This week the blog is sponsored by Thomas Nelson Bibles. This post is adapted from the introduction of the Timeless Truths Bible by Matthew Z. Capps, Sr. Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church (Apex, NC), who served as its general editor.
What is the most important thing you need to know about the Bible? In my opinion, it is crucial to understand that Scripture is God’s perfect treasure, a revelation of himself to humankind. Christianity is dependent upon the belief that God has graciously, intentionally, and lovingly chosen to reveal himself and his will to humanity. If God has revealed himself to us, our desire should be that as we study God’s Word, we do so in a way that seeks to understand every passage accurately in light of his divine self-disclosure.
That doesn’t mean it is always easy, though. There are times when the historical distance between the modern reader and ancient text makes it difficult to understand certain parts of scripture. But the good news is that when you read the Bible you are not alone. Because the Bible is one of the most printed books in human history, it also has one of the deepest wells of insightful commentary that we as modern readers can draw from.
Enrich your journey with wisdom from the past
In a modern world that too often sprints along in what C. S. Lewis called in Surprised by Joy “chronological snobbery,” that is, believing that ancient resources are obstacles to our progress, retrieving the past can help clarify our historical shortsightedness and cultural biases. In short, we cannot ignore the contributions of the past or over-exaggerate the wisdom of the present. We must approach the Bible with the humble belief that every generation in the church has unique contributions to offer. The wisest of Christians in history have always drawn from the past to understand how to live in the present.
When you study the Bible, you are welcomed into an ancient conversation, an interpretive community that stretches across time and knows no geographical boundaries. It is a community that includes people from the very earliest disciples of Jesus living in Jerusalem, the second-century converts in Roman-ruled Africa and Europe, medieval monastics, the Reformers, English Puritans, American revivalists, and many more. This rich history affords us the opportunity to cultivate theological instincts and values from trusted guides.
A Bible designed with history in mind
The Timeless Truths Bible is designed with this history in mind. It will remind you that, as you read the Word of God, you’re a part of a sacred communion made up of believers past and present. Not only is this particular Bible beautifully designed, it has also been carefully crafted with selected features to help you in your journey through the text.
Regardless of your spiritual journey, if you are new to the Bible or a seasoned saint, hearing from voices of the past will deeply enrich your understanding of God’s Word. The church in every generation has gathered around the Bible to read, study, ponder, debate, and meditate on the scriptures. Through personal study and communal discussion on the Bible, God has shaped his people, setting them apart to love him and each other, to worship, and to work toward advancing his good news to the whole world.
Dig deeper with trusted guides
My prayer is that the Timeless Truths Bible will encourage and strengthen you, and that your own study of this incomparable book will be enriched by the reflections and insights of faithful saints from across the centuries who, just like you, came to scripture to learn from the Author of life. As you read, do so with an open mind and heart. There is a sense in which we do not simply read the Bible, the Bible also reads us. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture! The Book widens and deepens with our years! It is true, it cannot really grow, for it is perfect, but it does so to our apprehension. The deeper you dig into Scripture, the more you find that it is a great abyss of truth.”