The Purpose of the Bible

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In this postmodern world, there are many different “purposes” that are given for the Bible.  Many people will tell you that the purpose of the Bible is to give you a set of dos and don’ts for daily life.  Others will say the purpose of the Bible is to be a historical account (except for the miracles anyway, those are myths.  This is what the classical liberals would have you believe.).  I would agree that there are a multiplicity of purposes, but these purposes in reality share one overarching purpose.  A common name for the Bible is an indicator of this purpose: revelation.

As I was reading in the E100 reading plan on, this purpose stood out to me in the book of Exodus, in the account of the exodus.  It is repeated over and over that the reason God acted in this story was so that people would “know that He is the Lord.” (Exodus 7:5, 7:17, 10:2, etc.)  In Exodus 9:16, God tells Moses to say to Pharaoh, “But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”

In theology, there are two types of revelation: general and special.  General revelation is the mark that God has placed in each person, the signature of the divine, if you will.  This form of revelation manifests itself in the moral compass that is within each person (Romans 2:14-15) and the complexity and magnificence of nature (Psalm 19:1-4).

Special revelation is God’s special action within humanity.  The avenues of special revelation are Christ himself (John 1, Hebrews 1:1-3) and God’s Word (John 1).  This revelation is God making himself known through the Scriptures.  Everything that has been written in the Scriptures serves to reveal God and his purposes.

This idea is far from being new.  As many times as I have read the account of Moses and the exodus, I apparently glossed over this repeated phrase—that they may know that I am the Lord.  This is why God has acted in history and why he continues to act today.  It is this revelation that draws people to him through Christ’s work on the cross and the Spirit’s work in our hearts today.  Read the Word.  Memorize the Word.  Be ready to share the Word at a moments notice and help make the name of the Lord known!

  • Glenn Travis

    Great insight Danny.

    The more I read the Bible, the more I reflect and study what it says. It has always astounded me what God chose to say in the Bible. Of all that has happened since the beginning of creation, these are the things he chose to reveal to us. Every word is sacred and every message, truth and story immeasurably important.

    PS> you are a very good writer.