If you’re like me, a book needs to grab you right from the start or you don’t keep reading. Many people have wanted to read the Bible, only to get bogged down in the long list of unfamiliar names just five chapters into the book. They stop reading.
The Bible seems like such an important book to so many people. But it is very long. It is not organized like a conventional book. Its message can seem so confusing. I wish someone could condense the Bible’s message in a few sentences. Just what is the Bible trying to say, anyway?
Break the entire Bible down to its barest minimum and you end up with two basic messages: The Law and the Gospel. 1) The Law tells us that we have rebelled against God and as a result deserve God’s punishment, and 2) The Gospel tells us that God has saved us from the punishment of our rebellion through his Son, Jesus Christ and as a result we can live forever in heaven.
The Bible is full of passages that make demands of us. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) or Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) are some of the more familiar parts of the Bible that explain the kind of perfect life God demands. When we fail in any way (either in what we say, think or do) – even just once – then we are no longer perfect. We are rebels and sinners. God says clearly in the Bible, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a).
The Bible is also full of good news. One of those passages is known by its familiar reference,John 3:16. It reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That’s good news! God’s act of love trumps our sins. Jesus has forgiven all our sins. Heaven will be home for all who believe this! Or, to quote the rest of Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God presents these two messages in many different ways in the Bible. Most of those ways are through the real life events of real people – people you and I can identify with because they were rebels just like us. And Jesus saved them just like us. Read it and you’ll find out for yourself.