The Bible Is Not About You
The Bible is not about you.
I expect you to read it yes. I believe it will feed you as you read it. I believe in it you’ll find the words of eternal life.
But it’s not primarily about you. It’s about God. And it’s about us. It’s about God’s people.
So much of our lives are spent concerned with I, me, my and mine. But God invites us into a bigger story.
The Bible tells the story of God and His people. This is the same story that includes Abraham, Moses and David along the way. And as we read it we don’t only read inspiring encounters of these superheroes of the faith, we realise they and us are part one bigger narrative of God’s redemption of the whole world and His being recognised as King of all creation.
This changes how we read the Bible.
When we read the story of David and Goliath, on what basis to we take courage? We hear the remarkable story of a young man with no observable appearance of strength or military prowess who by faith in God slay the philistine giant who was striking fear into the Israelite army. Who are you in the story?
Are you David, facing some giants of you own, which you by faith in God are hoping to slay? You can be that hero, just like David, if only you have enough faith. Am I right?
Or are you one of the regular Hebrew soldiers, afraid that you like your brothers by your side are too weak, too small and too cowardly to defeat the enemy before you? The Bible is their story too.
Does the story of David and Goliath encourage you, because a young man thousands of years ago overcame the odds and you believe you can do the same? Or does it encourage you because it points to another man who only two thousand years ago overcame the odds and defeated the giants of sin and death, not by violence but by surrender, in dying on a cross and finding victory as he rose from the dead? Jesus is the true and better David.
Jesus is the true and better Adam who when he entered the garden, overcame the temptation and set his face towards the cross.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham, who went when he was sent away from his home to pursue God’s purposes.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who not only gave the law of God but fulfilled it.
Jesus is the true and better Job, who really was an innocent sufferer who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
It all points to Jesus.
But not only for your sake, but for all of God’s people.
Have you ever noticed those really long lists of names in the Bible? Other than merely boring me, they make me feel small, so many have gone before me, and so many will go behind me. The Bible doesn’t just tell the stories of Noah, Joseph, Esther and Jonah.
One of my favourite lists in the Bible is found in Nehemiah 3. It records the list of names of all who helped to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and there are a lot of names.
“The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs. The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa…”
You get the idea.
Everyone had a part to play. And as you keep reading you reach verse 14:
“The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Rekab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem.”
Malkijah, the dung gate guy.
Not a glamorous job I imagine, but a necessary one. Malkijah played his part just liked everyone else. He may not have been orchestrating the whole building project like Nehemiah or writing it all down like Ezra, but he built the dung gate.
Do you feel most satisfied when God makes much of you, or when you make much of Him?
These lists tell us the Bible is not about our heroes of the faith, they are about God’s purposes in a people. It’s not about our individual pursuit to celebrity or even our individual pursuit of God. We find who we are when we recognise we are part of the people of God. That’s why Church is so important. Paul writes in Ephesians 3 that God’s plan is “that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God would be made known.”
In 1 Peter 2 tells us who we are:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Therefore the Bible is not about you (singular), it’s about you (plural). It’s about God and his people, and we all have a part in that.