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This is the fifth post in the NIV Quest Study Bible (Zondervan, 2019) series in which a popular question about the Bible is asked and answered.

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The NIV Quest Study Bible (website) is the result of two publishing companies, Zondervan and Christianity Today International, working together to enhance the Bible text with answers to challenging questions people have as they read Scripture.

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More than 1,000 average Bible readers helped determine questions the notes explain, creating a resource featuring more than 7,000 notes written in question-and-answer format that provide insight into the common, uncommon, and sometimes perplexing passages from the Bible, such as “What prevents God from hearing our prayers?” and “Why does God test us?”


Question Five: What is my purpose in life? And how can I be certain of it? (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). This is the essence of our purpose. We are to honor God and advance his kingdom through who we are and in everything we do.

Through our cooperation with God’s Spirit who is at work within us, we can grow to the point that what we want aligns with what God wants — our passions and purposes are his passions and purposes; we think, speak, act, and relate in a Christlike way. We will never be perfect or without struggle in this life, but we can be inwardly connected to Jesus (John 15:1–8). We listen for the Spirit’s guidance. We cultivate our gifts. We live our lives pursuing God’s kingdom interests (1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1).

But often this isn’t enough for us. We want to know our specific, individual purpose with certainty. We want the mystery solved. We want to find a unique purpose that focuses our energies and convinces us that our life counts.

Perhaps our feverish search for the specific is misguided. Maybe our need for certainty reflects our addiction to control and what Eugene Peterson calls “insiders’ pride.” God wants us to trust him, and sometimes knowing too much leads to trusting too little. Maybe letting go of the pressure to find our purpose — and instead following hard after God each new day — will center us squarely in the target.

Buy your copy of the NIV Quest Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Question One: How Do We Know the Bible Is True?

Question Two: Is There Any “Secular” Evidence to Support the Bible’s Claims?

Question Three: Who Is God, What Does He Value, and How Can We Approach Him?

Question Four: Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

Click the image to enlarge this page comparison of the original and the updated NIV Quest Study Bible

Click to enlarge this page comparison of the original and the updated NIV Quest Study Bible

The NIV Quest Study Bible is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


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NIV Quest Study Bible: What Is My Purpose in Life? And How Can I Be Certain of It?

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