The art of summary takes much practice to perfect. Journalists must regularly sift through all the facts of a situation and decide what is necessary to include and what is not.
What would your answer be if someone asked you to summarise the Bible? If they just wanted the guts of it? If this was my one chance with someone I would eagerly explain that Jesus came to save us from God’s judgement for our sin – though that leaves so much detail to fill in.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC), attempts this monumental task in this way:
WSC Q3: What do the Scriptures principally teach?
WSC A3: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
No doubt every summary could be improved upon, but this is a good effort! If we are to ‘glorify God and to enjoy him forever’ (WSC A1), we must know who God is and what he wants from us!
This sparks further questions (some which will be asked in the following 104 questions!). And what is painfully clear is that though God’s requirements are spelled out in God’s word, we cannot do it. We stand condemned for sin.
But praise God! One thing we learn about God in his word (and in the catechism) is that he is full of mercy. And in mercy, he sent Christ to save us. ‘God, being rich in mercy … made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved’ (Eph 2:4-5).
How good is our God, that he not only gives knowledge of himself (John 1:18), but because he knows us so well, provides a Saviour! And more, he then gives us his Spirit, so we can now please him as we live lives of obedience.