You’ve heard the commercial over and over: “Milk has something for everybody.” That might be true, unless you’re one of those unfortunate individuals who has a milk allergy. But would you believe there is a book that really does have something for everybody?
Different people have different tastes. But whatever your particular “thing” happens to be, the Bible probably has something very interesting to say about it.
For instance, you might like reading poetry. Many of David’s psalms are poetic prayers – original songs set to music which has been lost. The book of Job contains some of the greatest poetry ever written. It ranks among the literary and philosophical masterpieces of all time, and it contains a vital lesson for everybody.
Are you interested in history? The Bible is a book of origins. It explains where man came from, why he was put on this earth and where he is going (see Gen. 1:26). That’s something everyone needs to know.
Most secular histories show that man’s footprints emanate from the Middle East (the Fertile Crescent). The Bible itself is a Middle Eastern book. It is written historically, geographically and ethnically from the point of view of the Middle East. The first book in the Bible specifies man’s beginnings in the area of the Tigris-Euphrates river valley, in the general region of Mesopotamia (Gen. 2:8-15).
Genesis spans more centuries of history than any other biblical book. Besides including an indeterminate period of pre-history prior to man’s creation, the first six chapters briefly summarize the beginning 1,650 years of human history in outline form. All told, this book covers 2,300 years, from Adam to Joseph. Much of the balance of the Old Testament is devoted to the history of one man’s family – the family of Abraham (from Genesis 12 to Malachi).
The four gospels are basically histories of Jesus Christ during his three-and-a-half-year ministry. The book of Acts is a brief history of the early first-century church.
For genealogy buffs, there is a table of nations in Genesis 5.This genealogy is repeated, summarized and expanded in the beginning of chapters of I Chronicles. Other chronologies and genealogies are scattered throughout the pages of the Old Testament. The genealogy of Jesus Christ (through Joseph, his legal father) is penned in the first chapter of Matthew, and the lineage through Mary is found in the third chapter of Luke. Of course, studying genealogies should not be an end in itself (Titus 3:9). But iti is an interesting hobby nonetheless.
Is philosophy your “bag”? Then the Bible has something for you too. The philosophy of Jesus Christ is summed up in the Sermon on the Mount. It sets the highest moral and philosophical standards of human conduct you can find anywhere.
Philosophy from a humanistic viewpoint is presented in the book of Ecclesiastes. Its lessons are numerous. It is chocked full of basic axioms, such as “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11). This is highly applicable to our overloaded courts and overworked system of justice today!
Or are you into religion? There’s no denying that the overall purpose of the biblical revelation has everything to do with man’s spiritual state.
Spiritual – and for that matter even physical – salvation is the main reason why 66 books were included in the Judeo-Christian Bible. The story of salvation starts in the book of Genesis, chapter one where God says “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Man, unique among all the earth’s creatures, was fashioned to have fellowship with God – for eternity, when you really comprehend it.
Few realize that a good definition for Bible prophecy would be “history written in advance” – before it happens. Some biblical predictions have already come to pass, some are being fulfilled today, and some will yet be fulfilled at some time in the future..
About a fourth of the Bible is composed of prophecy. Says J. Barton Payne: “Commentators are accustomed to stating that ‘fully one quarter of the Bible is prophecy.’ And while this estimate appears to be a generalization, it is still approximately correct. As tabulated below, out of the Old Testament’s 23,210 verses, 6, 641 contain predictive material, or 28 1/2 percent. Out of the New Testament’s 7,914 verses, 1,711 contain predictive material, or 21 1/2 percent. So for the entire Bible’s 31,124 verses, 8,352 contain predictive material; or 27 percent of the whole” (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, pp. 12-13).
You may be a no-nonsense practical man who needs tangible help in finding a job or working out a problem. For the moment you may not be interested in reading poetry, philosophy, or even religion. Well, the Bible is for you too!
The book of Proverbs has plenty of advice for the job hunter. Don’t be a quitter (Prov. 24:10). Seek balanced advice (23:4-12; 26:12-16). Be diligent in your search (27:23-24; 24:30-34). Seek wise counsel (Prov. 11:14; 19:20). Proverbs propounds a success formula, not only for the job seeker, but also for the businessman, the farmer, the scholar, the theologian or the housewife. It contains hundreds of practical, down-to-earth gems of wisdom that can be read one at a time, whenever one has the chance.
Once you get into it, the Bible is the most fascinating book extant on this earth today! It’s all a matter of getting your feet wet. The water’s not so cold after you’ve been in a few minutes. Chronologies and thee’s and thou’s may turn you off at first, but the solution is to speed read chronological tables and obtain a modern translation (like the Revised Standard Version, or perhaps the New English Bible if you like more of a free-flowing translation). But whatever the translation you choose, you owe it to yourself to jump in and find out what the Bible has for you!