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What is The Bible?

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work".

2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Bible is not an amulet, a charm, a fetish, or a book that will work wonders by its very presence.

It is the book that reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts binding, its histories true, and its decisions immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. The Bible contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

 

Christ is its grand subject, our good is its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your feet in righteousness and true holiness. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully, meditatively, searchingly, devotionally, and study it constantly, perseveringly, and industriously. Read it through and through until it becomes part of your being and generates faith that will move mountains.

 

The Bible is a mine of wealth, the source of health, and a world of pleasure. It is given to you in this life, will be opened at the judgment, and will stand forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the least to the greatest of labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, by Finis Jennings Dake

The Bible could be described as not just a book but a collection of books; 66 of them authored by 40 different people over a period of 1400 years. It comes in two major parts referred to as the Old and New Testaments - 'testament' meaning 'a witness'.

 

The Old Testament contains 39 books, covering 2000 years of Israel's history and records how the Jews, as God's people, learnt to know and experience God for themselves.

 

"I hold one single sentence out of God's word to be of more certainty, and of more power, than all the discoveries of all the learned men of all the ages".

― Charles Spurgeon ―

 

The New Testament contains 27 books, covers only a few years of history and focuses on the life of God's son Jesus Christ, His disciples, His Church and future world events.

 

Unusually, the books of the Bible are not located in date order, but instead are grouped together as differing types of literature.

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What is inside?

The Old Testament, originally written in Hebrew, contains history and law books (Genesis to Esther), poetry and wisdom books (Job to Song of Solomon), the major prophets (Isaiah to Daniel) and the minor prophets (Hosea to Malachi).

 

The New Testament, originally written in Greek and Aramaic, contains four Gospel accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (Matthew to John), 22 letters to individuals and churches on how to behave and deal with issues (Acts to Jude) and a book of prophecy, which talks about Jesus' return and the end of this world (Revelation).

In 1611 the King of England, James I, authorised by law a translation of the Bible which was to be made available for everyone to read in English. Many years later, other English translations followed such as the Revised Standard Version, New International Version and the American Standard Version. These are all 'word for word' translations and are great for reading and studying in depth.

 

English translations that sought to convey the 'feelings' of the original text rather than a 'word for word' translation also followed. Examples of Bibles that are paraphrased translations are the Good News Bible, the New Living Translation and the New English Bible, and these are great for reading - particularly if you are a new Christian.

 

Though the Bible is made up of many books, it has only one author: God. As you read it, you are encountering the will, thoughts and feelings of God Himself communicated through revelation, inspiration and illumination.

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