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The Point of Scripture

It's all about Jesus.

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“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” John 5.39

It’s about Jesus
The point of Scripture, the Word of God, is Jesus Christ. Simply put, period. Wherever you’re reading in the Bible, whatever doctrine you may be focusing on, book you may be pondering, example you may be sorting through, or topic you may be studying, if Jesus Christ is not the center of it, you may be in danger of missing the point of God’s Word.

And if you miss the point of God’s Word, you may easily veer of the path of joy and rejoicing into one of self-righteousness, spiritual smugness, intellectual vapidity, or mere spiritual indifference. Only Jesus is Life (Jn. 14.6); only in His presence can we know fullness of joy and pleasures forever more (Ps. 16.11). Miss Jesus, and you’ve missed the Scriptures altogether.

Don’t get me wrong; the Bible contains many interesting and important topics besides Jesus Christ. There are promises to claim, prophecies in some stage of fulfillment, stories to guide our conduct, doctrines to inform our faith, and much more.

But central to all these, and the only hope we have of benefiting from any of them, is Jesus Christ. All of Scripture is like a spiritual Rorschach Test. Everywhere you turn, whatever you’re reading, studying, or hearing, the final answer is, “Jesus Christ.”

He said so Himself
Now, granted, it may be difficult to see Jesus Christ in all of Scripture. Certainly it’s easier to see Him in some places than in others. It’s easier to see Jesus in the Gospels, for example, than in the book of Ecclesiastes. But He’s the theme of Ecclesiastes nonetheless. At the end of that strange, wonderful book of meditations and advice, Solomon writes, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12.15 ESV). Great. But how are we supposed to do that? Only through Jesus Christ. He teaches us to fear God as we should, and to love Him at the same time. He has fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets. And He, by His resurrection from the dead, grants us new life in Him, in which fearing God and keeping His commandments are empowered in us by His Word and Spirit.

It may be easier to see Jesus when we’re reading about the sacrifices in ancient Israel than, let’s say, when we’re plodding through those genealogies in Genesis or 1 Chronicles. But the genealogies given in Scripture are intended to remind us that the events of God’s deliverance were carried out with real people in real history, and that history was moving toward a fullness of times in which Jesus came to earth bringing salvation and the Kingdom of God. And the story of Jesus and the redemption He came to provide begins with two separate statements of His own lineage as the Son of God and a true child of Adam (Matt. 1; Lk. 3).

Jesus declared that, wherever you read, meditate, or study in the Scriptures, your searching will not be complete until you have come to Him and some aspect of His redemptive work. All the promises of Scripture find their fulfillment in Jesus (2 Cor. 1.20). Jesus fulfills all the Law of God (Matt. 5.17-19). He is the centerpiece of every prophecy and all the historical narratives of Israel’s attempts to be pleasing to God.

When you read Scripture, let the prayer of those ancient Greeks be always yours as well: “Lord, I want to see Jesus!” (Jn. 12.20, 21)

Glory to glory
Jesus is to the Scriptures like the hidden image in one of those Magic Eye pictures. On the surface you can recognize some familiar images – interconnecting flying birds, for example, or threads in a tapestry, or looping bubbles and swirls. These are interesting and fun, but they aren’t the whole story. Embedded within them is three-D image which, if you concentrate long enough, and stay focused, will gradually emerge with great clarity and surprise.

Looking for Jesus in Scripture is like this. He’s there, and you won’t “get” what your passage intends unless you wait, concentrate, look, and wait some more, until the Spirit of God leads you through the surface meaning of your passage into the deeper reality of Jesus Christ Who dwells in it. Then, when you see Him there, you can draw close and embrace Him as He reveals Himself in that passage, and enter more fully into the joy and rejoicing He has for you there.

When you approach Scripture in this way, the Spirit of God will escort you into the very presence of Christ and His glory, showing you, in every section of the Word, some new insight about Jesus and how He can make all things new in your life. In the presence of the glory of Christ, you will feel the power of the Word working out the salvation of God in your soul, and transforming you into the image of Him you meet there. Then you can go forth from that encounter with Jesus, made just a bit more like Him, to refract His glory in all the places and with all the people in your life (2 Cor. 3.12-18; 1 Cor. 10.31).

Why can the Bible do this? Because it is alive and powerful and able to bring God’s salvation to your soul.

The point of Scripture is Jesus Christ and His redemption. When you read Scripture, read it to get the point, and you’ll truly begin to know the Bible as the Word which is able to save your soul.

For reflection
1.  The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus. How many different ways can you see that?

2.  The New Testament looks back to Jesus and forward to Him as well. How can you see that?

3.  How have you encountered Jesus during your time of Bible reading, meditation, or study this week?

Next steps – Transformation: How have you been able to “see Jesus” in your reading of the Word lately? Share your thoughts about this with a Christian friend, and ask your friend to share with you as well. How can you encourage one another to see Jesus more consistently in all your reading and study of the Bible?

T. M. Moore

To learn more about understanding and using the Bible, enroll in the course, Introduction to Biblical Theology. It’s free and online, and you can study at your own pace or with friends. To learn more and to register, click here. This week’s study is Part 5 of a series on The Word of God, and is available as a free download by clicking here.

Your next step every day should be to improve your work in your Personal Mission Field. Our Mission Partners Outreach can help. This six-month, stay-at-home missions effort will show you and a study partner how to identify and begin working your Personal Mission Field faithfully and effectively. It’s free and online, so watch this brief video, then find a friend to join you and get started right away.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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