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This is the third 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 Three: Who is God, what does he value, and how can we approach him? (Exodus 3:13–14)

The Bible doesn’t explain who God is or try to prove his divine existence. It assumes God is eternally present (Genesis 1:1) and depicts creation as a result of his divine thought and action (Genesis 1:1–2:25). God has, however, offered us a glimpse of who he is through creation (Psalm 19:1–6), his Word (Psalm 18:30–31), and especially through the incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ, who is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus demonstrated God’s compassion, grace, and glory in his life, death, and resurrection. From this and from the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1–13), our awareness of God as Trinity (one God in three persons) was formed.

While God’s being is beyond comprehension or perception (Ex 33:20; John 1:18), both the physical world and the human conscience clearly attest to his values and purposes.

In addition, God revealed what he values through the Sinai covenant (Exodus 20:1–24:18). The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2–17; Deuteronomy 5:6–21) were affirmed by Jesus as a faithful summary of God’s moral values (Matthew 5:17–47), and they continue to shape social values and legal systems today. God also revealed what he values through the dietary regulations (Leviticus 11:1–47) and worship regulations (Leviticus 1:1–9:24; 16:1–34; 21:1–25:55) that were given to the ancient Israelites. Those regulations emphasized God’s holiness and his desire for his people to be holy (Leviticus 11:44). When Jesus came to earth, he taught that while actions are important, God is more concerned with the heart (Matthew 5:17–47; 15:18–20). God desires that we love him, trust him, obey him and imitate his character in our interactions with others by being compassionate, loving and forgiving.

So how can we approach such a holy God? Access to God is only through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Romans 5:1–2; Ephesians 2:13–18; 3:12). Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring [us] to God (1 Peter 3:18). Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

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

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

Question Four: Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen? (Sept. 16)

Question Five: What Is My Purpose in Life? And How Can I Be Certain of It? (Sept. 23)

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

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