by Kyra Daniels
When I was starting out in my faith journey, I aspired to read the Bible in a year. I made it through the intriguing stories in Genesis but was challenged when I reached the Law, genealogies, and battles. Though I was curious about the holy book which defined my faith, each effort to study Scripture was met with defeat. On my own, I could not tackle the hard passages of the Bible–the ones that were culturally distinct and seemingly disjointed from the gospel.
Fortunately, later in my faith journey, I gained teachers who, under the Holy Spirit's wisdom, made clear to me that the entire Bible was an unfolding revelation of the person and work of Jesus Christ. My eyes widened with curiosity when I learned this truth: the Law, genealogies, and battles all foreshadowed the coming of the eternal Son of God and Savior. Then, I started with my Bible reading plan again. This time, I perused Scripture like a detective, uncovering every clue that pointed to Jesus Christ and welling up with excitement at each connection made to God's plan of redemption. My earlier aspiration became a regular ritual of meditating on Jesus regardless of what passage I was reading.
We generally know the objective or main idea of a book's contents before we engage with it. When we check out Pulitzer Prize winners or get a recommendation from a friend, we then inquire about the thesis or summary. We read the back cover or inside page to give us insight. We often do not read material without knowing what it is about. But when it comes to reading Scripture, we may not have this approach. We may read the Bible without an understanding of how its contents fit together and why it was written.
Knowing Scripture's objective or main idea concerning Jesus Christ is helpful when reading the Bible, and it can be especially beneficial for new believers when they study hard passages. This approach is even modeled in Scripture itself. For instance, before the Israelites, who were a people young in their faith journey, received God's written Word, they understood His covenant relationship with them. Because God rescued them from slavery and gave them a homeland, the Israelites saw that God wanted to preserve a people for Himself and glorify His saving works. The biblical authors delivered the Lord's law and other divine revelations after this covenant was established. Therefore, when the Israelites read or listened to Scripture, they already knew its purpose and meaning. The people engaged with the Word and remembered God's redemption. Likewise, God's covenant with us is the backdrop for the biblical story.Through Jesus Christ, God preserved us in faith and brought us home to His presence. When we read Scripture, even the challenging parts, we can recall how God rescued us from sin and secured us in a permanent relationship.
Furthermore, Jesus taught that all Scripture was about Himself. For instance, in Luke 24, Jesus met with two disciples who were struggling to comprehend the Scriptures in relation to Christ's death and resurrection. Jesus illuminated God's Word to the disciples. Luke 24:44–45 says, "He told them, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you ‚Äã– ‚Äãthat everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures." Jesus did not leave them defeated and discouraged. But Jesus showed them the true meaning behind Old Testament passages and taught them that He accomplished what was written. As we read Scripture, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to uncover the truth of Jesus. If we seek the Lord's help, the Holy Spirit will point us to Christ and strengthen our faith in His saving work.
Below are some strategies we can use to encourage new believers to remember the truth of Jesus in all of Scripture:
- Say and Repeat the Gospel
The gospel is the basis for reading the Bible and encourages us to know more about the God of our salvation.
- God's Character, Our Sin Nature, and the Need for a Savior
After reading a passage, ask and answer questions about God's character, our fallen nature, and our need for the Lord to save us from sin.
- Discuss Jesus's Fulfillment
We can consider how Jesus's life, death, and resurrection are foreshadowed or fully revealed in the passage. We can also consider how Jesus is the ultimate prophet, priest, and king.
- Utilize Bible Study Aids
Resources like The Daily Grace Company's A Year in the Bible podcast or the Faith Foundations: A Study on the Basics of Christianity are helpful tools to see Jesus in all of Scripture.