If you’ve never read the Bible before, you may be wondering where’s a good place to start? Often I suggest Gospel of John, as it has some of the most simple and straightforward passages in all of the New Testament.
When writing his Gospel, the Apostle John points to the purpose of the book in John 20:31. His aim is to present Jesus Christ as “the Son of God,” and he is doing so that those who would believe “may have life in His Name.” That is why you need to consider beginning your own Bible reading journey here. Turning to the Gospel of John will help you to focus on the identity of Christ.
It’s as if the author is in the courtroom—with the heart of man weighing in the balance. John knows that he must convince the skeptical reader of this divine claim with his words (and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit). He’s determined to do so, and decides to use strong and solid witnesses that can attest to the fact that Christ is indeed the Son of God.
As John calls upon many throughout his Gospel to share their eyewitness testimonies a trend can be seen. Specifically, there are four key witnesses called to the stand: John the Baptist, the works of Christ, God the Father, and the Scriptures. My message this past Sunday included these four witnesses, which are summarized by Christ in John 5:31-40:
If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
These accounts, on their own merit, corroborate the transcript from the highest court in all of human history that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The Gospel of John is a record of a court hearing that every man should read and consider for himself as to its truthfulness.
In preparation for this message, and in particular—the fourth witness—the witness of the Scriptures, I found John Calvin’s commentary1 on the phrase “You search the Scriptures” extremely beneficial:
[W]e are taught by this passage, that if we wish to obtain the knowledge of Christ, we must seek it from the Scriptures; for they who imagine whatever they choose concerning Christ will ultimately have nothing instead of him but a shadowy phantom.
First, then, we ought to believe that Christ cannot be properly known in any other way than from the Scriptures; and if it be so, it follows that we ought to read the Scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them. Whoever shall turn aside from this object, though he may weary himself throughout his whole life in learning, will never attain the knowledge of the truth; for what wisdom can we have without the wisdom of God?
Next, as we are commanded to seek Christ in the Scriptures, so he declares in this passage that our labors shall not be fruitless; for the Father testifies in them concerning his Son in such a manner that He will manifest him to us beyond all doubt. But what hinders the greater part of men from profiting is, that they give to the subject nothing more than a superficial and cursory glance. Yet it requires the utmost attention, and, therefore, Christ enjoins us to search diligently for this hidden treasure.
Consequently, the deep abhorrence of Christ which is entertained by the Jews, who have the Law constantly in their hands, must be imputed to their indolence. For the lustre of the glory of God shines brightly in Moses, but they choose to have a vail to obscure that lustre.
By the Scriptures, it is well known, is here meant the Old Testament; for it was not in the Gospel that Christ first began to be manifested, but, having received testimony from the Law and the Prophets, he was openly exhibited in the Gospel.
John often quoted from the Pentateuch and recognized the value placed upon it by his readers. This is perhaps one of the main reasons he includes it in his introduction (1:17) to emphasize the transition from the Old to the New through the Son of God, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
It is every man, woman, and child’s responsibility to diligently search the Scriptures, as they give testimony to the Son of God. There can be no doubt or any question as to how powerfully and persuasively it declares that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The evidence was laid out before John’s original audience, and has since been recorded for generations to examine.
So, will you “search the Scriptures”? Please let me know (on here or even privately) if you plan to do so and I will be sure to pray for you.