By Murray Palmatier November 3, 2018
In The Beginning...
Written by forty different people, hailing from three different continents, spanning a period of about 1600 years, the Holy Bible is a book that is most unique. Having been translated into 670 different languages and into several different versions of each dialect, you would think nearly everyone would have read it by now. Despite its status as the number one bestseller of all time, comparatively few have read it in full, and even fewer really understand it. It is, perhaps, the world’s greatest dust collector!
One of the favourite sayings of Lloyd Cary, one of the editors of our publications is “Read the Book!” For many, especially our young people, reading the Bible can be a daunting task. It is a such a thick book, compromising varying styles - including historical, prophetic, poetic, and instructional. Often written in Old English, it can be very easy to get frustrated, bogged down in language and put away. I would like to begin a series of articles, aimed at our Infuse and Ignite groups (Young Adult and Teens, respectively) to show that the Bible is one beautiful story about the destiny of Man - specially created by God to live forever as part of His family!
Let’s first start with selecting the book that you will read. As we noted earlier, there are a vast array of versions of the Bible. There are generally three types of translations - Word for Word; Thought for Thought; and Paraphrase. For the purposes of getting started, I would suggest that you pick up a more modern version (Thought for Thought or Paraphrase) that will allow you to become comfortable with the characters, language and story flow of the text. As you become more mature in your studies, transitioning over to Word for Word versions will help guide you towards a truer study of Biblical doctrine. If you do an online search of Bible Translation Comparison Charts, you’ll be able to search through the various translation choices.
Once you’ve made your selection, find a comfortable place to read and prepare to become engrossed in the story about your destiny! It begins where most stories do...in the beginning! We’re going to hit the high points here to get you started and keep you going, but to get the full picture of this great story, you’ll need to “read the book!”
The first character we are introduced to is God! As you make your way through the opening chapter, we come to see that “God” really is comprised (currently) of two beings. They had this great plan that began with making a place to live, called Earth. Earth was to be the centerpiece of a seemingly endless array of planets, stars and galaxies we know as The Universe! Once the sun, moon, stars and planets were made, God furnished Earth with animals and vegetation to make it a nice place to live. Once everything was ready, God made Man!
The “meaning of life” is a question that everyone grapples with. As you begin to read about your destiny, this is one of the very first questions that get answered. In Genesis 1:26, God tells us that the plan was to make a species of beings we know as mankind, or humanity, in the image and likeness of God! How cool is that! While all other living things are made unique according to their kind, Man was made in the image and likeness of God!
With that destiny came responsibility. As Creator, God designed life to be lived by certain rules. These rules were drawn up to help us learn how to live in the happiest, most peaceful way, so that we could reach our destiny of living fully in God’s image and likeness, forever! As part of his plan to populate this jewel called Earth, God made for Man a partner that Man called Woman. It was through this partnership that God wanted Man to learn how to live, to make their own family, and look after His creation. As we learned to do these things, we would learn what it means to be part of the family of God.
It seems that nearly every story has a villain, and the Bible story is no different. We are quickly introduced to a dark character known as Satan, the Devil. He goes by many names including the Serpent, the Adversary, the Prince of the Power of the Air, and the Father of Lies, just to name a few. The sad part of his story, as you’ll come to read later in Isaiah, is that he was initially made as one of God’s most beautiful angels, named Lucifer. Angels were a type of being made of spirit that were designed to serve God and help Man. But Lucifer wanted more and broke away from the plan of God, taking many angels with him. He then developed his own plan that centered on preventing us from attaining our destiny. He got started right away, in the Garden of Eden with the first Man and first Woman, Adam and Eve.
We’ll pick up the story here, next time.
Until then, read the book!!