(Google Translator available below)
Swing Low Sweet Chariot! ("Swing Low Sweet Chariot" by various artists; words below)
The Caravans 1958
Johnny Cash (sing-along words)
Johnny Cash with introduction
You may find many more reasons to study the Bible but these are the ones the Lord has impressed me to include:
One: God, the Author of the Bible is alive.
You may read a book by Josephus (a historian who lived from 37 CE (AD) to 100 CE (AD)). However excellent a writer he was, he could not include things that happened after he died. When his life ended, that was the end of his writings. He could not write about the French Revolution or Lenin or Stalin or Mao or Castro or any other person who would live later.
The Bible was written over a long period of time by many authors who wrote as God directed. As each writer in turn died, the real Author, the Author of Life, continued to live! As circumstances changed, God directed the human authors to write as needed, often with a two-fold meaning, one for then and one for the future. As you read Josephus, you may appreciate his writing and may be able to construct what kind of person he must have been. But you cannot know Josephus! He is dead and gone. However, you can know God, the Author of the Bible. And just as Josephus was accurate about what he wrote, so God is accurate and all the 66 books of the Bible as a whole make sense and support each other. Although the Bible is not adding new books, those of us who are alive in God in Christ and Christ in God are living epistles (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). We are not perfect and we must check our thoughts and behavior with the Bible, but we do know God.
The Bible is sitting there waiting for you to read about how you got here, why things are the way they are, what the meaning of life is, what the meaning of your life is, and what will happen in the future. Bonus features for believing the Bible are a full life now and a happy forever. People exist who can point the way.
Two: The Bible tells the Truth when we are lied to.
You can learn the Truth from the Bible. You can be protected from the philosophies and fads popular during the time you live. If you lived in time of slavery in the United States and were a slave, the Bible told you of your dignity, of your great value to Him and that Jesus was there in the cotton fields laboring beside you. While slave owners at times kept slaves ignorant of the Gospel, there were those who disobeyed and risked their lives to share it. Thus, songs such as Swing Low Sweet Chariot came to be sung. Present in eternity with God our Father may be more slaves than slave owners. It is one of the twists of fate that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Similarly, you may have been born in a country where family structure makes an independent decision away from the religion of your birth very difficult. You may have to study the Bible in secret due to lack of freedom. But the Bible will reveal to you that God loves you, understands your situation, and will be with you to help you in every way. You may be shunned (left alone) or turned out into the streets. Love may withdrawn. You may be beaten or put into jail. But the Bible tells you God will never leave your or foresake you, that even though your father and mother abandon you, he never will (Psalm 27:10).
Three: The Bible tells the Truth when we don't know we are being lied to.
You can learn the Truth from the Bible. You can be protected from the philosophies and fads popular during the time you go to school. There are times at great universities that Christians hide in the basement probably praying for God to intervene. A few years later the atheists are hiding in the same basement! What if you attended the school and graduated while the Christians were hiding in the basement? You were unlucky in time. The Bible can get you where you need to be regardless. The Bible teaches that God is Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the Universe. Humans are His highest creation, created in His image, able to think and decide based on freedom. Below humans are are the animals and land and sea. We are to be kind to them and take care of them but we make decisions on their behalf.
Unfortunately, right at this time, schools teach that there is no God, there is no Creator, there are just humans. Either we are above the animals, land and seas OR we are below the animals, land, and seas and it would be best if we huddled in cities and turned the land and sea back over to natural forces. One learns to reject God as a non-existent hope and judges those who do believe as not as smart as others. Only when life gets overwhelming does one turn to the possibility of God and to God Himself as solutions are tried and fail up against life's challenges. Unfortunately again, the older you get, the more set in your ways you can get. Fewer people turn to God as their age increases. It doesn't have to be that way but it tends to be. No matter what age you are, start reading the Bible now. When getting ready for eternity, measure twice and cut once.
Four: You will find God is personal and loving.
Just start in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. You will see Adam and Eve and God have conversations. In some books you will see that God overhears what we say (II Kings 8:12) and responds to us. For the most enjoyment, read about the life of David. You will see that you can interact with God your whole life and that he is not out to get you! He is out to reveal himself to you and discipline you when you are going out on your own so nothing worse will happen to you. You will find God holds leaders responsible and sometimes the people being led get hurt because of the choices of the leader. If the leader is wise, he or she will tell God he or she is sorry and stop the behavior so it will go better with the people (II Samuel 24:14-17).
Five: You will find God can handle even you!
I was so happy to be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit! I was dancing all the time except when I was not asleep. I thought I was with fellow believers. But they did not understand me and would pound with their fists on my dormatory room wall from the adjoining room and shout, "Jesus! Jesus Christ." Since I was attending a Christian college and didn't know better, I thought their behavior was like God's behavior. So I went outside in the dark and shouted to God, "God, go to hell and take your salvation back! I don't want anybody to know that I know you!" You might think a lightening bolt would now hit me and I would be dead but God answered immediately, "It's all right to hate hate. Just don't harden your heart to Me." He was letting me know the behavior of my fellow students was not like God. Now we say, "Chill!" He labelled the behavior hate, gave me the freedom to hate it, and softened my heart to Him. He loved me in exactly the way I needed to be loved. He didn't wait three weeks. It was immediate. And I didn't try to hide my feelings from Him which would make me grow bitter. And I could forgive the women and continue to go to class with them. I know they were surprised when I came back the next semester. I came back every (five) semester until I graduated. This may have been "true grit."
Last updated: 05/11/2012
Owen Sound's Black History
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
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