Introduction to the Bible
The sixty-six books of the Bible were written over a period of 1500 years by more than forty different authors. While the authors had varying backgrounds (anywhere from being royalty to being a fig picker), the Bible's central theme has never changed. it is salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Savior has always been the focal point throughout the Bible.
The Bible covers all of history from the creation and the Garden of Eden to the 1000-year reign of Christ and beyond. Every part of the Bible is historically, scientifically, and spiritually accurate. There are no contradictions in the Bible. Every word is accurate from cover to cover. The only contradictions are apparent contradictions.
The Bible has a table of contents in the beginning for people who do not know all of the books of the Bible. As you turn to a book in the Bible, you will notice that each book is divided up into chapters, and each chapter is divided into verses. For example, John 3:16 means that we are reading from the book of John, 3rd chapter, 16th verse in the chapter. While the table of contents is very helpful to find your way around the Bible, is there a better, more efficient way to know the Bible? How is the Bible structured? Can I really understand what it says and means? Does the Bible really apply to me and my Life?
The Bible is divided up into two covenants or agreements, the Old Covenant (Testament) and the New Covenant (Testament). The Old Covenant was before Christ came to this earth. Jesus established the New Covenant in the Upper Room with his disciples (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:14-20). St. Augustine explained the Testaments in this way: The Old Testament revealed in the New, The New veiled in the Old. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic while the New Testament was written in Koine (common) Greek. There are thirty-nine Old Testament books and twenty-seven New Testament books.
The following is a division of the Old and New Testaments and how they were grouped together:
The Next Twelve books trace the development, deliverance, disobedience and downfall of the nation of Israel.
|The Historical Books|
The next books are considered poetical since they rhyme in the original Hebrew and their authors write everything in the first person. They are emotionally packed.
Song of Solomon
The next books are considered prophetical since God spoke through the prophets to call the people to repent from their sins and return to their God. Since the books Isaiah through Daniel have many chapters, they are called the major prophets; Hosea through Malachi are considered the Minor Prophets because of their small size, not by importance!
|Minor Prophets (minor by size and not by importance!)|
The first four books of the Bible are called the Gospels and are considered biographical since each one tells about the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior from a different point of view.
|Matthew||"King of the Jews"|
|Luke||"Son of Man"|
|John||"Son of God"|
The book of Acts is considered historical since it deals with the birth of the Church and the spreading of the gospel to the ends of the earth. It is the only book of the Bible, practically speaking, that is unfinished since the Church is still alive and well today.
|Acts||"Birth and growth of the Church"|
The next twenty-one books of the Bible are called Epistles, or letters, since they were letters written to believers. Romans through Jude are doctrinal since each letter teaches specific truths pertaining to life and godliness.
|Books of Doctrine (Teaching)|
The final book of the Bible is considered prophetical since it tells about the end times. It describes the Church's current spiritual condition as well as the events following the rapture of the Church (when Christ comes and takes believers to be with him forever). God will then judge the earth and establish His kingdom on earth.
How does the Bible change my life?
There are four important things to consider about how God communicates with man.
God chose to reveal Himself to us through creation (Psalms 8) as well as direct revelation to the authors by many methods of communication (direct, an angel, dreams and visions, etc.).
2 Timothy 3:16 states that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." In the Greek the word inspiration literally means, "God-breathed." As the Holy Spirit worked through many authors He revealed the truth of God. Also 2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
God not only has revealed His truth to us, but He also allows us to understand the Scriptures. When we read the Bible we have the Author inside of us to help us to learn the truth and apply it to our lives. (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
We must not only be hearers of the Word but doers as well. The Holy Spirit will show us how we can apply God's truth in our lives; but at the same time, we need to live out His Word and apply it to our lives (James 1:22-25; John 13:17).
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