Very Helpful Primer on Reading the Bible Christo-centrically
Experienced preaching professor and pastor Mike Bullmore writes how the Scriptures are necessary to the gospel, and how the gospel is necessary to the Scriptures. Bullmore expands upon several well-articulated ideas in this little booklet:
Firstly, “While Scripture itself is not the gospel, all Scripture is related to the gospel, and the gospel is Scripture’s reason for being. The gospel is the Bible’s main and unifying message.” In other words, if you read the Bible and miss the message of the gospel, then you completely miss the point of the Bible. The purpose of the Bible is to declare the gospel through all of its historical accounts, genres, prophecies, etc.
Secondly, “the Bible exists both because of and for the gospel. The key is that the gospel is the message of Christ. The Bible in all its parts points to and explains Christ in some way.” God will accomplish His plans of redemption through the reading and hearing of the Scriptures, pointing to us to Christ, and salvation being accomplished through the working of the Holy Spirit through the vehicle of the Scriptures.
Thirdly, the Bible does these specific things:
It initiates faith: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
It gives new spiritual life: “You have been born again not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23).
It helps us grow spiritually: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2).
It sanctifies: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
It searches the heart and convicts: “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
It liberates: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32).
It refreshes and renews: “Give me life according to your word!” (Psalm 119:25)
It revives and enlightens: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7)
Fourthly, it’s an absolute necessity to read the Bible with humility: “Humility is absolutely necessary—an active, eager, humble, even joyful anticipation of God’s Word working its purpose in our lives.”
Fifthly, “if we are going to read the Bible rightly, we must see it in all its parts as it relates to Christ.”
Sixthly, the entire Bible is a book of stories with one primary story line: “The Bible is God’s story, and its storyline is the gospel: God’s plan to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation through Christ…If read as a continuous narrative, its storyline is creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. If read as a collection of theological perspectives, the themes that emerge are God, sin, Christ, and faith. The message of both readings is the triumph of God’s eternal, redemptive purpose.”
Seventh, “The good news is the singular and majestic theme of Scripture: through the sinless life, substitutionary death, resurrection, present ministry, and triumphant return of Christ—when all things, ‘things in heaven and things on earth,’ will be united in him (Ephesians 1:10)—God will accomplish his perfect purpose with humans and all creation (Romans 8:21).
I highly recommend this little booklet as an excellent introduction to the gospel, how to read the Bible, and that you purchase many copies to have on hand to give away. It is concise, simple, clear, and shows how all of the Scriptures point to Jesus “the author and finisher of our faith.”