Up until recently great problems plagued NASA in their attempt to reach Mars. In 1997 the Mars Pathfinder riveted the world with a live feed from the Martian surface. People were fascinated by these live pictures. NASA planned to send at least one mission to Mars every twenty-six months, but to do this they had to follow a new policy introduced by their head director Dan Goldin; “Faster, Better, Cheaper.”
To design these missions for about one-tenth of the cost, they cut staff and poorly trained the rest. They overworked their navigation teams giving them responsibility for up to three missions at one time. They tried to get a quality product without putting in money, effort or time. The next two missions were utter failures. In September 1999 the Mars Climate Orbiter failed simply because the builder had used English units of measurements in the systems, while the operators at NASA used metric! Again, the Mars Polar Lander crashed onto the surface simply because the engineering team had been unable to afford a piece of software that would have prevented the braking system cutting off too soon. It took ten years for another successful landing.
NASA has learned the hard way, that there are some things that simply can’t be cut back on. Some key things really do matter. The same is true in the Christian life! Christians are busy people just like everyone else. They have jobs, they have families, they have commitments and responsibilities. No matter how busy they are however they need to remember like NASA that there are some things they must not neglect, or they will crash and burn. One of these key things is Bible reading. If God went to all the trouble of providing us with the record of the Bible – then obviously it must be for some very important purpose. Plain commonsense tells us this. If it wasn’t necessary God wouldn’t have provided it. With that fact established, Christians who neglect their Bible reading are failing to read something which God clearly wants them to read and learn from.
So what exactly is the Bible? In short it is God’s message to the world, to nations and to the individual. It is far more than merely “the hand book for the human race”, because it is also prophetic in nature, i.e. it predicts the destiny of the human race, the reason we were created and the love God has for us. It gives clear instructions on matters of morality and conduct and shows us the kind of behaviour God requires from us. No less than one third of the Bible is composed of prophesies and predictions concerning future events. In general terms, the Old Testament predicted that Jesus would come, while the New Testament tells us He did come, and predicts His Second Coming to prevent the human race destroying itself. Of the other two thirds, one third is composed of history and the other composed of narrative.
Strictly speaking the Bible is not one book, but a volume of sixty-six books bound together in one cover. It was written over a period of 1,600 years by more than forty different people. Over 2,700 times these individuals state that what they are writing was inspired to them; in other words they repeatedly state that what they are writing down are not their own thoughts or ideas, but information inspired to them by God. Obviously, prophecy or the prediction of future events couldn’t have been achieved any other way. It is impossible for humans to predict what is going to happen tomorrow let alone what is going to happen in ten years time. But the Bible gives predictions of event centuries and even thousands of years in advance, a clear sign that the writers really were being inspired by the God of time and eternity. Many of these predictions are quite fascinating such as the prophecy concerning the development of weapons of mass destruction threatening all life, found in Matthew Ch 24 Vs 21-22. This prediction was written no less than 2,000 years ago.
God gave us this Book for a reason; we need to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest its contents. If we are living a hectic and frantic life some pursuits may have to be neglected, but Bible reading is an essential and remains so. We must never ignore or neglect what God has so clearly given us to read and study.