What is the Bible?
The Bible is the Word of God and the foundation on which followers of Christ should base all that we say and do. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and pro table for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” This makes the Word of God a trustworthy authority for all matters of life.
The Bible teaches us that God is perfect and holy in all of His ways (Leviticus 20:26, 1 Peter 1:16, Revelation 15:3), therefore His Word is also perfect and holy. 2 Samuel 22:31 says, “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tested.” Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.” Because of what the Bible teaches us about God, we believe that the Bible is infallible and inerrant—it is incapable of and free from error.
Along with being infallible and inerrant, according to Hebrews 4:12, we believe that the Word of God is “living and active.” Though many throughout history have tried to destroy the Bible, we believe that God has preserved and protected His Word and will continue to do so. Our God is eternal; therefore, His Word is also eternal (Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:24-25).
Who wrote the Bible?
Over hundreds of years, God inspired numerous writers to record His words. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this rst of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
How do I read the Bible?
There are a couple of things that are important to know about the Bible when reading it. The first is that, while some of the books are in chronological order, most are not. For example, in the Table of Contents of any Bible, you will find the books of Nehemiah, Esther and Daniel, in that order. However, chronologically, these books would be Daniel, Esther, then Nehemiah.
Secondly, it is important to understand that between chapters and verses numerous years may pass. The story of Noah is a good example. In Genesis 5:32, the Bible tells us that Noah was 500 years old when he became a father. Genesis 7:6 says that Noah was 600 years old when the ood came, and in Genesis 9:28 we see that Noah lived 350 years after the ood. There are 97 verses from Genesis 5:32 to Genesis 9:28 and we have all 950 years of Noah’s life recorded.
Thirdly, comprised of sixty-six books, the Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Another word for testament is promise or covenant. The Old Testament uses history, poetry, and prophecy to tell of God’s covenant with those who would follow and believe in His promise of a Savior. The New Testament uses eye-witness accounts, letters to the early church, and prophecy to tell the story of God's fulfillment of His promise of a Savior through the person of Jesus Christ.
In the table below, you will find a breakdown of both Old and New Testament books and the categories into which they fall. This will help in understanding what you are reading when you open the Bible.
As we read the Bible today, each book is broken up into chapter and verse. It is important to keep in mind that these books were originally written in historical account, poetic verse, and letter form. It was not until the AD 1500s that chapter and verse were added to the Bible. The reason for adding chapter and verse was to assist the reader in memorization and, most importantly, reference.
Another very important thing to keep in mind while reading the Bible is context. Men have leveraged the Scripture for their own gain; they have held people in bondage under rules that are not found in the Bible at all; they have misled countless numbers of people for generations by abusing and misusing the truth of the Word of God. For example, Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” If we look only at this verse, all that we learn is that we are not to judge and if we do, we will be judged. However, that is not what Christ teaches here at all. In the verses that follow in Matthew 7:2-5, Jesus says, “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, rst take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” We see what is truly meant in verse 1 by reading the surrounding verses. Christians are not told here to not judge; they are told to not be hypocritical in their judgment. We must read Scripture in proper context and be willing to look deeper than only one verse so that, as Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:15, we can accurately handle the Word of truth.
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- Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God?
- Do you spend daily time reading your Bible? If not, when will you start?