling, very raw and vulnerable way. I actually felt very sad. I found myself feeling deeply sorry for God.
"How can you feel sorry for God!?" someone might scoff, "God is all-powerful! He can do anything he wants! He has it perfect!" I actually disagree. I think it is true that God is all-powerful and technically capable to do "anything" He wants, but the truth is if He did anything He wanted, He would be going against His own nature. I am reminded of this in the story of Noah when He is so disappointed in how His creations are acting that He starts to consider completely destroying the earth and starting over again. Yet then He realizes that He can't... because He sees Noah. He realizes that as bad as things are going, to truly have created beings that love Him, He must allow them to have a choice. Thankfully Noah reminds Him that while many people will not choose God, many will choose Him.
I challenge you to read the Bible from God's perspective, the perspective I think it is ultimately written from. We often say, "Oh yeah, the Bible was written by God" in a casual way. But guys, the Bible was written by God. It was written by God about God on an incredibly intimate level. These aren't just life lessons, we are seeing His actual thoughts and feelings.
It might seem like we are not capable of comprehending all this, but today I realized that we are. If we are to think of ourselves without sin, we are tiny, less powerful versions of God Himself. We have the same emotions He is feeling as he goes through this dramatic experience of trying to make something that will love Him. Just take a moment and think about that... He wanted to make something so He could feel loved. Think about when you get a new pet or when you have kids for the first time and you are so excited and nervous because you just want them to like you. You instantly love them. You instantly think they're incredible. What would you write in your diary during that time in your life?
Now think about how it feels if the pet runs away from home, or the child grows up and tells you they want nothing to do with you. Think about how it feels when you never find the pet, and you never hear from your kid ever again. That is what God is going through as He writes the Bible.
The Bible is not the only diary God has about His experiences with Earth. Time on Earth is still going on and we are all still out here going through it. I think God has been keeping a new record of Earth's happenings ever since He gave us the Bible. Someday maybe we will get to read that one too. In the meantime, its time for us to get to know God in a new way.
Re-read the Bible as God's diary and see for yourself.