Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
In a previous post, we were calibrated in how we approach the Bible by discovering its essence. In another post, our trust in God’s Word was fortified by seeing its source. Now we’ll look at the contents of the Bible and its focus.
The Bible consists of two sections, the Old Testament and New Testament; sixty-six books; and many chapters. With so much material, what should we focus on when we read the Bible?
What is the Bible all about?
To know what a book is about, you can usually glance at its table of contents for a clue.
But this doesn’t really work with the Bible. When you look at its table of contents, you see a list of sixty-six books. But that list doesn’t tell you much about the subject of the Bible.
So moving on from the table of contents, you can take a quick tour and leaf through the pages to get a feel for the contents of the Bible. You see a lot of interesting, exciting, touching, even heartbreaking stories. You find uplifting poetry in the Psalms and encounter perplexing sections in the books of the prophets. And that’s just the Old Testament.
Continuing on, you can skim through the New Testament and find accounts of Jesus Christ, stories of the early apostles, writings to different people, and finally, the mysterious last book, Revelation.
After your quick tour, you might ask yourself, What is the main focus of the Bible? What is the Bible really about?
A vague answer
“What is the Bible about?” might seem like an odd question. After all, even people who’ve never read the Bible probably have an idea that it’s a book about God. And very generally speaking, that’s true.
But if we as believers also say, “The Bible is about God,” what exactly do we mean?
What the Bible tells us
The Bible itself tells us what its main subject is. Let’s look at a few verses:
1. Matthew 1:1
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
These opening words of the New Testament immediately indicate to us that the subject of the New Testament is not a thing or an event but a wonderful Person, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the true and living God who became a real man. He came to accomplish redemption for us and to give us His eternal life. By His life growing in us, we become His expression to fulfill His purpose.
So Jesus Christ is the subject of the New Testament, but what about the Old Testament? What is the Old Testament about?
2. Luke 24:44
“All the things written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and Psalms concerning Me must be fulfilled.”
The Lord Jesus spoke these words to His disciples after He was crucified and resurrected. Why did He mention the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms? The note on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version is very helpful:
“The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms are the three sections of the Old Testament, that is, ‘all the Scriptures’ (v. 27). The Savior’s word here unveils that the entire Old Testament is a revelation of Him and that He is its center and content.”
Notice the words concerning Me in this verse. Although we don’t see the name Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, the Lord tells us that He is, in fact, the subject and content of the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, the coming Christ is revealed through many stories, prophecies, types, figures, and shadows. And in the New Testament, Christ comes as the fulfillment of all that was revealed of Him in the Old Testament.
So both the Old and New Testaments reveal Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ is the center and content of all the Scriptures.
3. Revelation 22:21
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”
This is the last verse of the New Testament. Here again we see the name Jesus. Jesus is the first name spoken of in the New Testament, and it is also the last. By the first and last verses in the New Testament—Matthew 1:1 and Revelation 22:21—we can see that its focus and main content is the wonderful Person, Jesus Christ.
Revelation 22:21 isn’t just the last verse of the New Testament. It’s also the very last word of the entire Bible. The Bible’s final word is concerning the Lord Jesus, not so many other things. So throughout all sixty-six books, from beginning to end, Jesus Christ is the subject of the Bible. Jesus Christ is the answer to the question, What is the Bible about?
Focusing on the main thing
As believers, we should have more than just a vague or general idea that the Bible is about God. This God, the eternal One, in time became a man, Jesus Christ. The Bible abounds in detail concerning Jesus—His nature, His living, His accomplishments, His salvation. The Old Testament and New Testament are full of revelation concerning Him!
If we realize that the entire Bible is focused on Christ as its main subject and content, then we also will be focused on Him when we come to God’s Word. Instead of getting distracted from Christ amid all the stories and less important matters in the Bible, we’ll actively look for Him in the Word. We’ll then discover distinct and specific riches of Christ in both the Old and New Testaments. Our appreciation of our dear Lord Jesus will increase as we discover just how wonderful He is in God’s Word.
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