If you were the one writing the Bible, how would you start?
The Bible is a book about our world and ourselves. It tells a story about everything we know and how it came to be. It tells us what the problems are in our world, and in ourselves, and how they came to be. It tells us about the ultimate solution to these problems. And while it tells us where we’ve come from, it also tells us where we’re going.
Somehow, “It was a dark and stormy night.” or “A long time ago, in a land far, far away” don’t seem to do a book like this justice!
Instead, it starts with the words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 ESV)
The Bible starts with none other than God. Which probably makes sense as he’s the main character in it. In fact, we’re told later in the Bible that he’s also its author (2 Timothy 3:16).
At the beginning of everything we know, God’s already there. While the world has a beginning, he doesn’t. He is eternal. And the eternal God is the only one in existence with the authority then to bring into existence everything in the whole universe, including ourselves.
The eternal God has the authority to bring the universe into being. Everything in the universe is therefore under his authority, including us. If he has the authority, and the power, to bring everything into existence, he has the power and the authority to destroy everything. And because he existed before all things, as God, if everything were to cease to exist, God would not in the least cease to be God. He doesn’t depend on what he has made for his “god-ness”.
Just like “once upon a time” tells us how to approach reading a fairytale, so the opening line of the Bible tells us how to approach reading the Story of Everything.
“You are so to deal with the Scriptures that you bear in mind that God himself is saying this.”Martin Luther
Each time we come to read God’s Word, we should expect it to tell us more about who God is, and who we are, as ‘creation’, in relation to him. We should read it humbly, expecting to learn, even expecting to be put in our place. If the Bible begins by placing everything in the universe firmly under God, there is no place for arrogance when we read the Bible.
Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) once said, “You are so to deal with the Scriptures that you bear in mind that God himself is saying this.” 
That’s wise advice.
Live it: Check your heart when you read the Bible. What attitude are you bringing to it? Are you expecting to hear the voice of God speak, and to teach you who you are before him?
– Clint Lombard
- John Blanchard, ed., The Complete Gathered Gold: a Treasury of Quotations for Christians, Accordance electronic ed. (New York: Evangelical Press, 2006), paragraph 845.