How does ancient wisdom apply in the modern world? Can the Bible be relevant to the challenges and choices we face today? Blow the dust off and take a look!
How could an ancient book be relevant to life in our high-tech, fast-paced, postmodern 21st century? The writers of the Bible never experienced a traffic jam, sent a text message or worried about nuclear bombs. They never saw a movie or flew in a jet plane. They probably couldn’t imagine a stock market crash, a drone strike or a divorce rate of 50 percent.
In such a world, it can be hard to see how the Bible can be relevant to our lives today. Yet the Bible has never been more relevant than in the midst of today’s events. The underlying human problems are much the same—or worse—even though the technology is far different.
The Bible, inspired by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16), has much to tell us concerning so many things, including our relationships, how we live our lives and the meaning of life itself.
Relationships and the Bible
It has been said that life is made of relationships. With increasing selfishness, rudeness, violence, unfaithfulness and divorce rates, it seems that these relationships are falling apart faster than they can be made. Yet the Bible can help us make and sustain meaningful relationships!
The Bible instructs husbands and wives about their roles and how to treat each other (Ephesians 5:22-29) so that the marriage is a balanced relationship. The passage in Ephesians concludes, “Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (verse 33). If husbands and wives today heeded these two simple, relevant commands, would the divorce rate be so high?
A survey of married Americans published by Parade magazine in 2008 showed that 31 percent of husbands and 44 percent of wives thought about leaving their mates. And 19 percent of husbands and 11 percent of wives admitted to having extramarital sex (not including those who “prefer not to answer”).
In this context, the loving commitment taught by the Bible and the prohibition of adultery are extremely relevant (Matthew 19:4-6; Exodus 20:14; Proverbs 5:15-20).
(You can find practical and helpful biblical advice in our articles about “How to Have a Happy Marriage.”)
Many problems in society have been traced back to parents who failed to heed the Bible’s instruction to care for their children and teach them the right way (Ephesians 6:4). This is sadly lacking today; and as a result, the prisons are full of young men and women whose parents didn’t teach them the right way to live. (See relevant biblical teaching about child rearing in our articles about “Practical Tips for Positive Parenting.”)
Another type of important relationship is friendship. Jesus Christ Himself had a group of special friends whom He confided in (John 15:15). Sadly, in our mobile and fast-paced world, many people feel isolated and alone. The timeless wisdom of the Bible encourages us to treat others as we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). If we step out and work at being friendly to others, we can make new friends and strengthen our existing friendships. (See more in our articles about “Friendship: Keys for Finding and Keeping Good Friends.”)
The Bible even instructs us about dealing with our enemies. Many people know that the Bible says, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24), not realizing that this expression was designed to prevent inordinate retribution in the Israelite judicial system. For the individual person, different instructions apply. God tells us to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and to let Him worry about vengeance (Romans 12:19).
How much pain and trouble could be avoided if difficult people and even enemies were treated the way the Bible says?
For more about relationships, see the articles in the “Relationships” section.
The Bible also has much to tell us about how we live our lives. If we applied what we read in the Bible, our lives would definitely change—for the better. Here are just a few examples.
God reveals a way of life that promises us much more than this physical life could ever give us any other way.Many people live very busy lives. We seem to rush from one assignment to the next without a break to catch our breath. Many times people just want a rest, but they never seem to get one. Yet the Bible reveals that we should rest one day a week—the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8-11). Obedience to the Bible can give us a guaranteed and much-needed rest every week.
In life, there’s a lot of confusion about what really makes us happy. Western society puts high value on our possessions and wealth. When facing a choice between giving and getting, most of us in today’s world choose getting. But is that what will ultimately make us happy?
The Bible reveals, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Massive amounts of money and possessions fail to make people happy, as can be discovered by a brief look at the world’s celebrities. Yet the simple joy that comes from generosity is almost indescribable.
God reveals a way of life that promises us much more than this physical life could ever give us any other way. His way of life is not without difficulties (John 15:18-20), but we are promised an awesome future (Romans 8:18; John 3:16) and His help along the way (1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 13:6).
Our whole lives are to be affected by God and His way of life—the natural result of putting Him first (Luke 10:27). This focus for our lives leads to change—for the best!
The meaning of life
The Bible gives us something that no other source has successfully been able to do in human history—it reveals the meaning of life! The ancient pantheists believed in gods who made mankind for no good reason. The theory of evolution tells us that life is meaningless and an accident. The Bible alone reveals a much greater truth.
We are not accidents. We are individual human beings in whom God has taken a personal interest (Luke 12:7; 1 Peter 5:7). God didn’t create humanity to just take up space or to bask in His presence. We were created for a purpose (Ephesians 1:11). God intends for humans to become members of His eternal family in the Kingdom of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:16-17; Ephesians 3:14-15; Matthew 25:34).The Bible is not simply a book to stand on the shelf and collect dust. It is a book that reveals how to improve our relationships, how to live our lives and the meaning of life itself. It’s every bit as relevant now as it was when it was written thousands of years ago.
This website is designed to show how the wisdom of the Bible is relevant to us today—and how we should apply it. We encourage you to study the Bible to see how it is relevant to your life—and your eternal future! Our articles “How to Study the Bible” and “Bible Study Topics” can be good starting places.