What is the Bible?

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

What we today call 'The Bible' is actually a collection of 66 books, written by about 40 different authors from all walks of life (kings, fishermen, a tax collector, tent maker, etc.) over a period of 1,600 years. Each book was considered God-breathed and was received as part of the canon of Scripture, since it came from a recognized speaker of God (normally a prophet or apostle, or someone under their supervision).

The various authors wrote their books under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed’). This means that God the Holy Spirit guided the writers so that all of the words they recorded in their own distinctive styles on the original scrolls were not from their own will, but God's (2 Peter 1:21). The men who wrote the books listed in what we call the ‘Old Testament’ (OT) wrote mainly in the Hebrew language (a few parts were written in Aramaic). The writers of the ‘New Testament’ (NT) books (written after Jesus returned to Heaven) wrote mainly in the common language of their time—Greek.

Since the Bible is the complete Word of God, who cannot lie, we can trust it to tell us the truth about the things we need to know. Because it is the Word of the Creator, we accept it as our final authority in every area it touches on. When we take the Bible as the writer intended, and in the way his original audience would have understood it, we have a basis for understanding and explaining what we observe in the world.

Divisions of the Bible

The Old Testament has 39 books. The Jews divided these books into three divisions: the Law, the Prophets, the Writings. Our English Bible divides the OT into four main groups:

The Law: These books relay the history of the universe from the very beginning. They also tell about God’s working through the nation of Israel, and the laws given for Israel to follow.

History: These 12 books continue the history of Israel, cover 1,000 years, and show the results of disobedience or obedience to God.

Poetry: These books express worship toward God, give advice, and address some deep issues.

Prophets: These books proclaim God’s blessings and judgments, and tell about future events. They are divided into Major and Minor prophets depending on the length of the book.

The 27 books of the New Testament are arranged into four divisions:

The Gospels: These four books record the time Jesus spent on Earth, His death, and Resurrection.

Church history: The book of Acts records the beginning of the church, and the spread of Christianity to the time of the Apostle Paul.

The Letters: These 21 letters from apostles were addressed to churches in such places as Rome, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi and Colosse, or to individuals, or to Christians in general. They teach about Christianity and how to live the Christian life.

Revelation: This book was written to encourage Christians suffering persecution. It also reveals what will happen in the future, when the new heaven and a new Earth will be created for those who have received the free gift of eternal life.

This content is from thebibleproject.com.

Also, check out the rest of the video series here to learn more about how to read the Bible.

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