Henrietta Mears wrote a classic best seller, “What the Bible is all About” and she starts out in Chapter 1, Understanding the Bible b by saying, “Behind and beneath the Bible,, above and eyond the Bible, is the God of the Bible.
So, What is the Bible?
We as christians know and believe that the Bible is God’s inspired, and inerrant message to us. It gives direction, Psalms 119:105, it shows us right and wrong, Psalms 119:11; it shows us the truth about ourselves, Hebrews 4:12. For Christians, the Bible is the written word of God. It is God’s written revelation of His will to all men. God is the leading character of this “divine” autobiography because that is exactly what the Bible is, a “divine” autobiography of God.
Most important, the Bible claims to be not just a book about God but also a book from God. In the Bible, we find information available no where else. For example, the Bible is our:
* Infallible authority, 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21
* Deed of Inheritance, Acts 20:32
* Guide for Life, Joshua 1:8
* Our Stability, Proverbs 4:20-22
* Strength, Ephesians 6:13
The Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, (the language of most of the Old Testament); Aramaic, ( a common form of hebrew spoken at the time of the birth of Jesus); and Greek, (the international language at the time of Christ)
The Bible was written on three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe; over a span of about 1500 years starting with Moses and Job, and ending with the Apostle John. God inspired more than 40 writers to write down His message for humanity. The words did not come from the writers themselves; but the Spirit of God used their personalities, their skills, and their backgrounds. The message, accuracy and power is God’s own. The Bible originated in the mind of God, not in the mind of man! The Old Testament was written over a period of 1100 years and the New Testament over a period of 100 years. The New Testament was written by at least eight men, four of whom – Matthew, John, Peter and Paul were apostles; two -Mark and Luke – were companions of the apostles; and two – James and Jude – were brothers of Jesus.
The Old Testament contains Five books categorized as Law; Twelve books of History; Five of Poetry; Five books of the major prophets; and Twelve of the minor prophets, totaling 39 books.
The New Tetament contains Four books comprising the Gospel, One book of History; Thirteen Pauline letters; Eight general letters; and One book of Prophecy totaling 27 books.
The books of the Bible recorded one internally consistent point of view about God and man, and that was Salvation and it comes only through Jesus Christ.
We can trust the Bible completely because God inspired the writers through the Holy Spirit. He alone controlled the process. He “breathed in” what He wanted. Nothing more. Nothing less. That’s why we can trust what we read. (2 timothy 3:16-17)
The process by which the various books in the bible were brought together and their value as sacred scripture recognized is referred to as the history of the canon. Canonicity was a process by which church leaders recognized individual books of the Bible as being inspired by God. The canon is the word that described which books make up the Bible we use today.
In the first centuries after Christ, several councils met to determine which books should be included in the canon. Their main task was to evaluate books written during and after the life of Christ. (The Old Testament canon was already settled during New Testament times.)The word “testament” means “covenant” or “agreement”. The Old Testament being the covenant or promise God made with people about their salvation before Christ came. The New Testament is the agreement God made with people about their salvation after Christ came. (Galatians 3:17-25)
Because the bible is God’s personal message to us, it is the ultimate guide to life and to Him. Besides being a “search for God guidebook”, we could call the Bible our Life Instruction Manual, written for us by God, our creator. The Bible gives us direction, it shows us right from wrong and shows us the truth about ourselves.
We may read the Bible repeatedly, but we will not discover the point of it all until the Spirit teaches us. (2 Corinthians 4:6) The good news is that God’s message is always one of hope and welcome. It is expressed clearly in one of the key bible verses (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whososever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. In this one statement, which Jesus made to a Pharisee named Nicodemus a leader of the Jews, nearly 2000 years ago, God’s most important message for each of us is summed up.
Think About It:
What is the Bible?
Why was the Bible written?
Who wrote the Bible?
Where did the Bible originate?
What benefits does the Bible offer us?
Old Testament, New Testament