Out with the old?
Often I hear the question, “What does a book written 2,000 years ago have to do with me? It's a sentiment many people express about the Bible. They just can’t understand how something that old could be relevant to their lives today.
It's a valid concern. We don't want to blindly follow a text that is old and may not have anything to do with us.
That question, however, reveals a certain chronological snobbery. Many think newer things are better, just because they are new. J-Other disciplines would never dream of holding that attitude. The discoveries of physics, mathematics or history build on one another. Imagine what life would be like if we had to discover math, astronomy, physics of history all over again in every generation. We would never make any progress because we would always be re-inventing the wheel (sometimes literally).
The ancient Romans knew this well. As a general course, in areas such as religion and philosophy the Romans viewed with suspicion anything new. Some even rejected the Christian faith because was a new religion. They trusted the time-tested truths and rejected novel ideas.
As much as we would like to think that we are more evolved, sophisticated and enlightened, we are not significantly different from humans who lived 4,000 years ago. The same moral issues that plagued them, still plague us today. Notice the list of vices in this passage:
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9–11
Do we still have problems with these issues? Of course - just turn on the evening news or browse the tabloids in your local supermarket. Would this be a better world if people refrained from those behaviors? Yes!
When it comes to the issues at the core of the human heart, the Bible is as relevant today as it was in the time of Moses or Jesus. What we need to do is find ways to apply its teachings to our lives.