How do we determine what is necessary and what is not necessary for us as Christians in the Bible? Has not God already determined that every word of His is profitable for man to make him whole (cf. 2Tim 3.16)? How then can we ever claim that some portions of His Word are not for us?
I ask these questions, because there seems to be an attitude prevalent with some within the Evangelical church today that all we really need is the New Testament. That we should be concerned about evangelizing others, getting them saved, and then move on to the next individual or group to repeat the process. As Christians we are called to witness, no question about it, we have been reborn (see John 3.3, 5) in order to share the gift that Christ has given us with others (see John 20.21), but is that the total purpose of a disciple of Christ? What is our primary objective in this life as Christians? What in the world has God placed us on this earth for? Save as many as we can and long for an escape hatch? Hoping and praying that God will beam us up like an episode of Star Trek?
I am sure most have heard the following acronym when speaking of the Holy Bible: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. What’s the problem with that acronym? For many nothing. For many this sums up the Christian objective, but is there anything missing? Is the Bible given as mere instruction to prepare us for transport off this earth?
As the answer to question one in the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Man’s chief end (pursuit) is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Where does the glorifying begin? Does it only happen when we reach heaven? What about enjoying God, does that only start when we begin breathing our last breath? Of course not. Every day of our lives is meant to fulfill this requirement. Our primary purpose as Christians is to worship our Creator. To live our lives in such a fashion that He alone gets the praise and the thanks for all the wonderful gifts He has given us. Yes, this is true even in a fallen world ravaged by sin, where we enjoy both good and bad days.
We enjoy God because He has placed us here to do His work (cf. Gen 2.5, 10). To imitate Him in word and deed. To reflect His glory throughout all creation. This is accomplished when we live our lives for Him. Regardless of what occupation we may have. According to the Christian worldview all occupations enable human beings to honor and glorify God (e.g. janitors, stay-at-home moms, truck driver, etc.). The “how we are to live” is answered by all portions of Scripture. My point being is that there is not one portion of the Bible which is more important than another. Yes, this is true of even the dreaded genealogies of the Old Testament which may put any astute reader of God’s Word to sleep.
There is an underlying arrogance on our part when we seek to compartmentalize various portions of Scripture into the following categories: essential and non-essential. There is no point where our Creator says to us, the creature, “Now for you, you may decide what is necessary for knowing and what is not. What is needful for doing and what is not.” Therefore, guard your hearts against such foolish thinking. Prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance on a better understanding of why what we find in the Bible is recorded in the Bible. Finally, understand that Christians have important work to do now, and while we are told to keep our mind on heavenly things, be prepared to see that what this really means is that God expects you to live your life as a pattern after Him and not the way of a fallen world.
His standard then is our standard, but knowing this standard will never be possible if we do not come to the totality of the Holy Bible with absolute respect for all of it.