The Bible is a big, complicated series of books which cover a myriad of stories and themes all dealing with God’s interaction with people and how he wants us to live.
But the length and variety of content in the Bible can make it very hard for the ordinary person to make heads or tails of what the whole thing is all about.
Wouldn’t it be good if we could have all of that information distilled down to one book of about 50 pages?
Or what about one chapter of about 1 page?
Better yet, what about an explanation of the whole Bible in a single verse?
Well, for me that single verse would come from an unlikely place:
2 Samuel 14:14
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.
These words are uttered by a wise woman to king David in an attempt to bring reconciliation between himself and his son Absalom, who had killed his brother Amnon because Amnon had raped their sister Tamar (there’s a mixed up story in itself…).
Back to the verse, though.
It breaks down into three sections:
1) We must all die.
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.
No mucking around here, just the plain, hard-nosed fact. We must all die; it’s the only certainty in life. There is no way out for any of us; there is no way we can cheat death. But wait…
2) God doesn’t want us to die.
But that is not what God desires;
Good news. God wants us to live. He isn’t uncaring and distant. God knows we must die, but he doesn’t want us to come a sticky end. He wants better for us. He is on our side! He has always been on our side!
3) God has fixed the problem.
rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.
Not only does God not want us to die, he has actually done something about it. This section encompasses the history of Israel and the birth, death and resurrection of Christ.
Abraham, Moses, the people of Israel – all were chosen to reveal God to the world. They are a part of the way he devised so that people didn’t have to remain banished from him.
They prepared the way for Christ, who finished the job by dying in our place to pay for our sins and to remove the separation between God and people.
God has devised ways, outlined throughout the Bible, which have taken away our state of banishment from God.
Jesus said…, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:24-26
Whoever believes in the name of Jesus Christ for salvation is forgiven and has his sins removed. His banishment is removed. He is restored to close relationship with God and can enter into his presence with confidence and without fear. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
I dunno about you, but for me it can’t get any simpler.
The whole Bible explained in a single verse.
And, if you take time to think about it, you can gain a whole lot more insight into God’s character, his motivation and his relationship with us from this simple passage.
So, what can we take away from this?
My response in a word: Yay!