A Bottom Line Message

The Real Purpose and Value
of Bible Codes

Frequently we receive e-mails that say something like, "If the Bible code can't be used to make reliable predictions, isn't it useless?" Definitely not. The purpose of Bible codes is to serve as another witness to the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible as a text that was authored by God. Now if God is the author, then what He wrote must have great value and pertinence to everyone. So its content conveys usages that far exceed the vain hope of receiving a few reliable predictions via Bible codes.

What is a reliable prediction worth? Reliability implies inevitability. So what good is it other than to satisfy our curiosity? Perhaps all it does is to increase our vanity, making us think that somehow we can change the course of history if we were to have an advance glimpse. Most likely, most of us would only use such information to protect our own narrow self-interests in light of the ramifications of such an upcoming event if we were to see a way it might affect us.

In contrast, the benefits of the Bible as a text authored by God are pervasive and limitless. The longest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 119) is entirely devoted to how we should relate to its text and what the benefits of doing so are. It took 176 verses to cover all of this. In this article, we briefly touch on some of the highlights of this amazing psalm. The benefits of personally heeding the literal text of the Bible tower over any possible gain from extracting some kind of reliable prediction via codes. Realizing this should give all of us a healthier perspective about Bible codes.

Any one of these benefits, by itself, is greater than what could be had from receiving a reliable prediction. Yet for those who diligently study the Bible and seek to follow its teachings, all ten of the above benefits are readily available.

Verse 18 of Psalm 119 reads, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." (NIV) While Bible code enthusiasts might be quick to wonder whether this verse is an allusion to codes as the "wonderful things," we would be better off to be thinking that "wonderful things" more likely refers to the benefits cited above (or similar ones).

In future Digest issues, we will look at various benefits we can receive by studying the Bible. As an example, a quick study on the benefit of being guided by God follows:

Short Bible Study on Guidance

Read 2 Samuel 22:26-28:
    With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down. (NKJV)

Questions to Ponder
    1. Does God provide guidance equally to everyone?
    2. What causes God to guide people differently?

The picture in this passage sounds a bit like what one would get from a Karma Coach: "What goes around, comes around." If you are straightforward, humble and sincere with God, He will guide you very specifically, graciously and powerfully. If you are devious with God, He will deal with you in a manner according to your deviousness.

Read 2 Samuel 22:29-34, 37:
    For You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places . . . You enlarged my path under me; so my feet did not slip. (NKJV)

Questions to Consider
    1. How active was God in guiding David?
    2. Was the guidance God provided David a one-time occurrence, or did God guide David continually?
    3. In what ways do you need to be more like David (in character) so that God will guide you continually, as He did for David?
    4. Would someone observing how you live suspect that you think that you know what is best for yourself even better than God does? How would they be able to tell?
    5. If you were truly a humble person before God, would your thoughts and actions be any different than they are now? In light of verse 28, how do you think God will treat you, given your current attitudes?

A Closing Prayer

O LORD, give us the humility to realize that You know each one of us far better than we know ourselves, and You know, much more than we do, what is best for us. As we seek You, show us the path You have for us.

For Further Reflection

The Bible clearly tells us that God will guide us step-by-step if we are following Him in humility and expecting Him to provide that kind of direction. Consider the following verses:
    The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:11, NKJV)

    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. (Psalm 32:8, NKJV)

    He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. (Psalm 23:2-3, NKJV)

    Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1, NKJV)

    And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. (Exodus 13:21, NKJV)

    For You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD shall enlighten my darkness. (2 Sam 22:29, NKJV)

    I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:22-26, NKJV)

    Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. (Isaiah 48:17-18, NKJV)

    But He made His own people go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock; and He led them on safely, so that they did not fear; but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. (Psalm 78:52-53, NKJV)

    He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young. (Isaiah 40:11, NKJV)

    I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:14, NKJV)

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