I lit on the idea a few years ago that the Bible could be summarised in just two verses, the first and last verses of the Bible.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:21
Let me explain. The first verse of the Bible sets the stage and reveals that all that exists belongs to God. We belong to God, as His creation. We are meant to have direct relationship with Him, since He made us and owns us.
The whole of human history follows that verse, including sin, death, slavery and salvation through Christ. Then the whole of human history culminates in the eternal blessing of all those who put their faith in Christ and receive God’s grace through Him.
Sin, death, slavery and salvation all happen between ‘the beginning’ and eternity. That wide range of human history, with all its ups and downs, doesn’t change the fact that God owns us because He made us, and thus we are accountable to Him as our creator, and that the sacrifice of Christ, providing God’s grace, is the basis of our eternal existence.
The first verse sets up the most important issues of life, our commitment to God, as our creator.
Consider the many ways people try to set up a basis for successful life. We have such sayings as, “To thine own self be true”. Great institutions, such as universities and nations, have impressive mottos about, truth, effort, commitment and so on. “By the people, for the people.” ‘Truth Prevails.’ “All pull together.” “Liberty or Death.” “Libertas”. “Seize The Day.” “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.
Some mottos are remarkably secular, such as the newer Harvard University motto “Veritas” (Truth), replacing the original motto, “Christo et Ecclesiae” (For Christ and Church). Other examples are Stanford University’s “the wind of freedom blows” and the Soviet Union’s motto “Proletarians of all nations, unite!”
Considering the first verse of the Bible, telling us that in the beginning God created everything, what should be our life motto? Solomon might suggest ‘Fear God’, since he tells us that the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13.
“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God by walking in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” Deuteronomy 10:12.
The first verse of the Bible sets us up to be totally committed to the amazing God who created us. It shows us as God’s creation, effectively God’s children. If we only had that one verse as our knowledge of God it would still tell us to recognise God’s primary place in each of our lives, and imply out accountability to Him, since He made us and owns us.
Just that one verse should teach us to live our lives in the fear of God, fully respecting Him for His primary place in our lives and our world.
However, we know that the world we live in is a far cry from the perfect creative work of God. Hatred and death, selfishness and unhappiness testify that something is terribly wrong with our world and our own lives. We are not living in peace, joy and freedom, but with all kinds of frustrations and struggles. The world is full of terrible things and horrible things happen to people.
We know that the horrible existence this world offers is not what God would have created and wanted. We know sin has separated us from God.
So that’s where the last verse in the Bible comes in. We are God’s children from the beginning as God’s creation, but something has gone terribly wrong.
Now the price has been paid to restore us as God’s children. It was paid by Jesus Christ, who was God in human form, where God, Himself, actually paid the price so we could be restored to Him.
That comes to us as pure grace, completely undeserved. It is the ‘grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’. It is open to all. God has provided complete forgiveness and restoration to all mankind. Through Christ all that was created is restored, but now at a much deeper level, where God’s love has been poured out on undeserving mankind, and we are adopted into God’s family, born again into God’s family, for eternity.
By faith in Christ we are freed from satan, sin and death. Our mortal life is already booked in for resurrection, where we are clothed with immortality and enjoy eternity in heaven with God, as one of His children.
All that satan did, and that sin damaged, and that death tries to lock away from us, is overturned in Christ. All of human history, including kingdoms and philosophies, rebellions, achievements, dynasties and everything else, is of no consequence when measured against God’s creation at the beginning and Christ’s redemptive work and the resultant grace that takes us into eternity.
Anyone who has any sense for their own importance is swept away in the reality given to us in just two verses. And those two verses summarise the whole of human history, from the beginning to the end of eternity (if there is such a thing as an ‘end’ to eternity).
All that is described between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 simply fleshes out the realities clearly given to us in those two verses.
I don’t suggest you limit your Bible reading to just those two verses, but you might be blessed to simply stop and meditate on what I have reflected here and what else there might be to uncover in just those two pivotal verses – The Two-Verse Bible.