Is the Bible relevant in the 21st century? It is indeed though it is a very old book and contains a lot of history going back thousands of years. Today, many people question the authenticity of the Bible. In this post, I will very briefly demonstrate why the Bible is relevant for the 21st century and beyond.
About the Bible
The Bible consists of two main sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. These two sections consist of a total of 66 books; 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. In fact, the Bible was written by over 40 independent writers from various occupations and social classes who lived in 10 different countries writing over a 1,600-year time span. Despite the age of the Bible, its length, various writers and writing style, it by far remains the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 100 million copies sold or given away each year.
These facts show the span and diversity of the writers and its continued popularity throughout the world.
God is the author of the Bible
The Bible begins by making a very dramatic claim, stating that God is the Creator of the heavens, the earth, all life and all that exists in them.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was withoutform and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Godwas hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2, ESV)
In fact, throughout the Bible the writers agree that God is the Creator, as it is stated in Genesis 1 (e.g., Psalm 19:1; 33:6; Isaiah 41:20; Matthew 19:4; Mark. 10:6; Luke 11:51; Romans 5;12; Hebrews 4:4,10; James 3:9; 1 Peter 3:20; 1 John 3:12; Jude 14:1).
God is the Author of the Bible
In the New Testament, it clearly states that the Bible is inspired or “breathed out” by God. In other words, God is the author and the various writers wrote as they were given the words by God.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, forcorrection, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).
“And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will dowell to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawnsand the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that noprophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For noprophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as theywere carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21, ESV)
The scriptures cited above state that God is the true author of the Bible and that the Bible is profitable, or useful, for us, even in the 21st century.
Present and Future Relevancy of the Bible
One of the areas in which the Bible demonstrates its uniqueness and relevancy is in prophecy. The Bible contains a large amount of prophecy.
The Bible portrays God as the controller of future events. He knows the future because He is in control of it and He can intervene to make certain events happen as they were prophesied. In this way, Bible prophecy is history in advance!
An example of a prophecy written long ago, about 590 B.C, that is relevant for the recent past, present and future is found in Ezekiel 37. This is the prophecy of the valley of dry bones where the bones come together and are covered with tendons, flesh and skin, but the bodies that were formed remained dead. Then breath entered the bodies and they became a vast living army. Ezekiel tells us this is the revival of the nation of Israel in the land of Israel, which we know occurred officially in 1948:
“Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:11-14, ESV)
The above is just one of many examples. The prophets Isaiah and Micah prophesied of a time when a new Jerusalem would become the capital of the world and all people would go to Jerusalem to worship the LORD and there would be no more war (Isaiah 2:1-5; Micah 4:1-5). Isaiah goes on to describe wonderful changes to the landscape, no prey or predator among the animals and the healing of our human condition (Isaiah 35; 65:17-25). These conditions are also described in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation:
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:2-5, ESV)
Relevancy of the Bible: God’s Will to be Done on Earth
The Lord Jesus Christ came to fulfill all that his Father, the LORD God, had written. Jesus said he will return to this earth to establish a new order on the earth, some of which was described in the prophesies cited above. This new order is called the “Kingdom of God”. This is what Jesus came to preach and it is still future to us today (Luke 4:43).
Jesus taught his disciples to pray the following:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
This prayer demonstrates the relevancy of the Bible in the 21st century and beyond. Since prophecies that were given came to pass just as the LORD God said they would, this shows we can trust the Bible regarding today and the future. The LORD God has a wonderful plan for this earth. It may be hard to see how such changes can occur, but the LORD God created all things and He will also make the changes that He has described so that this earth gives Him the glory (Numbers 14:21).
Article by Dale. Photography by Brad Neathery (Freely Photos).