I was on a road trip with my family. We had bought this old church van and converted it into a camper. When I say old, I mean it's nearly my age. The camper van ran well for about 2,500 miles. When we were as far away from civilization as we had been on the entire trip, the van began to fail us. It started idling rough, and before long it wouldn't run at all.
Being totally unpracticed in the magic of mechanics use, I began to dismantle the engine. This was ill-advised, but I didn't know what else to do. After ripping the top portion of the engine apart I reassembled it, having not found anything broken. Once reassembled, it ran adequately to get us out of Flaming Gorge, Wyoming. After driving a day's worth of dirt roads, we finally found a town.
The first thing I did when I got cell service was to hit youtube to try to figure out what the problem was. I determined that it was most likely a jammed throttle body. The next thing I had to do was find a mechanical user-manual to figure out what and where the throttle body was. Google provided. After downloading, I scanned the manual.
As I looked for the chapters on the throttle body, I skipped over a lot of sections. The section about seatbelts, dome lights, and the spare tire didn’t interest me. I wanted to know where to look in the manual to find the answer to a specific question. I understood that I didn’t need to read the whole manual at that moment. I had a limited amount of time, and I needed to know where in the book I should look to find the answer. The concept relates to the subject of this chapter.
Some might ask, “Can’t I just open up to any random page of Scripture and understand what God wants me to do in order to be saved?” In short, no. Just like skipping sections in my van’s mechanic’s manual, there are sections of the Bible that will not be helpful in our pursuit of the living water. That’s not how the Bible works. Here’s why.
The main purpose statement of the Bible is not to get people saved. You might want to read that last line again. Or, better yet I could just repeat it. The main purpose of the Bible is not to get people saved. This comes as a surprise to many. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the Bible is NOT evangelistic. We know this because of what Paul once said to one of his star pupils, Timothy:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
This could be called the purpose statement for the entire Bible. Notice that the focus of the entirety of Scripture is not getting unbelievers saved, but instead it’s focused on turning saved people into more mature saved people. So if you’re a saved person and you want to grow, you can open up to any page of the Bible and gain something of value. Every verse of every chapter has the potential to bring a person who has already believed to greater maturity. However, not all Scripture is equally useful for every aspect of maturation. Although you can gain something from the random approach, there is a much better way to use the Bible.
Let me give you some practical examples. If someone needs wisdom, they often turn to Proverbs. If one wishes to gain an awe-inspiring perspective of God, they might turn to Psalms or Job. If someone needs the motivation to live a godly life, they ought to consider the eternal rewards passages in Matthew and some of Paul's letters. The entirety of Scripture is useful for helping saved people grow spiritually. Specific portions of scripture are useful for helping believers grow in particular ways.
You may be thinking, "If the whole Bible is not designed to get people saved, then how could people ever get saved?” Actually, you misquoted me there. Or, I mean, I misquoted myself, to make a point. I didn't say that the whole Bible is not designed to get people saved. I said that the whole Bible is good for helping saved people grow. That purpose statement describes the whole Bible. However, there is a section of the Bible that has an additional purpose statement that overlaps. The whole Bible isn’t written to get people saved, but there is a specific section of the Bible that is designed to do just that.