Why are Christians “People of the Book”?

I remember the first time I heard a Muslim call Christians, “People of the Book.” I thought it strange because I knew Islam had the Qur’an, which is their book. It was only when I read the books of other world religions that I really appreciated the Bible. The Bible is the Book for Christians, and we are people of the Book. What is actually in the Bible to allure Christian affection for the Book?

First, Genesis gives Christians a beginning to the story of life, as we know it, and Revelation gives us the end and new beginning. Everyone has a worldview, but not everyone sees the world the same way. The Bible tells a Christian what the beginning looked like, and it tells us what will be at the end of the story. In other words, the Book is a story with a beginning and an end. The Bible is a complete story.

Second, we all live in an environment. Scientists and others wish to discover the secrets of the universe. Christians know who created the environment because it is revealed in the Book (Gen 1–2; Col 1:16). We are not opposed to discoveries, but we protest when scientists purposefully fabricate discoveries, in order to discredit our Creator.

Honest observers would claim there are things amiss in the environment (like deviant scientists!). Christians know why this is so. Death is the most obvious example (Gen 2:17; Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 15:22). Christians understand the origin of death, which explains why so much else is awry (Gen 2:17). Death comes to everything, but murders and accidents can speed the process. Murder was one of the first actions at the beginning of the Book (Gen 4). Christians know why people kill other people (Rom 3:23). Christians also know the environment will all burn at the end of the story (2 Pet 3:10–12); but the Book also tells us of a new heavens and a new earth (Is 65–66; Rev 21–22). In other words, the Book gives us hope in a difficult domain.

Third, the Bible is a family heritage to Christians. We all need a sense of orientation to answer common introspections, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is this world I live in?” “How should I live in the world?” “What comes after death?” The Bible answers all of these questions for Christians. The Bible teaches our family history. Our people go back to the very beginning of the story.

Our family tree begins with a couple named Adam and Eve (Gen 2–3). The records of our earliest family members are recorded in the Book. Genealogical lists are given in Genesis 5, Genesis 10, Matthew 1, and Luke 3. There are other lists of people in the Book, but these are the most important ones. Not all people who have lived or who are living today belong to our family (1 Jn 3:10). The Book informs us about other people in the world, and the origins of these different families (Gen 11).

Fourth, the Bible reveals not only our family but many of the most important actions by our family members. As people of the Book, we know that our family is the family of God. The Book tells us how this came about. In reality, our Book is really about our Father, who is Himself God (Mk14:26; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). This may sound strange to a person who has never read the Book. It might even sound arrogant, but it is never a Christian’s intention to sound arrogant in family matters.

Some of our family members were considered the most humble people in the world, like Moses (Num 12:3). The fact is we did not choose our Father, but our Father chose us for adoption (Eph 1:4–5). It is for this reason that Christians do their best to walk humbly with their Father (Mic 6:8). Our life outside of His family was not a good habitat for us. It was not going to end well for us, either. He saved us (Tit 3:5). Therefore, we use the word, “blessed,” when discussing our family situation.

Our family heritage has a number of rascals in it, but every family has these kinds of people. In fact, just about every behavior considered wrong has been practiced by our people. This is not pleasing to God, our Father, so He disciplines His children in love (Heb 12:4–11). That same love from our Father is what brought us into His family (Eph 1:4–5; Rom 5:5, 8; 1 Jn 3:1). We belonged to dysfunctional families of every kind and were ultimately orphaned by our previous father, who always boasted how great he was, but he really was not anything at all (Is 14; Ezek 28). In fact, we are all agreed he was an imposter (Jn 8:44). God showed great mercy and compassion toward the ones He chose to adopt (Rom 9:15–16, 23). The Book tells us everything we need to know about our Father and about our family dynamic (see the “one another” passages). It is yet another reason we love to spend time in the Book.

Fifth, as in every family, there is usually one member on the family tree who is more accomplished and famous than the others. The Book tells us about our Father’s most famous Son (Mt 3:17; 17:5; Jn 3:16). He is our Elder brother. He is so accomplished, that we count our accomplishments as nothing in comparison to His achievements (1 Cor 4:7; 5:6; 9:16; Eph 2:9; 1 Jn 2:16). He is the pride of the whole family, and we gladly boast in Him. The Book tells us why He is so important to our family. Even His name reveals the importance of His work, “Jesus,” meaning, “Yahweh saves.” He came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21).

Sixth, the Book is really about our Brother coming to find us. We were lost and had even fallen into the hands of a wicked slave master (Rom 6:6), who lied about being our father. Our true Father sent His Son to come and rescue us (Jn 3:16). Our captivity was such that he needed to pay a ransom to set us free and to bring us back to our glorious home (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45). He died in the process, but you cannot keep a man, who is God’s Son, down in death. When He rose again from the dead, He went home to prepare a place for us to return to. There will be a party, a family reunion when we all get there. It is all in the Book.

Seventh, the Book was written in such a special way that it helps us on our journey home. We need it like a man needs food each day. We suffer when we do not read it. It tastes good to our souls. Our Father educates us through the Book. We learn everything I have noted here and so much more.

The Book has our family history, but it also has the wisdom of our Father written down. We are wise to read it, and even wiser for having read it. There are also lots of practical principles in it. Do this and do not do that teaches us obedience. When we fail to be obedient, the Book has a way of correcting us. We want to learn the Book, but we also want to live right in light of what we have learned.

The Book tells us about prayer. That is what we call our communication with our Father. He responds to us with the words in the Book, and with these words, He speaks to our hearts in a special way. We know His still small voice because like any good parent who teaches her child, our Father often repeats what He has said before. The more we hear what He has to say, the more His words seem to come to mind all the time.

Our brothers and sisters are often quoting the Book. This is one of the ways we know our Father’s will, and it is often how we recognize distant family from around the world. Yes, our family is not constrained to any nation, tribe, or language (Rev 5:9). New family members are being born again all the time and in diverse places (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3).

We have a history of priests who prayed, but we also have a history of prophets who preached. This is one of those family traditions our Father gave to us. He gives His assessment of current events in the Book. The Book tells us there is no new thing under the sun (Eccl 1:9). The things going on in the world, today, are like the things going on in the world at every point in history. The Book is always up-to-date and relevant.

We like to know what our Father thinks in matters of dispute in the world. One of the things we have observed is that our Father’s position on matters in the world is not shared by other families. When our family shares our Father’s view, it causes friction with our families (see Acts of the Apostles). We regret this tension, but we know our Father is right. He and His Word always prove true (Rom 3:4). We have a sneaking suspicion that our neighbors know our Father is right, too. They have a hard time admitting this fact, but the Book tells us to love them with the truth when we talk with them (Eph 4:15). Who knows, they might believe us someday, and even share the truth of our confession.

Another reason our neighbors have trouble with our family is that we are royalty (1 Pet 2:9). Our Father, who is King of the universe, has given all authority in heaven and earth to our Brother (Mt 28:18), and a name above every other name (Eph 1:21; Phil 2:9). He is King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim 6:15). For this reason, every knee should bow to Him (Rom 14:11; Phil 2:10), and every tongue should confess that He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). Our Brother is the only righteous man who ever lived (1 Cor 1:30), and He demands much from the world. The Book explains to us why all the other families are in rebellion against our Brother and our Father (Ps 2; Rom 1:30; Jn 7:7; 15:18–19).

The truth of these matters seems to be unknown to other families, and when we try to tell them the history and the wisdom of these things, they mock and scoff at us (Ps 2). Our Father, in His Book, is ever telling us to be encouraged. He assures us that our Brother has overcome the world (Jn 16:33), and that our whole family will overcome it, too (1 Jn 5:4). We need the words of the Book to lift us up every day (Jos 1:8; Ps 1:2). The struggle with the other families often finds us being bullied by their children (Mt 5:10–12). They think we are foolish and even some of them think they are doing our Father a favor by killing us (Jn 16:2). In reality, they are acting like their father, who has been a murderer from the beginning (Jn 8:44).

Our family suffers much in this world (1 Peter), but justice is coming. Our Father has appointed a day for our Brother to return (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21; 1 Thess 4:13–5:11). He will judge the living and dead (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). He will deal with the other families appropriately (Rev 19:11–21). This comforts us in the trials and tribulations we face (Rev 6–18). The Book talks a lot about the day of our Brother’s return. He is coming again, and sometimes we get so excited, but the book tells us that only our Father knows the date (Mt 24:36). We simply know that what our Father has told us is true (Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17). He never lies, and everything He has ever predicted, as recorded in the Book, has come true (fulfilled prophecy). This gives us great confidence that what is to come will happen in our Father’s appointed time (Ps 57:2; 138:8).

Eighth, you may have guessed by now why the people of the Book are always talking about the Book and what is written in it. It is a true story. It is a love story. It is God’s story. It is our story, and because it tells us that some of our brothers and sisters have not been told that it is time to go home…we tell the story to everyone.

Our family is so big that we often do not recognize our relatives at first glance. When we tell our family story from the Book, our brothers and sisters recognize us. Neither they nor we are ashamed of the Book. In fact, we can all tell you that the Book was crucial for us to learn of our adoption into the family. It is true for all of us. We are forever grateful to our brothers and sisters who told us about the Book. We are even more grateful to those who are teaching us the contents of the Book, today.

In summary, we have considered the title: “People of the Book.” It is ascribed to Christians, and we have learned some reasons for this close association between the elect, redeemed, regenerate and the Bible. We have learned that it is an open book, which all are welcome to read.

Some think it is fiction, but others read it and recognize the special nature of the Book. They suddenly become interested in the Book where there was no interest before. They discipline themselves to read it, but their discipline is a labor of love, resulting from the presence and influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Word gives them a new identity and a new purpose in life. It has been called, “the Good Book,” and indeed it is.

In conclusion, you are either a person of the Book or not. You are encouraged to examine yourself in this very important issue because the Book reveals everything everyone needs to know about who they are, why they are here, and what the future holds for them (Rom 9:22–23). We wish all people were people of the Book, but the Book tells us that will never be the case (Jn 5:42; 8:47; 10:26; Rom 9:22).

Still, our love for the Book is contagious. The Book tells us there will be other people out there who will fall in love the Book, if we introduce them to it (2 Tim 2:10). Therefore, whoever you are today. Read the Book. The Bible is God’s Word for all people to read for themselves.

My own personal testimony is that by reading the Book, my life was radically transformed. I wish this transformation for you, too. I am not ashamed of the Book, for it has informed me of my salvation, and I never tire of reading about that past, present, future, and eternal reality.

David E. Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

January 23, 2021


Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher