For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Every book has a purpose – cookbooks, music books, text books, novels, even comic books – every book has a purpose. So what is the purpose of the best-selling book in the world, the Bible?
The Bible imparts wisdom, and has been used in many lands during various ages as a key educational textbook. While this is useful, it is not its real purpose.
The Bible proclaims the Creator’s natural law for his creatures. Guided by its directives, people can live productive and happy lives, caring about others. While this is very beneficial, it is not the real purpose.
Many claim the Bible teaches us how to live according to God’s commands so we can gain his favor. This common misunderstanding is certainly not the purpose of the Bible. Rather, the Bible clearly proclaims and demonstrates that we cannot keep God’s commands to gain his favor for salvation. God’s answer to this dilemma is the real purpose of the Bible. According to his eternal plan God sent his own perfect Son, Jesus, to live in obedience to all of God’s commands, and to suffer the punishment for our wrongs against God’s commands by his death on the cross. Jesus gained God’s favor for all of us!
The apostle Paul wrote, “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Just before this verse, Paul quoted from what was written in the past, about a thousand years before Jesus was born: “The insults of those who insult you fall on me” (Psalm 69:9). Paul described how that Psalm verse speaks of Jesus Christ, who did not come to please himself, but came to do the Father’s will. In his suffering and death Jesus voluntarily bore all people’s hostility toward God.
This is the amazing purpose of the Bible. It points to Jesus Christ and describes in detail his work of salvation. It is God’s Word. It is his eternal plan of salvation for sinners. This is what truly teaches us, encourages us, grants us endurance and hope. This is the purpose of the Bible—to show sinners their salvation in Jesus Christ alone, that we might have hope.
Dear God, thank you for your Word. Help me to recognize its real purpose and to use it for its real purpose. Amen.