Introduction To The Bible
The Bible is From God
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The phrase, “by inspiration of God” literally means “God breathed”. The apostle Peter wrote to Christians, “…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). The how of inspiration is explained by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:6-13.
The Value of the Bible
The Old Testament was written for the Jewish nation, those who came out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 20:1-2; Deuteronomy 5:1-5) and is given to the people of today for their learning (Romans 15:4). The New Testament is given to produce faith in Jesus Christ (John 20:30-31; Romans 10:17). It is the Bible, the Word of God, which informs us of the origin, mission, and destiny of mankind, and furnishes man unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The Writing of God’s Revelation to Man
The Bible was written by about forty different men over a period of sixteen hundred years. It was written by soldiers, shepherds, farmers, and fishermen. It was begun by Moses in the lonely desert of Arabia and finished by John on the Isle of Patmos. Some of it was written in king’s palaces, some in shepherd’s tents, some beside still waters, and part of it was written in prison. While God is the author of the Bible, part of it was penned by highly educated men and part of it was written by unlettered fishermen. It was written in different languages and different countries, yet when all the books of the Bible are brought together they blend into one great whole. They are a unit, hence, THE BOOK!
The word “Bible” is from the Greek term “Biblia” which is translated books. The Bible is a book of books as it contains 66 books. The Bible is divided into two major divisions, the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are 39 books which make up the Old Testament and 27 books which make up the New Testament.
Languages of the Bible
The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew with portions of Daniel (Daniel 2:4-7:28) and Ezra (Ezra 4:7-6:18 and Ezra 7:12-26) written in Aramaic. The Hebrew and Aramaic languages are very similar. Aramaic has been referred to as the language of diplomacy. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek which has been described as the ordinary language of the people.
The Theme of the Bible
The theme of the Bible can be summed up in one sentence: Someone is coming, Someone has come, and Someone is coming again. The someone is Jesus Christ the Son of Jehovah God.
- The Old Testament – Someone is coming; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 53:1-2.
- The New Testament – Someone has come; Isaiah Matthew 1:22-25; Luke 2:8-20.
- The New Testament – Someone is coming again; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Divisions of the Testaments
The 66 books of the Old Testament are divided in the following manner:
- Five books of Moses – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
- Twelve books of the history of the Jewish nation – Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
- Five books of Poetry – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
- Five books of major prophets (called major prophets because of the length of their books) – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
- Twelve books of minor prophets – Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
The 27 books of the New Testament are divided in to four major divisions:
- Four books which give testimony concerning Jesus – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The purpose of these books is stated in John 20:30-31.
- One book of history which tells of the establishment of the church and spread of Christianity – Acts.
- Twenty-one books which were addressed to individuals and churches concerning problems they faced, and instructions concerning worship and Christian living – Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews, James, 1st and 2nd Peter, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, Jude.
- One book of prophecy – Revelation. This book tells of the ultimate victory of Christianity over all enemies.
Types of Literature in the Bible
The Bible, with its 66 books, consists of many different types of literature. This truth must be realized if we are to properly understand God’s revelation to man. In the Bible you have:
- Poetry - the book of Psalms.
- Proverbs - the book of Proverbs .
- History –
- The history of the Jewish nation; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Job.
- The history of the New Testament church, the book of Acts.
- Sermonic materials - Jesus’ great sermon on the mount, Matthew chapters 5,6, and 7, and Peter’s great sermon on Pentecost, Acts chapter 2.
- Parables - By means of parables the teacher places something which is understood beside something unknown to enable the hearer to understand the truth that the teacher is presenting. By means of a parable Nathan taught King David that he was guilty of adultery (2 Samuel 12:1-15). Through a parable Jesus taught the Jewish lawyer who his neighbor was, (Luke 10:25-37).
- Apocalyptic- the books of Ezekiel and Revelation present truth in the presentation of symbols.
When considering a translation of the Bible one should be aware that many modern day speech and private translations are nothing more than an individual’s commentary (what he believes the Bible says) instead of a translation of the original text. One example of making the Bible read what man desires is seen in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., they include words in their translation which are not in the Greek text. This is found in Colossians 1:16-17 when the word “other” is inserted. There is no manuscript evidence for this.
The Bible is a Book to be Studied
God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) and can make man free (John 8:32). It should be studied (2 Timothy 2:15) and followed in order to be pleasing to Jehovah God (Matthew 7:21).
“This book contains - 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 are binding, its histories are true and its decisions immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, good to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, the Christian’s character.
Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened and the gates of Hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should rule the heart, fill the memory, and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the highest (greatest) labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy contents.”
– Author Unknown