The Bible is for everyone. There are aspects of God’s Word that pertain to every human no matter their relationship to God—for example, that we are made in His image, that we have dignity and worth, that we can see His invisible qualities in His creation. This is called general revelation. But there are aspects of God’s character and work in the world and in our hearts that can only be understood by those who have repented and believed in Christ. This is called special revelation.
God reveals Himself to us in who He says He is, what He is like, and what He does. What makes God God? He is the Creator of all, perfect, infinite, eternal, all-knowing, all-wise, unchanging. “He is the living God, enduring forever. . . . He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth” (Daniel 6:26–27). In Deuteronomy 4:35, Moses declares, “The Lord is God; there is no other besides him.” He reminds Israel that God revealed Himself to them in miraculous ways—they heard His voice, they saw His fire guiding them by night and His cloud directing them by day. He delivered them from their enemies and brought them to the land of their inheritance. He did all this so they would know that God is God—ruler, creator, sustainer, provider, deliverer. Therefore, their right response should be to love, obey, and trust Him.
God reveals Himself to us through nature. He made the sunshine and rain to fall on sinners and saints alike (Matthew 5:45). Even the animals and shrubs understand they were created by the hand of God ( Job 12:7–10). We also know something of God through lives, human experience as His image bearers (Genesis 1:26–27). We are born, we breathe, we see and touch and move and smell and taste, not by anything we have done, not by force of will or skill, but because God has given us these capacities. We know from Psalm 19:1 that the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim His handiwork. But we, too, as created beings, declare the existence of God, the power of God, the divine nature of God (Romans 1:19–20). Because God has clearly communicated these aspects of His character to us, we have no excuse for not believing the truth about who He is. The Scriptures go on to say that though God clearly reveals Himself to us, we neither honor Him as God nor do we thank Him. Instead we suppress the truth and give honor not to God but to other created things. It’s like having a fancy, comfy recliner in your home, but you go out to a junkyard and replace the recliner with a rickety, wooden, functioning electric chair. No one would knowingly make such a trade, but that’s what happens spiritually when we exchange God’s truth for the world’s lies. He offers us life, but the world only offers death and destruction. Our belief in the truth should lead to actions that uphold the truth.
Our knowledge of God is restored when the Holy Spirit invades our hearts to give us the ability to respond to the gospel message in saving faith. Were it not for the Holy Spirit, wooing us and softening our hearts and opening our eyes, we would not be able to discern spiritual truth. The Scriptures teach us that “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The only way we can have the mind of Christ that allows us to have a true knowledge of God—rooted in the person and work of Christ—is for God by His Spirit to move us to that understanding.
“The Bible is for everyone.”
It is through Jesus that God most clearly shows us what He is like and what He requires of us. Each Gospel writer introduced Jesus in a unique way, similar but distinct. In Matthew 1:1, we read that Jesus is “the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Mark 1:1 calls him “the Son of God.” Luke stated that his gospel is a story of the things they had witnessed concerning Jesus (Luke 1:1). When the angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her that she would have a son and name him Jesus, he said Jesus “will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) and that He would rule over a kingdom that will have no end (Luke 1:33). Luke echoed Mark’s description of Jesus as the Son of God (Luke 1:35). The Gospel of John describes Jesus as the Word (1:1), the true light (1:5–8), the Word who became flesh (1:14), and the One who makes Him known to us (1:18).
All of Scripture, what was written and the ways it was written, seeks to make Jesus known to us. The Scriptures teach us that, as the Word made flesh, Jesus was fully God. His birth was predicted and proclaimed by the angels (Luke 1:31; 2:11). We learn that “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” and that all things were created by Him (Colossians 1:15–16). The whole fullness of God is in Jesus (Colossians 2:9), and Jesus refers to Himself as the I AM who existed before Abraham (John 8:57–59). Both Jesus and God are referred to as Alpha and Omega, indicating they are indeed the same person (Revelation 1:8; 22:13). To avoid the confusion of those who might think there might be two gods, Jesus clearly states that He and the Father are one (John 10:30).
While Jesus is fully God, He is also fully man. He was born (Matthew 1:18, 25). He grew (Luke 2:40, 52). He had emotions (John 11:35; 12:27). He ate and slept and moved in the world as all human people do. He died. But what makes Jesus unique among humanity is that He never sinned. He lived a perfect life of obedience to God and was therefore able to be the perfect, blameless, unblemished sacrifice God required as a substitute for the sins of humanity. In His body, He took upon Himself the sins of all humanity of all time so that if any repent of their sins and trust in Him, they will have eternal life.
by Kristie Anyabwile
Don’t just read the Bible literally—read it Literarily. A lot of times, we treat Scripture like it’s all the same from Genesis...
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