Now I know a lot of ink has already been spilt, both digital and otherwise, on this topic. So many people have claimed to have cracked the Bible code, from William Tapley to Perry Stone, that another claim to have discovered a Biblical code is rightly viewed with some skepticism. But I have, in fact, discovered the ultimate Bible code: The grand key to unlocking all the wisdom of the Scriptures. This code will change your life.
Let me ask you: How do you read your Bible? And not just the environment; you probably like sitting in a coffee shop with several highlighters you were conveniently carrying around with you, judging by your Instagram (you know who you are). But when you read your Bible, what do you look for? If you’re anything like I used to be, you probably pray briefly, and then take up where you last left off. For instance, let us look at the story of David and Goliath. (This is a rather familiar story, so to save space I’ll just link you to chapter 17 of 1 Samuel.) After you read that, you probably ask yourself some questions, like “what does this mean for me?” In other words, you ask yourself how to apply the story to your life.
Now, one popular way to apply the story of David and Goliath to our life is one you’ve probably seen before: “Facing your giants” — which is easily a top three candidate for sermon titles dealing with this story. Application goes something like this — and feel free to stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You are David. Goliath is “insert problem here.” He might represent debt, or relationship troubles, or whatever other giant problem looms in your life. Next, we look at our lives and see how we can match up with David, perhaps asking what our five stones are or similar questions. We write all this down in our journal and go on about our day fired up to knock some giants in the head.
“But Johnny,” you say, “what does any of this have to do with a Bible code?” Plenty. This code unlocks what the story of David and Goliath is actually about. Are you ready?
Check out Luke 24, starting at vs. 13. Two disciples are walking to a town called Emmaus. This is Easter Sunday, right after the resurrection. As they’re walking, the newly raised Jesus meets up with them, but they are kept from recognizing Him. He asks them why they’re so upset and they explain: We thought Jesus was going to save the world! He responds “Oh foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (vs. 25). Then, He gives us the key to understanding this powerful Bible code: “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (vs. 27). Did you catch it? The ultimate Bible code that Jesus teaches us? Here, let’s look at another passage.
In John 5, Jesus is powerfully refuting the Jewish religious leaders of His day, the Pharisees. He’s taking them to task about who He is, and what He is doing. He points to John the Baptist’s witness of who He is, saying “I tell you these things that you may be saved” (vs. 34). This whole chapter is so rich: Jesus tells us that His words will give life to the dead, because He comes from the Father and those who hear Him hear and abide in the Father. In that context, Jesus drops this bomb: “You search the scriptures thinking that in them you have eternal life; it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (vs. 39-40). Then in verse 46 He says “for if you believed the writings of Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.”
There it is, in black and white — the Bible code that Jesus Himself gives us: The Old Testament prophets and scriptures are all about Jesus. And this is definitely a better way to read the Bible.
Instead of you being David, try it this way: Think of David as a stand in to teach us about his Greater Son, Jesus. Jesus stands on the battlefield between you and your giants — your real giants, like sin and death, the things that make you quake and tremble in your innermost being like the Israelites. Jesus stands up to your enemy Satan and downs him, cutting off his head just like God promised in Genesis 3:15. Jesus overpowers your enemies and leads you to despoil the camp of the wicked one.
This is the way that Jesus teaches us to read the whole Bible. This is the only Bible code that matters: That Jesus is the One about whom the Prophets and Scriptures bear witness. In fact, to read yourself into the Bible story is to call Jesus a liar and to say that you are more important than Him! If you do that, you’re in the same boat as the Pharisees (read all of John 5 to see what Jesus had to say to them… It isn’t pretty)! And isn’t it better, isn’t it sweeter, to know that your giants are already defeated? Rather than slavishly working away to be a better David, it is good and right that we should trust in the Greater David, Jesus Christ, who has saved us from sin, death, and the Devil — then we are truly set free from Satan’s oppression in order to do good works to the glory of God.
The Bible is more than a set of guidelines and good stories that we ought to emulate. The Bible is the story of Jesus for you: Born, living, dying, and rising for you and your salvation. That is the only meaningful way to read the Bible. That is the only Bible “code” that matters.