What is the bible? First I'll tell you some things that it isn't; It's not a rule book for getting into Heaven; It's not full of freaky predictions about the future; It's not written by God; and It's not hard to read.
Why isn't is a rule-book for getting to heaven?
It doesn't tell us to focus on the time that we die. It's a guide to living life so that you can be close to God and understand who he is in the now. Those "rules" are simply guidelines to live the best life possible. To fill each day with happiness and purpose.
Why isn't it full of freaky predictions about the future?
I'm going to get real with you, and this is the actual freaky part that you might think I'm crazy for saying. God's got an enemy that wants to hurt him by hurting his friends. Those friends are you and me and this enemy doesn't want us being close to God and living our best life. Anything that you've heard of a future of bad things happening has actually been twisted to scare you, and actually there are other explanations for what those "predictions" actually are.
Why isn't it written by God?
Firstly, how could that be physically possible? True he could have told someone what to write but I have another point I want to make. Being an author of books is something certain people do all the time, and they don't need God to tell them what to write to make it good or true. A lot of people through out history thought certain things were worth writing down and God's only part in that was making sure that when other people read it, with his help, they can understand it.
Why isn't it hard to read?
Those original author's, around 40 different people from different time periods and languages, have been lucky enough for their works to keep getting printed today because of two things:
First it's been translated for us, thank you to the linguists who translated it, and to the people who's job it is to check those translations - you guy's are awesome.
And second, as I mentioned before, God helps us to understand the literal speaking to the metaphors, the parables, and the emotional poetry. That is, if we ask for his help.
So what is the Bible then?
If It's not these things then what is really going on in those pages?
It's a story. And the short version, in a nutshell, is something like this, #Spoilers...
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There was a man called Israel who had 12 sons and they went to live in Egypt.
As their family grew through the generations the pharaoh thought they might end up taking over, so he had them enslaved and forced them to work for the Egyptians.
They were made to work inhumanly long days of hard labor, and other wise treated like animals; used as sport.
God loved these people, these slaves, and he wanted to be with them.
After 400 years they finally escaped.
God gave them a place to settle down and they named the land after their ancestor Israel.
The Israelites didn’t know how they should live; they only knew how to be slaves, and they were so used to the horrible things the Egyptians made them do.
As they established their own nation God told them how to set themselves apart as great people.
He gave them the law that would help them to be close to God and live their best lives; looking after each other and growing a strong army, and with places for learning.
And the Israelites did become strong and took over even more land while they kept God in their heart.
But eventually they got sucked into how neighbouring cultures lived and they though it'd be cool to do the same. They stopped being close to God, and this was disappointing for God.
He made prophets be born among them who would remind the people of their laws and how to be close to God, living their best life.
The first prophet was Isaiah who said ‘God doesn’t want you to worship and obsess over other people's gods and idols’
The people listened to Isaiah and reconnected with God, but when you're human it's hard not to give in to what seems exciting and tempting.
Another prophet was Jeremiah who warned the people to look after each other or they would be blindsided and taken back to Egypt to be slaves again.
They listened to Jeremiah for a little while but God had to send yet another prophet.
Ezekiel tried to inspire the people to live in a way that made God happy, but this time the people didn’t listen and they were attacked and captured, made to be slaves in Babylon.
When the Israelites were in Babylon, the prophet Daniel grew up to help the people get back to their own land.
God spoke to the people with what he told the prophets and there were twelve more who helped them to understand how to be close to God.
God knew he was going to send someone else to truly fix their hearts and help them to truly understand who God was, and that he loved them.
The prophets told the people that this man would be the Messiah. He would be their king and he would help them to know God’s love.
Then God went quiet for another 400 years.
Some took the responsibility to keep teaching the law for living to be a great people to the next generations but it ended up very confused and it almost lost it's meaning.
While the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah to be born another nation came and took over Israel. That was Rome and they were forced to pay steep tax to the emperor.
Finally God sent that special king that everyone was excited to meet. The Messiah was God’s son, Jesus.
Jesus grew up among the people to be a rabbi, a teacher of God’s law.
When he was 12 the Israelites could already tell that he was special because he knew God very well, and when Jesus was 30 he finished studying and started telling the people how to be close to God.
Jesus knew Israel’s long and tragic history and he was had a plan to fix things. The others were expecting that he was going to set Israel free of the Roman rule, but he knew it was more important to help them on a personal level.
Many people listened to Jesus and his true interpretation of the law and their lives were changed forever. The people came to understand that they had confused God’s laws into being oppressive rules.
They liked hearing Jesus’ teaching so much that they followed him as he traveled through the country to hear more, but other teachers of God’s Law didn’t want the Israelites to listen to Jesus.
They said Jesus was telling the law all wrong. They had the law so mixed up that they didn’t know God’s love. They hated Jesus for saying other people who were not Israelites could be included to know God’s love and they especially hated Jesus for saying that God was his father.
They didn’t believe that Jesus could be the Messiah and they started to hate him and tried to get rid of him. They arrested Jesus, hung him on a cross and laughed. They said to the people this man is not really your King. Look, we can just kill him and God isn't going to stop us.
But God's plan was still at work. Jesus already knew he had to die as part of the plan. Jesus was so special that he was able to help the people to be close to God forever on a spiritual level.
When Jesus was on that cross he took all of the shit, all our stupid decisions, all the wrong things we've ever thought or said, all the things that locks God out of our life...and he took it with him when he died.
He went to a place where he could leave all that stuff and burry it like it never even happened. Jesus is the one that has all that on his sentence, and he wanted to do it so the people could be close to God.
Then Jesus came back to the people and told them what he had done. He showed them what had been done for them; that God loves you and now nothing can stop you from being close to him ever again.
The people thanked Jesus for his sacrifice and they went to tell all the people of the world.
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So aside from a bit more appendix to start with, obviously a lot more filler content, and an epilogue, this is the important bit that you should understand. This is why people today are christians, cause they know they're one of those broken, confused, human people that can't do anything to save their own souls. But thankfully, despite our brokenness, despite our stupid decisions, and despite our total and utter humanness, Jesus has paid it all off in full. Just cause he loves you, not for anything else, not because of anymore of the law. God simply wants you to accept this gift and ask him to help you live your best life.
That is the bible in a nutshell.
So I'd love to keep talking about this, and if you have any questions lets chat in the comments.