Summary: This is an overview of the Bible, we subtitled it Genesis to Revelation in 25 minutes. It actually took 28 but you can’t breath while you preach it.
This book contains 6000 years of recorded history. It tells the stories of the Jewish people, of the Messiah Jesus and of the early church. It contains intrigue and romance, love and betrayal. It’s made up of flowing poetry, gripping prose and soaring apocalyptical prophecies. It’s not just one book it’s a collection of many books, written by many authors, authors who we believe were working under the inspiration of the almighty God. But those many books make one book; a book that we believe was preserved for us by God for instruction, information and edification. And we are going to look at it all in 25 minutes so hold on.
Let’s start with some basic stuff. The Bible contains 66 books and is divided into two major portions, the Old Testament with 39 books and the New Testament with 27 books. There are 1189 chapters in the Bible: 929 in the Old Testament and 260 in the New Testament.
The Longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119 with 176 verses. The shortest chapter is Psalm 117 with 2 verses. Psalm 117 is also the middle chapter in the Bible. The Longest verse is Esther 8:9 the shortest verse is John 11:35.
Although the stories of the Bible range across what we now know as the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean they are primarily centred in what was known as Canaan in the Old Testament and Israel in the New Testament. If we pull up a map of that area this is where most of it happened. Centred in what we know now as Israel Canaan stretched as far north as Lebanon and as far south as Egypt and east into what is now Syria and Jordon.
The first five books of the bible are called either the Pentateuch which is Greek for “Five scrolls” or simply the Torah which means the law. This section includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Tradition tells us that Moses was the author of these five books however during the past 100 years some scholars have come to the conclusion that there were several different authors. However they don’t have any concrete proof of that theory. The reality is that Moses could have written them. We are told that he was educated in the Pharaohs court and from scripture we know that Moses was able to write. He was the leader and organizer of a movement that he believed would last for many generations so it’s likely he would have wanted to record their history for future posterity.
Scholars feel that these books were probably written fifteen hundred years before Christ was born.
The first book of the bible Genesis contains many of the bible stories that we learned about in Sunday School it contains the story of Creation and the first couple: Adam and Eve along with how they disobeyed God and were expelled from the Garden of Eden as a result. The account of Noah and the ark is here and how God destroyed the world because the inhabitants became so evil. It’s in this book that we read about Abraham and Sarah and how their son Isaac was born in their old age.
This is also where we read about Joseph’s coat of many colours and his adventures in Egypt.
In the next four books we read about the baby Moses being placed in a basket in the Nile River to escape Pharaoh’s plan to kill all the male children of the Israelites. And how he was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the palace. How Moses eventually led God’s people out of the slavery they were in in Egypt, and how God parted the Red Sea to help them escape. It’s in these books that Moses was given the Ten Commandments and we see how God led the people through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud during the day and column of fire at night. How they were fed miraculously with Manna and Quail and water that sprang out of rocks. We learn of their disobedience and lack of faith and that they had to wander for 40 years in the wilderness before they could enter the Promised Land. It’s in these five books that the fundamental laws of the Jews were laid down.
The Pentateuch ends with the death of Moses.
The next section of books is referred to as the Historical Books by most and as the Early Prophets by others. It includes the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. These books cover about nine hundred years in the history of God’s chosen people. They chronicle the history of the nation of Israel starting with the Israelites finally entering the Promised Land or the Land of Milk and Honey under the leadership of Joshua and Caleb. We had discovered in the previous section that when Moses had sent spies into the Promised Land that only Joshua and Caleb believed that God could keep his promise and give the land to the children of Israel, and as a result they were the only ones who saw the promise fulfilled.