The Bible

bible1The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors, in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek), on three different continents, over approximately 1600 years. It contains many different styles of writing such as poetry, narration, history, law, and prophecy and must be interpreted in context of those styles.

Basically, the Bible describes the origin of man in the Garden of Eden along with his fall into sin and out of fellowship with God. It then describes how God called out a special people to himself, the Israelites. He promised the Israelites a future Messiah who would restore mankind’s relationship with God. The Bible is the account of the work of God in history bringing to fruition his prophetic declarations concerning Jesus.  Jesus was born of the Virgin, died on the cross, and paid for sins, just as the Bible prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.

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.

In 1384 John Wycliffe was the first person to produce a (hand-written) manuscript copy of the complete Bible in English (80 Books).  Wycliffe had no access to Greek or Hebrew manuscripts and was thus totally reliant on the fourth century Latin translation of St. Jerome. The Gutenberg Bible, printed in 1455, was the first Bible ever printed and the first book ever printed in Europe. The first New Testament to be printed in English was a translation by William Tyndale in 1526. One of the most widely read English translations, the King James Bible, was first published in 1611.   Since that time there have been translations in several thousand languages. A strange little fact is that there is actually a Bible translation in Klingon, the Star Trek language.

So what is the Bible? In addition to all the above, the Bible is this:

  • It 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, we find our anchor right here.
  • It is a storehouse of wonderful stories for children and grownups. Remember Noah and the ark? Joseph’s coat of many colours? Daniel in the lion’s den? Jonah and the fish? The parables of Jesus? In these stories we recognize the triumphs and failures of ordinary people – and we may even see ourselves!
  • It is a refuge in trouble. People in pain, in suffering, in prison, in mourning, tell how they turned to the Bible and found strength there in their desperate hours.
  • It is 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.
  • It is a sourcebook for everyday living. We find standards for our conduct, guidelines for knowing right from wrong, principles to help us in a confused society where so often “anything goes.”
  • Most importantly, the Bible points to Jesus, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me,” (John 5:39).

Acknowledgements:
Text adapted from Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, International Bible Society, William Tyndale, Answers

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