Summary: The Bible is a living, and active collection of books breathed out by God. Studying it is essential to being a disciple of Jesus. Today men will learn the structure of the Bible, tools for studying the Bible, translations of the Bible.
Now I've got to tell you, this isn't the favorite subject of many men, and it's not all that inspiring. But I've got to say to you every time I do this in one of our Resolute groups; men walk away going, "Wow. I'm so glad I understand that now." Today's sermon is going to give you a brief overview of the Bible. It's going to help you to understand its structures. I'm going to provide you with some tools that are going to help you. We're going to look a little bit at canonization and the various translations of the Bible. And all this is helpful because what we're trying to understand is the truth in the Bible. If the Bible we believe holds the truth for life and Godliness, then we have to figure out how to get after that truth. And understanding the structure of the Bible is the beginning of all that. So let's dive into it.
The Bible itself is divided into two major sections. These two major sections of the Bible are the Old Testament and the New Testament. Now, the Old Testament has about five major parts that it's sub-divided into. That is law, history, poetry, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. Now, I'm not going to read to you every book of the Bible right now, so you can understand which section it falls into - or sub-category it falls into - but let me share with you the books of the law.
The books of the law are this: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These are often referred to as the Torah by the Jewish people, and it's their book of law. The Old Testament in all of its glory is essentially the Jewish Bible, and it is written in the language of Hebrew. Important to note here that when you're reading the Old Testament, you are reading the Jewish Bible. And so when you're diving in there - you can understand the context of that for the Israelite people, as they were journeying through the Old Testament.
The New Testament itself is a newer covenant and this everything from Jesus's life forward. It is divided into significant sections as well. So you have sub-categories of the gospels, history, Paul's letters. You also have the message to the Hebrews, which stands alone. Letters to churches, and then the famous book of prophecy we know as Revelation.
Now, the gospels are probably the most crucial section of this Bible to note, because inside of it we see the letters in red which is the life of Jesus and the words that Jesus Christ spoke himself. Those books - which are called Gospels - are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are written much earlier; John, written much later. John is the book of love, and so it is written in narrative form. Kind of like a story, looking back on the life of Jesus many years later. And so if I were going to recommend a first book of the Bible for anybody to read, it would always be John.
If there were a second book of the Bible that I would tell somebody to read, it would also be in the New Testament, and it would be the book of history that we know as the book of Acts. This is the spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire, and it tells you about how Paul spent his time on his three missionary journeys as he was planting churches across the Roman Empire. It gives you context for understanding most of Paul's letters - like the book of Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, etc., and all the books that Paul wrote in the New Testament.
Finally, you've got the book of Hebrews, which we don't know who exactly wrote that because there is no authorship connected to it. Most people assume it's Paul and it kind of sounds like a Pauline letter. And then you've got random letters to churches, like James, First and Second Peter, First and Second, Third John and Jude. And then the book of Prophecy - finally, which is always the first book everybody wants to read in the Bible for some reason. And then, there you have it. That's the essential structure of the Bible itself - Old and New Testament.
Now I've got to tell you; there are many ways that we can find tools that will help us to understand the Bible. There are all kinds of tools in the market, and all sorts of things that you could spend your money on that will help you to understand the Bible. Now, there's a list that I give you in today's study guide - commentaries, lexicons, concordances, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. There are all kinds of tools. But if you were to find and to use one tool, I would suggest a very basic level commentary.