Image source: JeanWilund
I thought my teachers in elementary school were the wisest; I wondered how they knew what to teach, such that what we learnt in Grade 4 continued what we learnt in Grade 3. I was amazed – until I got to high school and discovered that they followed a common teaching plan. All over the world there is a teaching plan that guide what children learn from elementary to high school and onwards to University.
Teaching plans or syllabus have a purpose – to produce engineers, or doctors, or lawyers, or musicians. The syllabus is designed to prepare children for society. So there is a purpose to why I was taught how to count, read, and write. We write many exams when we are in school, to test how well we are learning, but the purpose for school is not to write exams, it is to prepare us for adult life in society.
When we come to the Bible, we have to ask what is the purpose? Yes, we read our Bible, we use study guides and listen to Bible teachers to understand the Bible clearly. Like exams, reading and studying the Bible is necessary, but we get maximum benefit when we understand the purpose for the Bible.
Jesus said to Israel in John 5:39 (New Living Translation): “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!”
Later in John 14:16 (New Living Translation) we read: “Jesus told him [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
We study the Bible to know Jesus the Son of God, who then lead us to the Father. Why Jesus? Hebrews 1:1-3 explains: “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets… in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance… The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…”
Jesus “expresses the very character of God”, so the Bible shows us the character of God, seen more perfectly in the life of Jesus. We can see the love of God in the Old Testament, we can see the goodness of God in the Old Testament, but the lessons about God in the Old Testament is sometimes unclear, in the New Testament through the life and teachings of Jesus, we understand God’s character more clearly.
Lord, help us to see your character more clearly in the Bible, Amen!