Table of Contents / Overview
- The Book Itself
- God, the Author of the Bible
- The Old Testament
- The New Testament
- The Meaning of Inspiration
- The Bible Alone Reveals God's Purpose
The Bible is a unique book. In fact, it is not one book but is made up of many books bound together in one volume. Yet although written by different men at different times, all the books claim to have the same author - God Himself, the Creator of the Universe. The books were written to teach men and women about God and His plan for the earth and to show them how they can find a place in that plan. Nowhere else can we obtain this knowledge.
Jesus said, "All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me". If we would be followers of Christ, we must have the same confidence in the books of the Bible. Every book is valuable and the lesson which follows is designed to help you understand what the Bible is, what it contains, and why we must believe that it is the WORD OF GOD.
Begin by reading again the first lesson you received in the first short course Lesson 1 The Bible. Remember that the Bible is really a collection of books bound together - a library of books. Now look at the list of books, or index, at the beginning of your Bible. The books are in two main divisions:-
- THE OLD TESTAMENT:
- the books of Moses (the first five books)
- the historical books from Joshua to Esther
- the books of poetry from Job to Song of Solomon
- the books of the Prophets from Isaiah to Malachi
- THE NEW TESTAMENT:
- The Gospel Records, the first four books which are four records of the life and teaching of Jesus
- Acts of the Apostles describes the work of The Apostles in spreading the Gospel
- Various Epistles (or letters) written to groups of Christians or to individuals
- Book of Revelation this book and its objects are described in Revelation 1 vs. 1-2
LOOK AT THE OPENING VERSES OF SOME OF THE BOOKS AND NOTICE WHO WROTE THEM, THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE WRITERS, THEIR PLACE AND TIME OF WRITING. SOME EXAMPLES ARE LISTED BELOW: IN OTHER CASES NO INFORMATION IS GIVEN, e.g. THE BOOKS OF KINGS AND CHRONICLES.
|NAME OF BOOK||WRITER||SOME DETAILS|
|Isaiah||Isaiah||B.C. 700 (approx) in the days of some of the later kings of Judah.|
|II Timothy||Apostle Paul||Written while in prison in Rome|
|Revelation||Apostle John||Received in the Island of Patmos where he was in exile|
- Isaiah 1 v 1
- II Timothy 1 vs 1-5
- II Timothy 4 vs. 6-8 & 16-17
- Revelation 1 vs. 1-3 & 9
The writers of the books of the Bible lived during a period of about 1,600 years and wrote in places many miles apart. Many books were written in Israel, the book of Daniel was written in Babylon and some of the New Testament letters were written from Rome. For the most part the OLD TESTAMENT was written in HEBREW and the NEW TESTAMENT was written in GREEK.
Our Bible is an English Translation.
Some of the names of the books of the Bible appear strange to us. The first book is called GENESIS - the name means "beginning". LOOK AT THE OPENING OF THE FIRST CHAPTER AND SEE WHY IT IS SO CALLED.(Genesis 1 v 1). EXODUS means "way out" and the book describes how Israel were led out of Egypt where they had been slaves. The word is related to the word "exit".
It is important to become familiar with the order of the books of the Bible.
THE NEXT SECTION HAS A LARGE NUMBER OF PASSAGES TO LOOK UP. THIS IS TO HELP YOU TO LEARN TO FIND YOUR WAY ABOUT THE BIBLE. LOOK UP EACH PASSAGE AND MAKE NOTES FOR YOUR OWN REFERENCE.
So far we have examined the Bible and its structure and learnt something of the writers of the various books.
It is important to understand that these men were only instruments writing under the direction of God himself. This is made clear by the following examples and references.
Moses was spoken to by God. He wrote down what God said. God commanded the prophets to record His Word. If you turn over the pages of the books of the prophets you will find many chapters which begin "Thus saith the Lord" or "The word of the Lord came unto me saying". Note particularly the opening words of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
The prophets sometimes dictated to a scribe.
- Numbers 12 vs. 6-8
- Genesis 1 vs. l-5
- Numbers 33 v 2
- Isaiah 30 v 8
- Jeremiah 30 v 2
- Ezekiel 43 vs. 10-11
- Jeremiah 1 vs. 1-9
- Ezekiel 1 vs. 1-3
- Jeremiah 36 vs. 1-4
Jesus said that his message was from God who bore witness to its truth. Jesus imparted the Gospel message to Paul who recorded that this was so. Paul and other writers wrote the Word of God. Paul's letters were copied and passed to others to read. John wrote what he was commanded by Jesus to record.
- John 8 v 28
- John 5 v 36
- Galatians 1 vs. 6-12
- Corinthians 14 v 37
- I Thessalonians 2 v 13
- I Peter 1 v 25
- I Thessalonians 5 v 27
- Revelation 1 vs 1 and 11
IN SPITE OF DIFFERENT TIMES, OCCUPATIONS AND WRITERS, ALL THE MESSAGES WERE RECEIVED FROM GOD BY THE OPERATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. THUS THE BIBLE CLAIMS TO BE THE WORD OF GOD AND DECLARES A CONSISTENT MESSAGE THROUGHOUT.
NOTE HOW JESUS REGARDED THE OLD TESTAMENT AND QUOTED FROM IT. PAUL AND THE OTHER WRITERS DID THE SAME. FROM ALL THIS EVIDENCE WE CAN JUSTLY CONCLUDE THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD. WE CAN RELY ON IT. IT IS WITHOUT ERROR.
- II Peter 1 vs 20-21
- II Timothy 3 vs 14-17
- Matthew 4 vs 3-4
- Matthew 12 v 3
- Matthew 19 v 4
- Matthew 21 v 13
- Matthew 22 v 29
- Luke 24 v 25-27 & 44
- Galatians 3 v 8
- Ephesians 4 v 8
- Acts 24 v 14
- Acts 26 v 22
- James 2 v 23
- I Peter 1 v 16
The word "inspiration" in the passages you have looked at means that God "breathed" into the writers. Look at II Peter 1 v 21 again. That is He put into their minds the thoughts that they were to write down. They "were moved" by the power of God.
An example of the power of God - The Holy Spirit - working in this way is found in the case of Jeremiah. He had an unpleasant message to declare and was ill-treated for his preaching. He made up his mind to stop preaching but ... read Jeremiah 20 v 9.
Divine inspiration applies to ALL Scripture, including the historical and poetical books. Read again II Timothy 3 v 15.
Because the Bible is GOD'S revelation to man, GOD is exalted and HIS word is magnified.
- Psalm 138 v 2
- Ephesians 4 vs. 1-6
- Isaiah 45 vs. 5-7
- Isaiah 46 v 9
Man is abased and put in his right place in God's sight;
READ what the following have to say:
Note the complete agreement of teaching throughout the Bible.
We have now learnt:-
- The Bible claims to be God's Word. This claim is true.
- The Bible is wholly (not partly) the Word of God and free from error.
- The remarkable harmony all through the Bible is one evidence of this.
- In view of the way it was produced over a long period of time its claim must be true.
- God has preserved the Bible since the first century to our days - so the message of God's Word applies to us.
Further evidence of the Divine origin of the Bible will be seen in later lessons when we study examples of fulfilled prophecy in relation to people, nations and places.
A deeper study of the Bible reveals a remarkable harmony between its various parts even in little details that are mentioned.
Nature declares God's power and glory but the Bible alone reveals His purpose.
- Acts 14 v 17
- Psalm 19 vs. 1-6
The Divine mind is to be found in the Bible.
- Psalm 19 v 7-11
- Psalm 119
God declared His purpose in the beginning
- Genesis 1 vs. 26-31
- Isaiah 45 v 18
God declared His purpose to Moses.
- Numbers 14 v 21
God declared His purpose to the prophets.
- Daniel 2 v 44
- Habakkuk 2 v 14
NOTE: THEY ALL WROTE IT DOWN AND PAUL SUMMARISES IT IN 1 Corinthians 15 vs. 22-28.
BEFORE GOING ON, NOTE THE COMPLETE HARMONY THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE.
The Divine purpose - the purpose of God - was contained in various promises which will be considered later. In each case these promises were confirmed.
|The promise to Abraham||Genesis 12 v 1||Hebrews 6 vs. 13-19|
|The promise to David about a future king||II Samuel 7 vs. 12-16||Luke 1 vs. 31-33|
|The promise to set up the Kingdom of God||Daniel 2 v 44||Acts 17 v 31|
Why have all these records been preserved?
- Romans 15 v 4
- II Timothy 3 vs. 14-17
The Bible and Ourselves
You have been asked to turn up many passages so that you may see for yourself what the Bible is and why we may have confidence in it. However, the only way to gain full confidence in the Bible and its message is to read it for yourself. Moreover, since the whole Bible is the inspired Word of God, it is essential to read it all and to read it regularly and systematically. If we are really convinced that the Bible is the word of God it will be a pleasure to do this.
The tables to be found in "The Bible Companion" are invaluable. By following them we read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice each year. By so doing our confidence and faith in the Bible, our knowledge and our desire to obey its commands increase continually. We come to share the feelings of David, "O, how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end".
- How many books are contained in the Old Testament?
- Name TWELVE men who were employed by the Spirit of God in writing the Bible.
- What have the following books in common? Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians.
- "The Bible is the Word of God". Support this statement by Bible quotations.
- Explain what is meant by "inspiration".
- In what way does the message of the Bible apply to you?