Relevancy is important. It has to do with making sure we are spending our time, attention and energy with something worthwhile. When discussing the relevancy of the Bible, it would question whether or not the Bible has any bearing upon our lives today. Some people would say that it does not. While acknowledging its historical and religious significance, the prominent opinion seems to be that the Bible is an outdated book. It may have served a purpose before, but times have changed. Some question how a book as old as the Bible can have any serious application to our lives today.
Is the Bible relevant? Does this ancient book have any practical application to our lives today? Does it satisfy our needs as individuals and as a society, or do we need something else? I believe a consideration of the following points will help to answer these questions.
1. God Has Not Changed. “For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6; see also Hebrews 13:8). A lot of time has passed since the Bible was written, but that does not mean God has changed. How do we know this? A lot of time passed while the Bible was being written (about 1,600 years), yet God is the same Person at the end of the Bible that He is at the beginning. Time has a way of changing man, but God exists outside of time; it does not have any affect upon Him. God has not grown any wiser through the centuries. He has not become tolerant of things that used to anger Him. God is the same Person for us today that He is in the Bible.
2. God’s Word Has Not Changed. “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). God’s standards of right and wrong have always existed, and will always exist, the way they are found in the Bible. There is no need to update, change, or revise it. Some have the idea that because society now accepts things like living together, adultery, no-fault divorce, homosexuality, etc., that God now accepts them. This simply is not true. God’s thoughts and ways are not subject to our approval (Isaiah 55:8-9). It is a dangerous thing to be presumptuous about God.
3. The Needs of Society Have Not Changed. Society changes all the time, but the needs of society are still the same. People are still people, and have the same basic needs. Some may be surprised to find that the Bible both addresses and offers solutions to problems that we are dealing with today. Issues such as crime and punishment (Eccl. 8:14), the role of civil government (Romans 13:1-6), welfare abuse (2 Thess. 3:10), prejudice (Acts 10:34; Matthew 22:35-40), teen pregnancy (1 Cor. 6:18; Hebrews 13:4), drug and alcohol abuse (Gal. 5:19-21), family problems (Col. 3:18-21), divorce (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 5:32), homosexuality and same-sex marriages (Romans 1:26-27; Matthew 19:4-5) and terrorism (Matthew 7:12) are all addressed in the Bible.
4. The Needs of Mankind Have Not Changed. The Bible offers answers to the most basic and fundamental questions that mankind has struggled with through the ages. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?
The apostle Paul answered all three of these questions in a sermon recorded in Acts 17. Where did I come from? “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (v. 24). Why am I here? “So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (v. 27). Where am I going? “Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (v. 31).
In addition to philosophical needs, man also has spiritual needs. Many people have serious problems dealing with guilt, depression, doubt, despair, hopelessness, and fear. Bookshelves and magazine racks are filled with material written in hopes of identifying and solving these problems. TV and radio programs offer pop-psychology and the latest self-help fads. However, the Bible is the one book which positively identifies the real problem with mankind: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is also the only book that offers the real solution to this problem: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The Bible answers the most important question of all - “What must I do to be saved?”
The Bible is not an out-dated relic of centuries past. It is not a book of ancient history or myths. It is not a charm to ward off evil. Neither is it a file cabinet for newspaper clippings, announcements, pictures, or flowers. It is the living Word of God. It offers the answers to our most important questions, and provides the standards and guidance we need as individuals and as a society. The Bible not only shows us how to have the best life here on earth, it is the only book which can prepare us for eternal life.