What can a book written thousands of years ago mean for today? This is a question many ask regarding the Bible, and it’s an extremely important one. If the content of the Bible has no special relevancy for us now then there’s no reason to read and apply any of what it says to life.
There are a couple of steps we can take to determine the Bible’s relevancy.
First, we can ask how the Bible was relevant during the time it was written. For example, we should explore what the life of Jesus and the message he taught meant during Biblical times. This helps explain why his ministry was controversial and resulted in his being crucified by the Jews. It also illustrates the power of his work on earth and subsequent resurrection from the dead.
Secondly, in light of the purpose of Jesus’s life and ministry thousands of years ago, we must weigh its meaning now. Does Jesus’ message regarding sin, the need for repentance, and the necessity of a Savior still hold true? Can his commandment to love him and one’s neighbor still apply? If Jesus walked on earth today teaching the same principles that he taught years ago, would they still ring true in the hearts and minds of those who listened?
When we begin to explore these two things, a story of redemption is clearly illuminated. And this story of redemption is not only about people thousands of years ago, but people today as well.
In other words, the truths of the Bible transcend time and culture. Hebrews 4:12 describes it this way,
The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The relevance of God’s word was not confined to a particular period or people, we should view it as an unfolding story of God’s relation to humankind. The Bible tells the Good News of Jesus Christ for everyone throughout all of history.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.