All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. ‘As You Like It’—William Shakespeare WHEN GOD CREATED the world (Genesis 1:1) He created the most fantastic stage set there ever was. But ahead of the coming of any actors upon the scene He had also written a great drama, with a cast of millions and an amazing climax. Just for a moment admire the set—in the distance, the heavens in their stellar glory. The immediate background shows the wonders of the creation as we view them every day. God then created the first pair of performers (Adam and Eve) and explained to them the role He wanted them to play in the unfolding drama (Genesis 2). But in the second scene (chapter 3) disaster struck. These two actors wanted to take a short cut to the final climax—they did not appreciate that for the drama to
HAS IT EVER struck you as odd? God has an urgent message for us, and He has infinite power at His disposal. He could have taken over the world’s TV channels, or written in the sky, or sent out angels with loudhailers. But instead He chooses to communicate by means of an old book. The cynic might turn the question round, and suggest that if God really did want to communicate with us He would use some other means. But this would be to miss the point of what the Bible is. It is not just an old book. What God wants from us is faith. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him’ (Hebrews 11:6). History shows that overt displays of God’s power do not produce faith. For Example…
IT IS EASY to get hold of an English Bible. In fact we have a lot of choice because there are dozens of different translations. We can use a paper copy or read it for free on the internet, or download it to a mobile phone. However, there are an estimated 250 million people in the world without access to any part of the Bible in a language that they understand well. There are over 2,000 languages without a translation. Printed English Bibles have been available since the 1500s but translations into other languages came much later. For example the Bible was translated into Farsi and Russian in the 19th Century and into Afrikaans in the 20th Century. The Bible is still a best-seller, although not read as much as in previous generations. Nonetheless, many people still treasure their Bible. After all, it claims to be God’s Word. But how
WE KNOW WHAT IT WAS that the first apostles preached, which stirred people to believe and be converted: “When they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12). What are the “things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”? The following list is a brief summary of the basic teachings of the Bible, together with a selection of Bible references in connection with each teaching. The BibleIt is the Word of God and is unique. It contains God’s message to humankind for our salvation. It was written by many men over the centuries whom God used as instruments for the writing of His Word. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).