Is It Necessary to Read the Entire Bible? (Y1.T2.D1)
This is the first day in the second trimester of The Mosaic Bible Experience. If you are joining us for the first time, I’m glad you found us.
We begin this trimester by asking whether we really need to read the entire Bible. Couldn't we get the gist of God’s message by focusing on a handful of critical passages? Like in Hebrews 13, where we are given a list of instructions on spiritual living, like:
Continue to love (v. 1)
Show hospitality (v. 2)
Honor your marriage (v. 4)
Be free from the love of money (v. 5)
All great advice. Enough to keep me busy each day—until I come to v. 9, when it states: "Don't be carried away by various and strange teachings."
When I don’t read the entire Bible, I’m forced to wonder: What constitutes solid instruction? Which teachings should I avoid?
Jesus presented some strange teaching when he told his followers, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:54).
This seemingly strange teaching caused "many" disciples to stop following him (John 6:66).
They didn't stick around to hear the whole story. They knew Jesus wasn't a violent man. And if they would have trusted him, they could have been present when he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.” And they never heard him say, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19–20).
That's why we can't fully understand one verse without reading the entire story. The more we know, the less likely we are to fall for people who twist its words to their benefit.
Please, don't believe what I say when you can read it for yourself.
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you are also in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled; but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
5 Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.” 6 So that with good courage we say,
“The Lord is my helper. I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Don’t be carried away by various and strange teachings, for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
10 We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate. 13 Let’s therefore go out to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For we don’t have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. 15 Through him, then, let’s offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name. 16 But don’t forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:1–17)
48 "I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews therefore contended with one another, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus therefore said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves. 54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven—not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?”
61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 64 But there are some of you who don’t believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn’t believe, and who it was who would betray him. 65 He said, “For this cause I have said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father.”
66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?”
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
70 Jesus answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:48–71)
Your Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. It's able to pierce and divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and can discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). I want the Word of Christ to dwell in me. I want to daily embrace the wisdom, teaching, and admonition available to me (Colossians 3:16). The more I read, the more ready I am to give an answer to everyone who asks me why I put my hope in You (1 Peter 3:15).
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