Why is it important that we read the Bible? There are many ways to answer this. Here is one. We should read scripture because it teaches us how to live in this world—and that is no easy thing.
The Bible begins and ends with a description of a created world that is thoroughly good. The difference between those two worlds is that one is completely unmarred by the fall of humankind, and the other is completely redeemed from the fall by Christ. We live in between the two.
The Bible opens with the creation account of Genesis 1 to let us know that the world God made was, at one time, good. Before shame, violence, fear, greed, envy, malice, betrayal, self-loathing, contempt, deceit, murder, or war found their way into the hearts of man, our first parents, Adam and Eve, walked with God in the garden in the cool of the day. They were naked and unashamed—at perfect peace with one another and their Maker. This was how things were meant to be.
But then the man and woman fell, and all of creation with them. Adam and Eve hid from each other and from God. They no longer dwelled in his presence. Now, things are not the way they are supposed to be and we feel it in our bones.
After the account of the creation and fall of man, the rest of the Bible is a declaration of the catastrophic damage of the fall, a desperate cry for deliverance, and the story of how God has redeemed his people and his creation through the life, death, and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ.
At the end of the Bible, the book of Revelation describes a redeemed creation—a time when the dwelling place of God will once again be with man. We will no longer be east of Eden. We will be his people and he will be our God. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, or grief, or pain. Those things will be, at best, fuzzy memories of a distant broken past. Everything will be made new (Rev 21:1-5).
But right now, however, we live with the effects of the fall of humanity all around us and in us. We live between the originally perfect creation and the New Earth redeemed and restored by Christ—and everything in this book, the Bible, speaks in one way or another, to how we are to live in a world that is broken but redeemed by love.
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Russ Ramsey is a pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church and the author of Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017), Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative, and Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is a graduate of Taylor University and Covenant Theological Seminary. Follow Russ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.