What is the Bible? – why the Bible matters

What is the Bible? Was it written by human beings, or by God? Can we trust it? And what difference does that make to us? In this session we look at why the Bible is so important to understand.

Links mentioned in the video

Three books for beginners to help beginners understand the Bible.

Interview with Andy Brown about Bible reading.

If you’d like to find out more about the Bible, you can try a course here on the website or subscribe to the Understand the Bible YouTube channel.

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Can you find Christmas lights bright enough for 2021?

The Understand the Bible Christmas message for 2021!

Taking a break

I’ll be taking a break from Understand the Bible over the Christmas period, and will return in the New Year. I am planning to start a new series on the Ten Commandments, to follow on from the Apostle’s Creed which finished last month.

I feel that this year has been a good year for Understand the Bible, thank you to everyone who has helped by watching, subscribing, commenting, sending encouraging messages, and so on. I pray that 2022 will be a good year and that the Word of God may continue to spread and flourish (Acts 12:24).

Looking for more?

Last year’s Christmas message is still available to watch, Whose fault is 2020?

All Christmas content on Understand the Bible is under the Christmas category. This includes the recent series on being ready for the return of Christ (which is also available on a YouTube playlist).

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#4 – Enduring Suffering and Persecution (2 Thess 1) | The Return of Christ

In the final part of the ‘Return of Christ’ series we look at 2 Thessalonians 1, which shows us how to endure suffering and persecution while we await Christ’s return.

Last week’s session was A life fit for the new creation (2 Peter 3).

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How to be ready for Jesus’ return – Luke 12:35-48

How can we be ready for Jesus’ return? In this video we study what Jesus taught his disciples about his return. When should we expect it? And how do we get ready for it?

Check out the page with resources I mention here.

Last week’s session was Life in the Messy Middle.

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How to cope with change | Bible Wisdom

A short video from a Biblical perspective about how to cope with change. It’s the start of a new academic year, and there have been so many other changes lately – how do we cope? In this video we think about how we can take comfort from God in these times.

Bible verses I talk about:

  • James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
  • Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.”
  • Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
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Does God give us what we want?

Verses such as Psalm 37:4 say that God fulfils our desires. But what does that mean? Why is it that so much of the time it seems like we don’t have everything that we want?

Key Points

  • Psalm 37:4 suggests that God does fulfil our desires: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – so why does that seem so alien to our experience?
  • There are two wrong ways of looking at desire:
    1. Our desires are all sinful and wrong (asceticism). This is the belief that godliness is denying ourselves of everything, people such as Simeon Stylites. However, this is wrong because of e.g. 1 Timothy 4:3-5 – God made good things in the world to be received with thanks. Our desires are not all wrong.
    2. Our desires are everything (hedonism). This is the belief that we should seek for all our desires to be fulfilled all the time – think about the song I Want it All by Queen. BUT – this is wrong because we are not to do what we want (Galatians 5:17), plus when we get our desires we often them empty (see the book of Ecclesiastes, such as Eccl. 2:10-11).
  • Does this mean we are stuck with one of these two options, or somewhere in between?
  • There is a third way! “God + Desire = fulfilment”.
  • The first part of Psalm 37:4 is “Take delight in the Lord”. When we desire God first and foremost, then we can really start enjoying everything else.
    • We enjoy good things as a gift from God (James 1:17)
    • We ask our heavenly Father for the things we want (James 4:1-3)
    • We mustn’t be resentful for when God doesn’t give us things! God is not a cosmic killjoy.
    • God often wants us to have a deeper fulfilment than we could desire for ourselves.
  • Ultimately, our desires are fulfilled in Jesus – as God forgives us for our sin (including sinful desires), and makes us new by giving us new desires.

Explore Further

The series on Ecclesiastes is on the YouTube playlist.

Your questions answered

This is part of the Your questions answered feature. See that page for more videos in the series.

If you have a question about Christianity or the Bible, please send them in or comment below.

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