God tells us all He wants us to know about Himself and His purpose, in the Bible.
The Bible is complete in itself. It consists of sixty-six sections (each one called a ‘book’). It begins, in Genesis chapter 1, by explaining that God created the earth and all the things that live on it, including us. When the work was completed, everything was described as ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31).
Next we are told how this ‘very good’ state was spoiled when man disobeyed his Creator. But, to recover the situation, we are told how God then began a process that would repair the damage, and make all things ‘very good’ again, in the course of time.
Man was shown that he could be forgiven if he believed what God said, if he confessed his sins, and offered sacrifices that would teach him important lessons.
But he had to be willing to learn.
As the Bible progresses, this ‘way of salvation’ is made steadily clearer. Generation after generation, mankind made the same mistakes as the first man Adam. All humans failed to some extent, and sooner or later everyone died. Then at last Jesus came, born of a woman and truly human as we all are, but begotten by the power of God.
He succeeded where we have all failed.
Unlike us, Jesus resisted all temptation and lived a perfect life. Then he allowed wicked men to crucify him and he died, of his own free will, as the perfect sacrifice.
In that way Jesus put this troublesome human nature behind him forever, because God his Father raised him to perfect immortal life. After that the apostles of Jesus went out into the world inviting everyone to follow Jesus, to believe his teaching and sincerely try to live the same way.
Those who obeyed this call would be forgiven and have the hope of enjoying eternal life when Jesus returns as King. Then the earth, which sinful men and women have so misruled, will be filled with God’s glory.
The Bible ends with beautiful descriptions of the earth and its people when that ‘very good’ state has been restored. Sin, pain, sorrow, and even death will be gone forever, and God will be praised by all (Revelation chapters 21 & 22).
Start to Finish
So the Bible tells the whole story, from beginning to end. For each period of history it gave men and women guidance as to the way they should live their lives. In the period before Moses (before about 1400 BC), people such as Abraham: “obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5).
The Law given through
This God-given law added details to those basic principles of living so that the whole Jewish nation could be governed by them. When that Law was complete, all were warned:
Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32).
Later, the great prophet Isaiah wrote:
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20).
The Coming of Christ
When the Lord Jesus was born, God’s revelation of what He is like reached a new phase, as the apostle explains:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1–2).
Jesus calls himself the ‘Alpha and Omega’ (Rev 22:13). Alpha & Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In any language, everything is said by using the letters of the alphabet or their equivalent. So it is that God reveals everything that He wants us to know in and through Jesus, who said “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
Jesus is God’s “Word made flesh” (John 1:14). The last message sent to us from Jesus before he comes back as King is the Book of Revelation. In it he warns that if we add to his words, God will add to us all the plagues described there, and if we take away from his words, God will take away our hope of eternal life (Rev. 22:18-19).
So, in the Bible, and perfected in the work of Jesus, God’s revelation to us is complete.
Warning & Encouragement
Sadly, many religious men and women in every age have not accepted this. Some ‘added’ traditions that Jesus said “made the word of God void” (of no effect)” (Matthew 15:3-8). Others added visions and revelations that they thought they had received. Others have ‘taken away’, either by rejecting parts of the Bible they do not agree with, or by neglecting them.
Some people described in the Acts of the Apostles show us the right way:
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).
We need to follow this example if we too wish to be a part of God’s Purpose.
By John Woodall