What Is the Purpose and Meaning of Life? (30 Questions)

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This post is a chapter from Dr. Timothy Tennent’s book, 30 Questions: A Short Catechism on the Christian Faith available for purchase from our store. This resource makes for a great teaching tool in local churches, especially for catechesis purposes. We’re featuring a chapter each week in hopes of encouraging you to pick up the book and share it with others as well.

One of the most well-known catechisms in Christian history declared that the purpose of our existence is to “love God and to enjoy him forever.” It is one of the most famous and powerful statements about the purpose of life. If we only live for ourselves and our own enjoyment, we experience a nagging sense that we have somehow missed the final purpose of life. We are meant to know God in his beauty, power, love, and majesty. We are meant to find fulfillment and meaning in orienting our lives towards his greater purposes for us and for creation as a whole. There is no greater purpose in life than being bearers of the image of God in the world. Our personal lives have meaning as they are caught up in God’s grand plan and purpose for the universe. He is reconciling all things to himself—so we are ambassadors of reconciliation. He is the author of all creation—so we share in his creativity. He is the source of all life and hope—so we become bearers of that life and hope in the world. All lasting meaning and purpose is ultimately derived from him and his unfolding purpose and plan for the entire creation which, in time, will give birth to the new heavens and the new earth, where all things fully acknowledge his sovereign rule and reign.

One of the marks of our age is the increasing despair and hopelessness which seems to shroud so many in our time. However, the root problem is not that we have too much anxiety, but too little hope. Hope, along with faith and love, is one of the abiding and sustaining qualities of the Christian. We are people of hope.

Scripture Reading

Proverbs 19:21
Romans 15:20–21
Ephesians 1:3–14

Purchase Dr. Tim Tennent’s book 30 Questions: A Short Catechism on the Christian Faith.

Read his blog here.

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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