It can be easy to think that a book that was finished being written nearly 2000 years ago can, in no way, hold any significance for today. Unfortunately for those who hold such beliefs, there is much evidence to the contrary.
Why old documents matter
Much of our life in the western world is directly affected by documents that have been written hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Here's a few examples:
1. The Magna Carta was written in the 13th Century here in England. It required that King John of England had to proclaim certain liberties and freedoms to people living in England, and it required him to agree that no ‘freeman’ (or serf) could just arbitrarily be punished, separate from the law of the land. That right is still in existence today.
2. Going back even further than that, the Roman Senate was first set up in the early days of the city of Rome, around 753 BC. The Senate and many of its laws and procedures survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC, the split of the Roman Empire around 400 AD and the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. Many of the laws established by the Senate are still in effect today in much of Europe and they have influenced law around the world.
3. We can go back even further. The Ten Commandments, given by God to Moses, form the basis of much of the moral and ethical laws that can be found around the world, and certainly much of the Western world.
It’s simply acting in cultural ignorance to say that all historical documents hold no bearing in the way we live today, or to say that those living today simply know better. If anything can be said about the injustice, tragedy, pain and suffering caused by humans it is that if we know better, we certainly aren’t putting that knowledge to good use.
Historical documents matter, not just because of what they tell us about history but also because of what they tell us about how we should live today.
So what about the Bible?
In my second year of university, I took an English Literature survey course. The professor, a devout atheist, started the course by saying that if people could choose only one book to study and to learn because of its historical influence, they should choose the Bible. Even as a non-Christian, the Bible mattered hugely to him. How much more should it mean to those who believe it is the Word of God?
There are some who would say they don’t need the Bible, all they need is Jesus. That’s a bit like saying I don’t need a heartbeat, all I need is air to breathe. That may be true, but you’re heart is not going to beat without oxygen flowing through your veins! Needless to say, we were designed to have both. Not one or the other.
The God of the Bible is a God of revelation. He is a God who speaks. Let's listen to what he has to say in his word.