Does the Bible Speak to Today’s Struggle with Personal Identity?

Does the Bible Speak to Today’s Struggle with Personal Identity?

Who Am I?

You might think that the answer is no. The Bible, after all, is a collection of ancient texts, and expressive individualism as a movement has only been around for a few decades. And the other point is that the word “identity” doesn’t appear in any English version of the Bible that I’ve seen.

However, the Bible does actually address many of the questions of identity that we’re asking today—in really profound, beautiful, and true ways. For example, the question Who am I? actually appears in the Bible. What is a human being? appears in the Bible. And what we call the anthropological terms—what makes us up as human beings, like our heart, our soul, our spirit, our body, our mind—they’re actually biblical terms. And there’s every indication that those terms flowed through to the English language directly from the Bible.

Biblical Identity

But there’s actually something more important here, and it’s this idea that the Bible gives us an identity, especially if you are a believer. Everyone has an identity from God in being made in the image of God. But believers in Christ have an identity given to them by being known by God intimately and personally as his child. Our identity, then, is a gift from God. It becomes central to who we are and affects all the other aspects of who we are as individuals.

Believers in Christ have an identity given to them by being known by God intimately and personally as his child.

And the second thing is that the story notion of personal identity is also addressed in the Bible very profoundly. For God’s people, we live a story which is actually based on the story of Jesus Christ. I love the way Paul puts it in Colossians 3.

He says in Colossians 3 that “you died . . . .” Think about that for a moment. That’s a really weird idea. You died with Christ. Not only did he die in your place, but you died with him to sin and self-interest, and your identity is “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). There’s a sense in which who you really are is secure in him. It’s a beautiful thought.

“When Christ appears”—who is your life story—“you will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:4). So with the second coming of Christ, we look forward to that day because the whole world will know the true identity of Jesus Christ as God’s one and only Son. We will also be shown to have our true identities as God’s people and as his sons and daughters.

Brian Rosner is the author of How to Find Yourself: Why Looking Inward Is Not the Answer.



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Author: Brian S. Rosner





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