The Rectory, Hatley Rd, Potton, Sandy. SG19 2RP   

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Understanding The Bible:

It's Not As Hard As You Think

 

The Bible is the account of God’s action in the world, and his purpose with all creation. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty human authors. It is quite an amazing collection of 66 books with very different styles, all containing the message God desired us to have.

This compilation of booklets contains an astonishing variety of literary styles. It provides many stories about the lives of good and bad people, about battles and journeys, about the life of Jesus, and about early church activity. It comes to us in narratives and dialogues, in proverbs and parables, in songs and allegories, in history and prophecy.


The accounts in the Bible were not generally written down as they occurred. Rather they were told over and over again and handed down through the years, before eventually being written down. Yet the same themes may be found throughout the book. Along with the diversity, there is also remarkable unity throughout.

So what is the Bible? Well, in addition to all the above, the Bible is:

  • A guide for living life to the full. It gives us a road map for the perilous journey of life. Or to put it another way, on our voyage through life’s ocean, the Bible is an anchor.

  • A storehouse of wonderful stories for children and grownups. Remember Noah and the ark? Joseph’s coat of many colors? Daniel in the lion’s den? Jonah and the fish? The parables of Jesus? These stories emphasize the triumphs and failures of ordinary people.

  • A refuge in trouble. People in pain, in suffering, in prison, and in mourning tell how turning to the Bible brought strength in their desperate hour.

  • A treasury of insight as to who we are. We are not meaningless robots, but we are magnificent creatures of a God who loves us and gives us a purpose and a destiny.

  • A sourcebook for everyday living. We find standards for our conduct, guidelines for knowing right from wrong, and principles to help us in a confused society where so often “anything goes.”

The Authors


About 40 different human authors contributed to the Bible, which was written over a period of about 1500 years. The authors were kings, fishermen, priests, government officials, farmers, shepherds, and doctors. From all this diversity comes an incredible unity, with common themes woven throughout.

The Bible’s unity is due to the fact that, ultimately, it has one Author—God Himself. The Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). The human authors wrote exactly what God wanted them to write, and the result was the perfect and holy Word of God (Psalm 12:62 Peter 1:21).

The Divisions


The Bible is divided into two main parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. In short, the Old Testament is the story of a nation, and the New Testament is the story of a Man. The nation was God’s way of bringing the Man—Jesus Christ—into the world.

The Old Testament describes the founding and preservation of the nation of Israel. God promised to use Israel to bless the whole world (Genesis 12:2-3). Once Israel was established as a nation, God raised up a family within that nation through whom the blessing would come: the family of David (Psalm 89:3-4). Then, from the family of David was promised one Man who would bring the promised blessing (Isaiah 11:1-10).

The New Testament details the coming of that promised Man. His name was Jesus, and He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament as He lived a perfect life, died to become the Savior, and rose from the dead. 

The Old Testament Books written by the prophets such as Moses, David, Isaiah, etc.

  1. Pentateuch - 5 books:

    1. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

  2. Historical Books - 12 books:

    1. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.

  3. Poetical - 5 books:

    1. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

  4. Prophetical - 17 books:

    1. Major Prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel;

    2. Minor Prophets - Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

The New Testament Books written by those who knew Jesus or were under the guidance of those who did.

  1. Historical Books -  5 books:

    1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts

  2. Pauline Epistles - 13 books:

    1. Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians. 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon

  3. Non-Pauline Epistles - 9 books:

    1. Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation

      1. Note:  Some authors attribute Hebrews to Paul.

 

Help with reading the Bible.

For help in becoming more familiar with the Bible and to understand it in a more complete way, try looking at the website BibleX. This website offers a uncomplicated path to gain a more detailed understanding of the Bible.