Summary: Questions and Issues Relating to the Bible.
WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
The Bible is a collection of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament or Old Covenant, and 27 in the New Testament or New Covenant. We can think of the Old Covenant as being the old contract or the old deal between God and men, while the New Covenant is the new contract or the new deal between God and man. The Old Testament contains the Law of Moses, books of history, books of poetry, books of wisdom, and books of prophecy, many of which are fulfilled today in amazing detail. The New Testament contains the story of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the story of the early church in the book of Acts, letters written to various churches and church leaders, and a book of prophecy - Revelation.
All the books of the Bible, written over a period of around 1600 years, give a consistent picture of who God is, who we are, what God wants, and what we can expect depending on our choices in this life. The Bible reveals the story of how God has dealt with mankind, His chosen nation of Israel and His New Covenant people, the Church. The Bible speaks with the same authority and relevance today regarding who He is and what He is doing in our times. It speaks to us regarding what will happen in the future and how God will change everything.
The Bible is not just a book of rules and ancient history. It contains thousands of wonderful promises which are applicable to all who believe in all times. The challenge that faces mankind today is to know, understand and experience the wonderful things that God promises to do for those who believe. God's promises in the Bible guarantee us more than enough for all our needs in every area. The only condition is to trust and obey God, and expect Him to do what He says He will do. If we don't we are the losers.
If we know the New Testament or the New Contract well, and apply it intelligently to our lives, we will be blessed both now and in eternity. If we reject its warnings and disregard its promises we do so to our own hurt - both now and especially for eternity.
The Old Testament begins in the book of Genesis with an account of the creation of the world by God, and then continues with the story of the beginnings of human history. The rest of the Old Testament reveals mostly the history and the heart condition of the people of Israel in different periods before the coming of the promised Messiah.
The New Testament shows us the most important events of the life and work of Jesus the Messiah, how many Jewish people rejected their own Messiah and how from there God's offer of salvation began to go out into all the world. It uncovers more of God's promises and more information about our enemy, Satan, and how we can overcome his plans by trusting and obeying God.
The Bible tells us about God and how we can come back to Him. It shows us the character and ways of God, the person of God in Jesus Christ our Lord, who we are and how we ought to live. It tells us our origins, our identity and our destiny.
The Central Person of the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ. Any understanding of the Bible which ignores Jesus has missed the point of the Bible (see John 5:39-40). The Scriptures point us to Jesus, the Word of God (Rev. 19:13), in whom we have life. The Pharisees and other religious people study the Bible but miss Jesus and thereby miss the purpose of it.
THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE - what the Bible claims for itself.
The Bible was written down by different human authors of varying backgrounds. Some were fishermen, others, shepherds. One was a tax collector! Yet behind each one of them was God the Holy Spirit who inspired what they wrote. "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 1:21). "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)
Jesus taught that the Scripture is the Word of God. Talking about the Old Testament, Jesus said "Have you not read what was SPOKEN to you BY GOD". (Matthew 22.31). And again, in John 10:34,35, Jesus equates the Old Testament or Scripture with "the Word of God". He says that "the Scripture cannot be broken." Anyone who disobeys God's Word breaks himself, but not God's Word or its integrity.