ABOUT THE BIBLE
Ever wondered what the Bible is?
Think of it as a library of love letters from God to his people.
Each book tells about the same subject – Jesus. He said “These are the Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39). Every book relates to God’s loving plan to enter our lives and change our relationship with him.
Still with 66 books – it can be confusing. What is each book about? What is the main point? How is timeless truth related to modern life? Help is only a click away.
NAMES FOR THE BIBLE
The word “Bible” comes originally from an ancient Phoenician city on the Mediterranean Sea in what is now the country of Lebanon. The name of the city was Byblos. The city of Byblos exported the paper on which ancient scrolls were written. “Biblia” became the Greek word for “books” or “scrolls.” From the Greek word “biblia,” comes our English word Bible. Strictly speaking, our Bible is not just one book but many books put together in one volume. There are 66 books altogether in our Bible. The Bible is also known by other names. We may call it the Scriptures or Holy Scripture. The word “scripture” comes from the Latin and refers to “writings.” You may also hear the Bible called Holy Writ, the Book of Books, or the Word of God.
WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
As these various names for the Bible show, the Bible is not just an ordinary book like all the other millions of books in the world. The Bible is unique; it is one of a kind. It is indeed the Book of Books. There is no other book like it. What is it that sets the Bible apart as a book without equals? It is the fact that God himself is the real Author of the Bible. The Bible is the written word of God in which God reveals the true religion to us.
WHO WROTE THE BIBLE?
We have already mentioned that God is the real Author of the Bible. However, God did not simply drop the Bible down from the heavens and deliver it to man. God made use of human writers. The Old Testament portion of the Bible was written by Moses and the Prophets. The New Testament was written by the pens of the Evangelists and the Apostles. About 40 men were involved in writing the Bible. When we ask the question, “Who wrote the Bible?”, we really have to give two answers. First we will answer that God wrote the Bible; and then we will answer that God used humans to write the Bible. As an exercise check each of these verses for yourself and see whether each verse speaks about (1) God being the Bible’s Author (2) the human authors of the Bible or (3) both the divine (Godly) and human authorship of the Bible:
WHEN WAS THE BIBLE WRITTEN?
Moses was the human author of the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis. Moses lived about 1,500 years before Christ. The Apostle John wrote the last book of the New Testament in about the year AD 100. All the other books of the Bible were written between BC 1500 and AD 100. That means that the Bible was written over a period of about 1,600 years. That is the same amount of time as from the year 400 up to our time. Though the Bible was written over a period of many years, it is remarkable that the Bible speaks the same message throughout and never contradicts itself. This is certainly evidence of the divine authorship of the Bible. Some say that other books should be added to the books of the Bible and taught as being God’s Word too. The Roman Catholic Church adds the books called the Apocrypha to the Bible. The Mormons add the Book of Mormon. However, the Bible contains all of what God wants us to know for salvation and life. Jesus never accepted the Apocryphal Books as coming from God. The Book of Mormon is clearly an invention of man. There is no promise to us from God for any additional holy books like the books of the Bible. On the contrary, God has directed people of all ages to the books of the Bible for salvation and life. When the Bible was completed over the period of 1,600 years, the period of divinely given books was closed.
THE LANGUAGES OF THE BIBLE
The Old Testament portion of the Bible was written originally in the Hebrew language. This is the same language as is spoken by the Jews today in the country of Israel. A very small portion of the Old Testament was written in Aramaic, a language very similar to Hebrew. Hebrew and Aramaic were the languages commonly understood by the people living in Israel during the Old Testament period. The New Testament was written originally in the Greek language. A very few words of Aramaic are also found in the New Testament. Greek and Aramaic were commonly understood by people living in the area of Israel during the time of Jesus. Greek was commonly understood throughout the Roman Empire that existed at Jesus’ time.
HOW THE BIBLE IS DIVIDED
The Old Testament and the New Testament are the two general parts of the Bible. The Old Testament contains the 39 books that were written between the time of Moses (about BC 1500) and the time of Malachi (about BC 400). The New Testament contains the 27 books that were written at the time of Christ to about AD 100. You will notice that about 400 “silent years” come between the Old and New Testaments. The two testaments of the Bible together contain 66 books.
CHAPTERS AND VERSES
The books of the Bible originally had no chapter and verse divisions. The chapter divisions we use in our Bibles today were made by Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1228. The verse divisions that we use today were done by Robert Stephanus, a printer in Paris, in 1551.
THE BIBLE’S TWO CHIEF DOCTRINES
Two doctrines stand out in the Bible like two mountain peaks. Those two doctrines are the LAW and the GOSPEL. The LAW is that part of the Bible in which God tells man what to do, what not to do, and how to be. The chief purpose of the Law is to show us our sin. Both Old and New Testaments contain Law. The GOSPEL is that part of the Bible that tells us the good news of our salvation in Jesus Christ. The word “gospel” is an old English word that means “good news.” The purpose of the Gospel is to show us our Savior, bring us to faith in him, and keep us in the saving faith. Both the Old and New Testaments contain Gospel.
The LAW: tells us what to do, what not to do, and how to be; it shows our sin; it shows we are worthy of God’s eternal punishment.
The GOSPEL: tells us the good news of our Savior Jesus Christ; gives us free salvation; keeps us in the faith; comforts us with God’s love.
Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.
Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!
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