"How can I find meaning and purpose in life?" is a common question and worth considering. So what is life all about—and how does this relate to God, me, and eternity?
People on this planet didn't get here by some cosmic accident. At creation, God said "Let Us make man in Our image" (Genesis 1:26). God created men and women and placed us here on the earth.
God loved what He created and created us to truly know and enjoy Him. He loved us and wanted to live in fellowship with us. In the beginning, we lived in harmony and happiness with God and one another (Genesis 1:31).
In our early history the first humans turned away from God and went their own way—and fellowship with God was broken. Now, all people are born with a sinful nature, and without exception all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23). The consequence of this is that we are separated from God and deserve punishment for our sins.
Out of His deep love for us, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to rescue us from our dilemma by dying on the cross (John 3:16). By sacrificing His life on behalf of sinners He took the punishment we deserve in order to provide salvation. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, confirming the work of Jesus on the cross and establishing His power over death.
Jesus has sufficiently paid the debt for all of our wrongdoing, and we are called to turn from our sin, rebellion, and isolation and trust what Jesus has done on our behalf.
God makes very clear the conditions by which the salvation Jesus offers can be ours. In Mark 1:15 Jesus said, "Repent and believe in the good news!"
First, God says we must repent. The word "repent" means a change of direction. This means when we turn to God, we are turning away from sin and giving up on the attempt to make ourselves right before God.
Second, God says we must believe. The word "believe" as it is used in the Bible means trust. The object of our trust is the One who paid the price for our wrongdoing. We must trust Jesus to remove our guilt and the penalty of all the wrongs we have done. The Bible says when we put our faith in Jesus, God takes our sins away and gives us the gift of eternal life.
The Bible says that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord" will be rescued (Romans 10:13). If you've not trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior, why not stop right now, turn from your sin, and believe in Him who alone can save you and give you new and eternal life?
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The Bible is God's written revelation to man. It is the only book that gives us entirely accurate and authenticated information about God, man's need, and God's provision for that need. It provides us with guidance for life and tells us how to receive eternal life. The Bible can do these things because it is God's inspired Word, inerrant in the original manuscripts.
The Bible describes God's dealings with the ancient Jewish people and the early Christian church. It tells us about the great gift of God's Son, Jesus Christ, who fulfilled Jewish prophecies of the Messiah. It tells us about the salvation He accomplished through His death on the cross, His triumph over death in the resurrection, and His promised return to earth. It is the only book that gives us reliable information about the future, about what will happen to us when we die, and about where history is headed.
Bible translation is both a science and an art. It is a bridge that brings God's Word from the ancient world to the world today. In dependence on God to accomplish this sacred task, Holman Bible Publishers presents the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a new English translation of God's Word.
The textual base for the New Testament [NT] is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament [OT] is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition. At times, however, the translators have followed an alternative manuscript tradition, disagreeing with the editors of these texts about the original reading.
In a few places in the NT, large square brackets indicate texts that the translation team and most biblical scholars today believe were not part of the original text. However, these texts have been retained in brackets in the HCSB because of their undeniable antiquity and their value for tradition and the history of NT interpretation in the church. The HCSB uses traditional verse divisions found in most Protestant Bibles.
The goals of this translation are:
The name, Holman Christian Standard Bible, captures these goals: Holman Bible Publishers presents a new Bible translation, for Christian and English-speaking communities, which will be a standard in Bible translations for years to come.
There are several good reasons why Holman Bible Publishers invested its resources in a modern language translation of the Bible:
The Bible is the world's most important book, confronting each individual and each culture with issues that affect life, both now and forever. Since each new generation must be introduced to God's Word in its own language, there will always be a need for new translations such as the HCSB. The majority of Bible translations on the market today are revisions of translations from previous generations. The HCSB is a new translation for today's generation.
English is the first truly global language in history. It is the language of education, business, medicine, travel, research, and the Internet. More than 1.3 billion people around the world speak or read English as a primary or secondary language. The HCSB seeks to serve many of those people with a translation they can easily use and understand.
English is also the world's most rapidly changing language. The translation seeks to reflect recent changes in English by using modern punctuation, formatting, and vocabulary, while avoiding slang, regionalisms, or changes made specifically for the sake of political or social agendas. Modern linguistic and semantic advances have been incorporated into the HCSB, including modern grammar.
This has been called the "information age," a term that accurately describes the field of biblical research. Never before in history has there been as much information about the Bible as there is today—from archaeological discoveries to analysis of ancient manuscripts to years of study and statistical research on individual Bible books. Translations made as recently as 10 or 20 years ago do not reflect many of these advances in biblical research. The translators of the HCSB have taken into consideration as much of this new data as possible.
The HCSB used computer technology and telecommunications in its creation perhaps more than any Bible translation in history. Electronic mail was used daily and sometimes hourly for communication and transmission of manuscripts. An advanced Bible software program, Accordance®, was used to create and revise the translation at each step in its production. A developmental copy of the translation itself was used within Accordance to facilitate cross-checking during the translation process—something never done before with a Bible translation.
After several years of preliminary development, Holman Bible Publishers, the oldest Bible publisher in America, assembled an international, interdenominational team of 100 scholars, editors, stylists, and proofreaders, all of whom were committed to biblical inerrancy. Outside consultants and reviewers contributed valuable suggestions from their areas of expertise. An executive team of translators then edited, polished, and reviewed the final manuscripts.
1Sm 1 Samuel
2Sm 2 Samuel
1Kg 1 Kings
2Kg 2 Kings
1Ch 1 Chronicles
2Ch 2 Chronicles
Sg Song of Songs
1Co 1 Corinthians
2Co 2 Corinthians
1Th 1 Thessalonians
2Th 2 Thessalonians
1Tm 1 Timothy
2Tm 2 Timothy
1Pt 1 Peter
2Pt 2 Peter
1Jn 1 John
2Jn 2 John
3Jn 3 John
The Primary Focus
In the beginning God.—Genesis 1:1
We focus on what is without doubt the most noble and loftiest of themes: the nature and character of God. I have noticed that Christians, generally speaking, seem to be preoccupied with knowing more about themselves rather than knowing more about God. Ask any Christian bookshop manager: "What are the best-selling books?" Not those that unfold for us the nature of God, but those that direct us toward such things as how to get a better self-image, how to manage money, how to find inner healing, how to get more excitement out of life, and so on. Not that these subjects are unimportant, but they are explored in a self-absorbed way that gives the idea that the most important thing in life is knowing ourselves better. It isn't. The most important thing in life is knowing God better.
John Lancaster, a minister in Cardiff, South Wales, in an article entitled "Where on Earth Is God?" asks the question: "Given a choice between attending a seminar, say, on the 'Glory of God in Isaiah' and one on 'The Christian and Sex,' to which would you go?" He makes the point also that although the church often answers the questions that people are asking, the real problem may be that people are not asking the right questions. In today's church we are far too man-centered and not God-centered.
It is not by accident, I believe, that the Bible opens with the thunderous acclaim: "In the beginning God." I tell you with all the conviction of which I am capable: if God is not our primary focus, then everything else will soon get out of focus.
O Father, from this day help me determine to make You my primary focus. And give me the grace and strength to maintain it, through all the fluctuations and uncertainties of the days ahead. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Jn 1:1-5; Col 1:15-20; Heb 12:2; Rv 1:8
What did the Lord declare to John the revelator?
What did the apostle John declare?
God's Great Intolerance
Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath.—Psalm 2:5
Wrath is not a defect in the divine character; rather, it would be a defect if wrath were absent from Him. Those who see God's wrath as petulance or retaliation, inflicting punishment just for the sake of it or in return for some injury received, do not really understand it. Divine wrath is not vindictiveness; it is divine perfection, issuing forth from God because it is right.
Human beings tend to make God in our own image. He made us in His image, but we want to return the compliment, and it is there that so often we go wrong. Instead of reasoning from the divine down to the human, recognizing that sin has marred the divine image within us, we reason from our fallen condition and project our own feelings and ideas onto God.
Thus, when thinking of the wrath of God, we tend to look at what happens in our own hearts when we get angry, and we imagine God to be the same. But divine anger must never be confused with human anger. Most of what goes on in our hearts whenever we are angry is a mixture of unpredictable petulance, retaliation, hostility, and self-concern. God's anger is always predictable, always steadfast, and always set against sin. We must never forget that God's nature is uncompromisingly set against sin. We may tolerate it; He never.
Sin has been defined as "God's one great intolerance," and for that we ought to be eternally grateful. As His children we ought to rejoice that He will not tolerate anything that is harmful to us.
O Father, what a change comes over me when I realize that Your wrath is not so much directed at persons as at the sin that demeans and destroys them. You are not against me for my sin, but for me against my sin. I am deeply, deeply grateful. Amen.
Ps 5:1-6; 11:5; Hab 1:12-13; Zch 8:16-17
How did the psalmist express God's great intolerance?
What does the Lord hate?