In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. This week I want to answer the question, ‘What are the main things that the Bible teaches?’
The first thing the Bible teaches us is what we are to believe about God. It is not surprising that God’s word tells us a lot about him. After all, it is very hard to know much about anyone unless they actually start speaking to you. I could know some things about my wife from looking at her. And then I could know even more if I watched what she does. But unless she opens her mouth and talks, it is very difficult for me to get to know her very well.
It is the same with God. We might be able to conclude some things about his attributes from looking at what he has created, for example that he is at least a good and wise God. But unless God communicates with us verbally, we won’t know much about him at all. And thankfully God does speak about himself in his word, the Bible. For example God tells us that he is a God of justice: ‘The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies’ (Nahum 1:2). But also a God of mercy and love ‘Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 7:9).
The second thing the Bible teaches us is what God requires of us. This is important because in the verse from Nahum we saw that God is just and that is scary. Scary because we recognise that we are sinners and deserve to be punished. But then the verse from Deuteronomy gives us hope – if God is merciful, then maybe he will show us mercy. So what does the Bible reveal that we should do? What does God require of us if we are to experience his mercy? God says: ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29). Who is the one God has sent that we’re meant to believe in? Jesus. If we believe in Jesus Christ as the one God sent to die for our sins, then we experience God’s mercy and enter into eternal life despite our sinfulness. This is what God requires of us.
So do you read your Bible because it tells you who God is and what God requires of you?