Recently I received an email with the headline ‘The Bible beats Manchester United and Justin Bieber to top the Facebook charts’. The article was written in 2011 but it went on to say that ‘figures published by www.allfacebook.com this week revealed that more people are actively engaging with the Bible than any other page on leading social media site Facebook… With more than six million ‘fans’, it has beaten other hugely popular pages including those of sports teams like Manchester United and celebrities like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga’.
The Bible, written by forty different authors, each directed and led by God the Holy Spirit, has been variously described as ‘God’s love letter to humankind’, ‘letters from home’, ‘Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth’, ‘the portrait of Christ’ and as ‘not only a Book which I can understand, but a Book which understands me’.
Its abiding appeal down through the ages to today’s digital generation is not at all surprising. With the massive uncertainty aided by the global financial crisis, earthquakes and the like, along with unfulfilled expectations of me-centred philosophies and fickle fashions, the Bible comes into its own. It is like a mirror that helps us see ourselves and a window that helps us see the purposes, plans and love of God for us.
As God’s love letter, the Bible speaks to our deepest need. Not only does it answer the question, ‘Is there a God?’ it is His portrait. We see what He is like and how we can return to Him and find deep joy in relating to Him. In Augustine’s words, the Bible is ‘letters from home’. Whilst ever we live as if earth were our home, we will never find the pleasures God has in store for us. Earthly substitutes will give us some happiness but since we have been designed by God, we can only find real satisfaction and security from relationship with Him. Much of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction is evidence of homesickness for Heaven. Through His love letters He would draw us home and fulfil our deepest longings.
The Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth that are found in the Bible have been given by our gracious God to keep us from going astray and experiencing the pain and heartache of doing our own thing. Submitting ourselves to the Bible’s teaching and the Bible’s main player, Jesus Christ, has softened my hard heart, given hope to countless broken hearts, direction and purpose to many errant and proud hearts and peace to millions of troubled hearts.
I’ve found that by regular reading of the Bible I’ve been constantly humbled and lifted up. Humbled in that through the Bible, my sin is shown up. Whilst I can sometimes fool others and myself, I cannot fool God. So when I trust Jesus and seek with God’s help to walk in God’s ways, I’m lifted up.
Not only do I learn that I’m God’s son, but I know that His ways are best, even when they are hard. I’m not a Facebook fan but I’m so glad to learn that many Facebook fans are checking out the Bible. I hope you will, since there is no greater reality than to meet God face to face in the ‘portrait of Jesus’ which is the Bible.