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What’s More Important?

July 22, 2016

What is more important – knowing a lot about the Bible, or grasping the main message of the Bible?

Hopefully that’s such a leading question that you will already have guessed the answer… Of course the main message of the Bible is more important than mere factual knowledge about it!

This is why I keep going on about the cross, the resurrection and the Kingdom of God. I am well aware that many of you have heard these things many, many times before – so have I. But however interesting it might be to hear about the history and geography of the seven churches in Revelation, or compare different ways of understanding “the function of fruit in the Old Testament” (as in The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass) – there’s nothing more important than the basic Gospel message: the promised Messiah has come, has died for our sins, has risen for our justification and has inaugurated the Kingdom of God.

And in every church, there are people who haven’t yet grasped that this means them; that the message about repentance and forgiveness applies to their sins; that they can have assurance of eternal life… So I’m afraid I’m going to keep talking about the cross, the resurrection and the Kingdom.

But at the same time, some basic background knowledge helps us understand the message better – and I’m not going to pretend Colossians was written last year in Bournemouth. History, geography and cultural background can help tremendously in understanding how a particular passage should be understood and applied today.

We’ll still disagree sometimes on how to understand certain passages. That is inevitable, given that we don’t often have all the background information. That mustn’t detract from the fact that the main message is clear. The gospel call to repentance and discipleship is always going to be at the forefront of my ministry, and hopefully we all agree that the victory of Jesus cannot be proclaimed often enough.

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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