A friend of mine works in the oil fields. The other day he was telling me about how his company has a book in which they can find the answer to any and every question they might have about how to do their job. They call it the “Red Book.”
A while back, his sister gave him a Bible as a gift. The Bible also had a red cover. For weeks, he carried it around in front seat of his truck. One day his crew ran into an issue at work they couldn’t figure out. A coworker said, “Let’s check what the Red Book says.” So my buddy went to his truck and grabbed his Bible.
His coworker didn’t even notice as he handed him the Bible. When he looked down, though, he rolled his eyes. “This book has all the answers,” my friend told him.
As Christians, we like to say that, don’t we? The Bible has all the answers. But is that true?
If we are honest, we have to say no. The Bible doesn’t tell you how to fix an oil pump. The Bible doesn’t tell you what career you should choose or who you should marry. In fact, as we read the Bible we find ourselves asking even more questions.
Why did God put the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden if he knew Adam and Eve would eat from it? Why do some people never get a chance to hear the gospel? What happens to a baby who dies before he or she is born?
Silence. The Bible doesn’t tell us. If you are looking for the answers to all of life’s questions, you won’t find them in the Bible.
In the 1996 movie, The Rock, Nicolas Cage plays an FBI agent sent to fight US Marines turned terrorists who had taken over Alcatraz prison. At one point, Cage’s character asks too many questions and his boss tells him, “That’s on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know.”
God often says the same thing to us. If he doesn’t tell you something in the Bible, that’s because you don’t need to know. Where exactly was the Garden of Eden? You don’t need to know. What did Jesus look like? You don’t need to know. When will the end of the world be? You don’t need to know.
The Bible doesn’t tell us everything we want to know.
It tells us everything we need to know.
The Bible tells us how sin came into the world and how God sent his Son to save us from our sins. The Bible confronts us with the bad things we do and then shows us exactly how Jesus won forgiveness for us by suffering our punishment in our place. The Bible tells us what we need to know to believe in Jesus and serve him here on earth.
That’s what we need to know. If the Bible is silent on a matter, though, that means you don’t need to know. God wants you to trust him.
So, if you have questions about God, by all means open your Bible. Many of life’s questions are answered there. The most important questions are answered there. As for the rest of your questions, though, that’s on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know.