What is the Most Culturally Relevant Book of the Bible?
June 22, 2010 8 Comments
While all of scripture is inspired by God and relevant today, there are verses and books of the Bible that are so parallel with our modern culture that they stand out in their relevance to us today. What would you say is the most culturally relevant book of the Bible? Acts is increasing in popularity as Christians wrestle with taking the Christian message into a pagan society. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people talk about outreach from Acts 17. It is such a great and applicable chapter. The book of James is also quite popular because of its simplicity. The psalms hit home and speak to different seasons of life and emotion. But if you had to pick one, which book would you say is the most relevant book overall for Christians today?
I think the single most relevant book of the Bible today is the book of Revelation. Ask me next week and I will probably give you a different answer. So if you disagree feel free to talk about which book you would put as the answer to this question. I think this is the case because, if you can get down to the basics of this book and past all the strange and crazy theories for interpreting its contents, there is an extremely relevant message for any group of Christians living in the middle of a pagan and Godless society.
I am not a fan of dispensationalism in reading the prophesies in Revelation. Dispensationalism is the theory that the events in Revelation are to be found in our current events, that much of Revelation has yet to happen and so we look to the middle east and elsewhere for end times clues. That is not the relevance I am talking about here. I think Revelation is culturally relevant because the world we live in today is not all that dissimilar to the world they lived in when John wrote Revelation to Christians living under Roman rule.
The churches being written to in Revelation lived in a time just about everything imaginable could be considered divine, including mankind. They lived in a time when Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. They lived in a time when being a Christian often meant exclusion for certain social and cultural circles. They lived in a time where the society was becoming increasingly immoral and immorality was considered praise worthy. I think we can relate to these things because our world is not that different from theirs. We may not be as extreme in some of these areas as what they were going through but we are certainly more similar to this as a society than we were fifty years ago.
If you want to learn how to live in a pagan society and be able to stand up for the truth and your faith in Jesus Christ as faithful witness, there is no book in the NT more helpful than the book of Revelation. If you need your hope renewed and your faith strengthened, turn no further than Revelation. Just sit down with it, read it through and don’t get hung up on what you don’t understand. Listen for the underlying message of hope, deliverance, mercy and justice that God wants us to hear today just as much as he did nearly 2000 years ago. You will be blessed if you do.