About the Bible
Contrary to common misunderstanding, Christianity doesn't come from the Bible! The Bible comes FROM CHRISTIANITY (the life, teachings, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
The Bible tells the story but is not source of the story; it keeps the story from getting distorted over time.
WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God – the only authoritative written message from God – the book that keeps Christianity on track over the centuries so that people don't alter it to their own wishes. All Christian beliefs must align with the Bible.
- The Bible is not a single book. It is a collection of 66 different books, divided into two main parts: The Old Testament (before Jesus) and the NewTestament (after Jesus). Think of it as a mini-library of spiritual documents, usually bound into single volume of about 1200 pages.
- God didn't directly write the Bible or mechanically move the hands of those who did. It was penned (or dictated to scribes) by men chosen and inspired by God to write it, and God superintended and preserved the writing.
- The New Testament – the new covenant (plan and agreement ) between God and man through Jesus – explains Christianity. It supersedes the Old Testament. Everything a Christian needs to know is in the New Testament (in size, 23% of the entire Bible).
- There is only ONE BIBLE – not many Bibles. For example, there is not a separate Bible for Catholics, a different one for Protestants, and yet another for Eastern Orthodox. Except for some minor exceptions, everyone agrees on the exact words of the Bible. The historical manuscripts have been so well preserved that they are beyond fundamental dispute. Of course, there will always be some minor differences arising from choice of words used in various translations of the manuscripts (mostly Hebrew andGreek) into modern languages (English, Spanish, etc.)
WHO WROTE THE BIBLE?
Approximately 40 different men, working independently, were used by God to write the Bible.
- They came from different geographic areas, different political systems, different social situations and different walks of life – including king, farmer, shepherd, doctor, fisherman, priest, philosopher and tax collector.
- They ranged from educated to uneducated, from rich to poor, living on three different continents, most not knowing each other.
- Christians believe that God chose, inspired and directed these writers, and that's why, when all of these independent writings are put together, they read as a single coordinated volume.
WHEN WAS THE BIBLE WRITTEN?
The Bible was written over a period of about 1500 years.
- The Old Testament was written in Hebrew approximately 1450-450 BC.
- New Testament was written in Greek approximately 49-100 AD.
- Before the printing press, each of the books of the Bible was hand-written – copy by copy – on clay tablets, animal skins, papyrus scrolls and parchment.
- Collection and arrangement of the books, chapter numbers and verse numbers were added later to make it easy to find particular passages.
- Now, two to four millenniums later, because of its accuracy and power, the Bible is still the most-sold, most-read and most-quoted book in the world.
HOW DID WE GET THE BIBLE?
Told verbally. Wrote it down. Hundreds of years. Many manuscripts.
Here are key points for quick understanding:
- The Bible has been translated into languages
- Available free from many sources and in many forms languages translations on the Internet.
WHY BELIEVE THE BIBLE?
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Here are key reasons:
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- The Bible claims to be God's message to us. It's a credible claim because, even after centuries of time, the Bible is still the most read and ms respected book in the world.
- The Bible has been authenticated by bibliographers. People disagree on how to interpret some words of the Bible, but there's no significant disagreement as to what those actual words are.
- The Bible has been confirmed by archaeological findings.
- The Bible has been miraculously preserved despite all attempts to destroy and discredit it.
- The Bible has been accurate in foretelling future evens.
- The Bible has amazing internal unity, revealing super-human knowledge. Over 30 authors over 1500 years, yet reads as a single volume.
- The Bible states understanding that could not be known apart from God, as big bang and creation order.
- The Bible has dramatically changed lives and shaped th course of history
WHY TWO PARTS TO THE BIBLE?
Very important to understand that. Almost like two different religions, complimentary in many ways, but seemingly contradictory in many ways.
- 'Testament' means contract or agreement. The Old and the New.
- In some respects, it's unfortunate that bound in same cover because scoffers find many contradictions, not understanding that this is the good news.
- Recommend reading it, start with New Testament.
Faith grounded in Bible. Tradition, experience, etc. too. But Bible must be final authority, all beliefs essentially consistent with, allowing for non-essential differences in interpretation from culture and understanding over the years. Progressive revelation, unfolding. Basics: creator-god, we have sin problem, Jesus is Savior, life of love, judgment, eternal life.