A very insightful person once said that to truly know something, you have to love it. The Bible shares this point of view. We are eager for everyone to read the Bible—to reap the benefits of exploring its wide variety of writings, to trace its story and to engage with its world-transforming plot. In this sense, any one of us can know the Bible and learn about its contents. But there is a deeper, more profound sense in which we can only come to know the Bible when we come to love it. Or perhaps we should say, when we come to love the one who is at the heart of the Bible.
This is another way of saying that to really know the Bible, you have to enter into its story. It is when your life’s story becomes part of the drama of the Bible that you will genuinely know the Bible. The way to do this is to become a follower of the one who is the source of healing and restoration in the story—Jesus.
1. Who is Jesus?
If you’ve read our overview of the Bible’s story—the Drama of the Bible in Six Acts—then you know a bit about how Jesus fits into the big narrative. The story, of course, is all about how God chose Israel to bring blessing and life back to a fallen world. Jesus comes into the world, into the story, as Israel’s long-awaited king, the Messiah. And the way the story goes, Israel’s Messiah would also be Lord of the world. Jesus came to bring God’s kingdom—that is, God’s just and gracious rule—from heaven to earth.
He did this in a completely surprising way: He willingly gave up His life as a sacrifice, and then God raised Him from the dead. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are the center of the story. Through these actions of His one and only Son, God himself has provided the payment for the penalty of our wrongdoing. Forgiveness can now be announced to all people. God has defeated sin and death, breaking their power and bringing life and hope to the world.
2. Find forgiveness and new life
We’ve all taken part in the brokenness and wrongdoing that came into the story in Act 2. The victory of Jesus in Act 4 now offers us the opportunity to have our lives turned around. Our sins can be forgiven. We can become part of God’s story of new creation.
We invite you now to turn away from your wrongdoing. All of us have either ignored God or have actively rebelled against Him. His intention was for us to love and care for others and love and serve Him above all. But we have fallen short of His good ways for living. So God acted through the death and resurrection of the Messiah to deal decisively with evil—in your life and in the life of the world. You can experience this renewal when you believe the good news about Jesus and commit to follow Him. He will change the direction of your life and put you back on the path of wisdom and right relationship—with God himself, with other people, and with the good world He made for us.
3. Follow the King
A critical part of becoming a follower of Jesus is to acknowledge that he is the rightful ruler of the world. Our world belongs to God. He is its creator and its savior. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He confirmed that Jesus is the world’s true Lord. Living the script of the Bible means doing all we can to get every part of our lives in tune with God’s good ways. This leads to a lifetime of exploring more and more ways to bring the light of these ways to expression in our society. We serve others, offering ourselves for their well-being. All of this is a way to show our love and to worship the God behind this amazing drama.
In the end, the way to change the Bible from being a foreign book to a familiar book is to commit to live the way of Jesus yourself. You will move from knowing about Jesus, to loving Jesus. You will move from understanding certain things about the Bible, to absorbing it, because you are living it out.