Knowledge of God
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The Bible is the verbal revealing by God of Himself to His people. It is, as the theologians say, special revelation and contrasts with general revelation (God revealing Himself through creation and our apprehension of Him through reason) in that the information it provides about God and His relationship to us is specific and detailed, rather than imprecise and general.
As His revelation to mankind, the Bible takes on an importance far beyond any other writings in all of mankind's history. If we isolate the teachings of the Bible from the reality that the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us, we are left with a book that, while still worthy of study, can give us no coherent reason why we should study it or why we ought to live as it teaches us to live. The Bible is important not because it is a beautiful and good book but because it was given to us by God who is Himself beautiful and good. The reason that the Bible is worth studying is that it is the word of God and when we study the Bible we are actually studying God’s thoughts as He has shown them to us. Therefore, Bible study is not merely an interesting intellectual exercise, it is one of the best methods by which we come to know God better.
There has been an ongoing trend for Christians to rely on the Church leadership as a primary source of their interpretation of the Bible. While to a certain extent this is unavoidable there is the temptation for the lay members of the Church to rely solely on the teaching of the Church leadership and to not do any Bible study of their own. But it is this very practice that was precisely what was changed during the Reformation. The Reformers believed that all the people of God should be able to read and understand the Bible, not only the leadership of the church. This is, in fact, the very thrust of the Bible itself. While there are passages that are aimed specifically at the leaders, most of the Bible is directed to all the children of God, with the intent that they learn personally who God is, where they stand in relation to Him and what He requires of them.
Not only do we learn about God has He has revealed Himself to us, we also learn that He is the primary participant in the story that the Bible tells. We learn that God is a creator God and that this world which we inhabit is His handiwork. In reading that God created man to enjoy fellowship with Himself we learn that He is a personal God (not personal as belonging to an individual but personal as possessing individuality) and that He is not remote from His creation but is intimately involved with it. In reading of the fall of man and God's plan of redemption we not only learn that God is holy but that He is also just and forgiving, characterized by an unending love for His creation. The Bible does not describe the god of the mechanist's universe who merely "set the ball rolling" and then stayed out of its way. The Bible describes the God who created all that is and who through His personal and active involvement in that creation is working out His plan for those who will be saved. As the writer to the Hebrew believers has said:
God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, who, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.