What is the point of the Bible?

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what is the point
“I’ve read and read… but what’s the point?!”

My friend Joel* was confused and his frustration boiled over as we talked. A college student with a girlfriend and a new baby at home, Joel sincerely wanted to make better decisions for his young family. In his desperation he told me that he had begun to read the Bible for the first time in his life. And read he did!

Using a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year approach, he bounced between much of the Old Testament and most of the gospels in only a few months’ time. But his motivation was fading–fast!

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What problems come about from assuming too much when we share the message of the Bible?

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Horse bolting

“I gotta get going!”

Anthony* tossed the phrase into the discussion with a shrug and a backwards step. Then he bolted out of sight around the corner without so much as a wave.

He did not return.

A familiar sense of frustration crept in as I watched Anthony disappear… I recalled my teenage years when riding horses in some very rugged terrain. Once while cantering along a mountain trail, my horse suddenly froze, then bolted off course leaving me in a dazed, bruised heap on the ground. I lifted my head just in time to catch a glimpse of the steed galloping over a distant hill, its saddle empty and the stirrups flapping. I had assumed the trail was clear of obstacles, but apparently my mount thought otherwise.

A similar scenario happened with Anthony.

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Where in the Scriptures does it say that God told Cain and Abel to bring a blood sacrifice?

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Cain and Abel at the altar
Question:

Where in the Scriptures does it say that God told Cain and Abel to bring a blood sacrifice? My Bible footnotes say that the problem was with Cain’s attitude, not the sacrifice—that a bloodless offering was quite acceptable.

Brief Answer:

We know from Hebrews 11:4 that God considered Cain’s sacrifice the wrong sacrifice. The only thing we can assume strictly from the text is that the right sacrifice would have been the same as Abel’s.

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.  (Hebrews 11:4)

Notice it says “a better sacrifice,” not “a better attitude.” God spoke “well of his offering,” not “well of his attitude.” No doubt Cain’s attitude was wrong as well, but Scripture does not say so in this passage.

We know that Abel’s sacrifice had all the attributes of a burnt offering type of sacrifice, which would have been a blood sacrifice offered as a covering for sin. Bloodless sacrifices[1] are not recorded in the Bible until the time of Moses. A careful analysis of the passage yields no other solid interpretation except that God told them exactly what to do. Abel obeyed and God was pleased. Cain did his own thing and God was displeased.

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In NYC and cold toward God

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cold-in-NYC

(Editor’s note: It’s Christmas! Here’s how one grandma is planning to make the most of her trip to New York City to reconnect with her family.)

Beatrice* was excited when she called the other day to tell about her upcoming trip to visit her son and grandchildren in New York for Christmas. Her son had been raised in Canada and he had gone on to become a successful business consultant to global Fortune 500 companies. He had packed up his wife and young family and swapped their rural life for a start in New York City.

Beatrice was troubled that when they left they also left behind their Christian heritage and their connection with the local church. “They seem remote and distant when topics like God and the Bible are brought up.” she went on to say, “When I go visit for Christmas I’m wondering, would it be appropriate to give a copy of the book, By This Name, to my son as a gift? I have read it myself and I think that it might be helpful. What do you think?”

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How do I share the gospel with my elderly father?

Chinese Stranger Book and Audiobook

Question: I want to share the gospel with my elderly father. He loves to read his Chinese newspapers but I’m not confident he will read through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus if I give him a copy. What do you suggest?

Answer: We would recommend spending the time to lead him through a study. If you set aside about 11 hours, you can try this: each of you hold a copy of the Chinese edition of The Stranger and you read it out loud to him. Do a section or several sections each day for two weeks. It’s best to complete the book in the shortest possible time so as not to break the flow of the narrative.

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How can I use the Stranger VideoBook with Worldview Rethink?

Leader's Guide and VideoBook

Question:

Dear GoodSeed,

After seeing the book The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus recommended by DA Carson in his book, “The God Who is There,” I quickly began to look for it. I found your website recently and have been looking into it. I bought both the Rethink Worldview Curriculum Box and The Stranger VideoBook. I am one of several pastors at a fairly large church and am always looking for material to teach the basics of Christianity. Most of our new visitors have very little religious background (most have never opened a Bible at all) and are somewhat skeptical of Christianity. A couple of questions about material:

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“The Lamb” vs “The Stranger”. What should I teach as a follow-up to VBS?

lamb-camp

Question:
Hi! I’m really thankful for The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus and how God is allowing us at our local church to make disciples. But I have a question: we are planning to do a VBS in June, and I’d like to offer follow-up classes for kids that are interested, and I’m wondering what material would be best? The ages would be 4th-6th graders (10-12 year olds) who are unchurched, with the exception of children from our weekly kids’ club, and I think the Lamb is just too “young” for them, but I’m afraid The Stranger would be too advanced for them. What would you suggest for that upper elementary/early junior high age?

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How do I get a friend to spend 16 hours in a Bible study?

AHEAAt the AHEA convention over the weekend, there was a gentleman who was keen on the Worldview Rethink curriculum. He had a friend in mind who knew nothing about the Bible. He was interested in how Worldview Rethink takes a creation to Christ approach to lay down biblical foundations.

“This sounds like a long study,” he said. “How much time would I need to teach a friend?”

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Is brief best?

Make it clearQuestion: In sharing the Gospel with someone, I like the general idea found in your book By This Name. But what if the book is too long? Can I follow the main ideas but tell the Gospel in as short a time as possible?

Answer: We have found that most Christians want to share the Gospel in a nutshell, using five-minute presentations or gospel tracts. This is not wrong, but our material takes a different approach. Because our resources are written for those who have little or no understanding of the Bible, we must take the time to lay foundations first.

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What’s good follow-up material for “The Lamb”?

The Lamb, DVD edition and audio edition

We received a question from a father who had just read The Lamb to his eight-year-old daughter.

I just wanted to thank you for The Lamb. I have recently read it with my eight-year-old over several weeks and during our conversations she came to
 trust on Jesus as her Savior. Love the book. I had a question about any next 
step overview of the Bible-type resources you might have. Thanks.

Mike*

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