INTRODUCING THE BIBLE
Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
Write the Key Verse from memory.
Define the word "Bible."
Define the word "Scripture."
Explain the origin of the Bible.
Identify the major purposes of the Bible.
Identify the Old and New Testaments as the two major divisions of
Name the four divisions of Old Testament books.
Name the four divisions of New Testament books.
Explain what is meant by the "unity and diversity" of
Identify the person upon whom the revelation of both testaments
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
(II Timothy 3:16-17)
This chapter introduces the Bible which is the written Word of the
one true God. The word "Bible" means "the books." The Bible
is one volume which consists of 66 separate books.
The word "Scripture" is also used to refer to God's
Word. This word comes from a Latin word which means "writing." When
the word "Scripture" is used with a capital "S" it means
the sacred writings of the one true God. The word "Bible" is not used
in the Bible. It is a word used by men as a title for all of God's Words.
ORIGIN OF THE BIBLE
The Bible is the written Word of God. He inspired the words in the
Bible and used approximately 40 different men to write down His words. These
men wrote over a period of 1500 years. The perfect agreement of these writers
is one proof that they were all guided by a single author. That author was God.
Some of the writers wrote down exactly what God said: Take thee a roll of a
book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against
Israel. (Jeremiah 36:2)
Other writers wrote what they experienced or what God revealed
concerning the future: Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things
which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. (Revelation 1:19) All of
the writers wrote under God's inspiration the words of His message for us.
THE PURPOSE OF THE BIBLE
The Bible itself records its main purpose: All Scripture is given
by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:16-17)
The Scriptures are to be used to teach doctrine, to reprove and
correct from evil, and to teach righteousness. They will help you
live right and equip you to work for God.
The Bible is divided into two major sections called the Old
Testament and the New Testament. The word "testament" means
"covenant." A covenant is an agreement.
The Old Testament
records God's original covenant or agreement with man.
The New Testament
records the new covenant made by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. What was
the subject of these two agreements?
They both concerned restoring sinful
man to right relationship with God. God made a law that sin can only be
forgiven through the shedding of blood: without shedding of blood is no
remission (forgiveness). (Hebrews 9:22)
Everyone who looks back to it as having been fulfilled in Jesus Christ is saved in the same way: Through faith that it happened just as God promised.
DIVERSITY OF THE BIBLE
When we speak of the "diversity" of the Bible we mean that the Bible has variety. It records different ways in which God dealt with people and the different ways in which they responded to Him.
The Bible is written in different moods. Some portions express joy while others reflect sorrow.
The Bible includes different types of writing. It contains history, poetry, prophecy, letters, adventure, parables, miracles, and love stories. Because of its variety, the Bible has been further divided into major groups of books.
OLD TESTAMENT DIVISIONS The books of the Old Testament are divided into four major groups: Law, history, poetry and prophecy.
THE BOOKS OF THE LAW:
There are five books of law. The names of these books are: Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy
These books record the creation of man and the world by God and the early history of man. They tell how God raised up the nation of Israel as a people through which He could reveal Himself to the nations of the world. These books record the laws of God. The best known parts are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), the greatest of all commandments (Deuteronomy 6:5), and the second greatest commandment (Leviticus 19:18). Open your Bible and locate the books of Law in the Old Testament. Locate the three verses mentioned in the preceding paragraph and read them. These are an example of the laws of God recorded in these books.
THE BOOKS OF HISTORY:
There are 12 books of history in the Old Testament.
The names of the books of history are: Joshua Judges Ruth I and II Samuel I and II Kings I and II Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther Locate these books in your Bible.
They are found right after the books of law. The books of history cover a thousand year history of God's people, Israel. Naturally they do not tell everything that happened, but they record the major events and show the results of both following and ignoring God's law.
THE BOOKS OF POETRY:
There are five books of poetry. The names of the books of poetry are: Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Solomon
These books are the worship books of God's people, Israel. They still are used in worship by believers today. Turn to Psalm 23 and read it. This is an example of the beautiful worship poetry contained in these books.
THE BOOKS OF PROPHECY:
The books of prophecy are the Old Testament are divided into two groups which are called Major and Minor prophetical books. This does not mean the Major Prophets are more important than the Minor Prophets. The title is simply used because the Major Prophets are longer books than the Minor Prophets. There are 17 books of prophecy in the Old Testament. The names of the books of prophecy are: Major Prophets: Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Minor Prophets: Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi These books are prophetic messages from God to His people about future events. Many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled, but some remain to be fulfilled in the future. Find these prophetic books in your Bible. They are the last books in the Old Testament.
NEW TESTAMENT DIVISIONS
The New Testament has also been divided into four groups: Gospels, History, Letters, and Prophecy.
There are four books in the Gospels.
The names of these books are: Matthew Mark Luke John
These books tell about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Their purpose is to lead you to believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Find the Gospels in your Bible and then read John 20:31 which states this purpose.
THE BOOK OF HISTORY:
There is one book of history in the New Testament, the book of Acts.
This book tells how the church began and fulfilled Christ's commission to spread the Gospel throughout the world. Locate this book in your Bible.
There are 21 letters in the New Testament.
The names of these letters are: Romans I and II Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians I and II Thessalonians I and II Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James I and II Peter I, II, and III John
The letters are addressed to all believers. Their purpose is to guide them in living and help them do what Jesus commanded. Romans 12 is a good example of their teaching. Turn to this chapter in your Bible and read it. The letters are also sometimes called "epistles" which means letters.
PROPHECY: Revelation is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament. It tells of the final victory of Jesus and His people. Its purpose is to encourage you to keep living as a Christian should live until the end of time. Its message is summarized in Revelation 2:10.