A month or so back a letter to the editor appeared in the Juneau Empire attacking the credibility of the Bible by emphasizing Old Testament teaching. The implication was the scripture didn't make sense in today's world, therefore the Bible's relevance is suspect.
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Just recently the Empire, in its April 11 editorial, did the same.
When we read the Bible as a whole, not isolating its different parts as done in the above examples, we find that God has varied His approach. I would suggest man has changed, not God.
Some of the approaches include the Garden of Eden, the patriarchs, the law, the prophets, the judges, the kings, the coming of His son Jesus and lastly the present church age. Uniquely we have gone full circle: God interacted with us in the Garden of Eden and now through the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer. The first six approaches fall in the Old Testament, and the last two in the New Testament. Three elements are common in all: God's desire to love and communicate with you and me; secondly, His rewarding or penalizing certain behavior; and thirdly, a testament to the truth of Jesus Christ.
The major difference between the two testaments is that in the Old Testament the law is the standard on which people are judged, while Jesus is the source of right standing in the New Testament. The New Testament states the Old Testament is to be considered a source of instruction, not as a standard of behavior. This is where the two above mentioned critics err, for the New Testament is now our covenant with God and not the Old Testament scriptures they point out.
It's almost unthinkable to imagine human history and the world today without the moral influence of the Bible. Its far-reaching effects are found in every aspect of our lives, from our dating system to government. All of its critics, in their attempt to silence its message, have come and gone, but the Bible remains.
The Bible is both timeless and timely. It was written over a period encompassing the lives of Moses to roughly 100 years after Jesus Christ, and yet gives us insight on current events. For example, the war on terrorism is due to some extent to our support of Israel.
The conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors dates back to the biblical account of two half brothers, Isaac and Ishmael. Our national greatness as a world leader and our nation's prosperity can be traced to a proclamation in the Bible related to the support of Isaac's descendants. If Islamic extremists turn from their attempts to destroy Israel to supporting their younger half brother, they too could experience the prosperity of God. It could also possibly change the present direction of human history.
The accuracy of the Bible's prophetic dimension is obvious. Within my lifetime, the nation of Israel, as foretold, was re-established after a lapse of some 2,000 years. An interesting conjecture is the generation alive at its founding in 1948 will not pass away until the Tribulation begins. If your life isn't right with God, I sincerely ask you to give it serious consideration.
The Bible is truly an amazing and honorable piece of literature. It stands on its own merits, confirming that it is the inspired word of God.
Marlin Bricker is a Juneau resident and retired state employee.
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