What Is The Bible?

The Bible is a book also known as the "Scripture", the "Gospel", the "Word" and "Good News". The Bible is progressive, meaning that the stories and lessons within it are timeless. No matter what year or generation you happen to be in, you will find that it is pertinent to your life. This, and because it was inspired by the living God, is why the Bible is referred to as "The Living Word".

The Bible is not a compilation of writings that were written by some folks back in ancient times to try to sell others on God. It is however, a compilation of writings that were written by some folks back in ancient times giving accounts of events that profoundly affected them, and that they felt compelled and inspired to share with the rest of humanity. It was actually written by 40 different people over a span of around 1600 years.

The Bible contains works who's authors were scholars, fisherman, prophets, priests, tax collectors, and farmers, to name a few. Some recorded important historical events, some knew Jesus when he was alive on the earth, and some recorded stories passed down by those who had known him. The reason these particular authors writings have been selected to be included in the Bible canon is that there are ample historical texts authenticating their accounts.

The authors of the Bible were inspired to share the "Good News" with the world. Writing was their main means of preserving what they wanted to share. The authors of the Bible wrote in palaces and in meadows. They were from places like Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Rome. The Bible was originally written in the languages of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.

The Bible contains an array of different types of literature. There is poetry, didactic, epic, probes, letters, parables, proverbs, and allegory. There's drama, action, suspense, romance, adventure and even horror!

When you earnestly seek answers, God will reveal them to you. The Bible says:

Matthew 7:7-8

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

The Bible is full of insights and practical lessons. When you allow God into your heart, he will begin to reveal himself to you. The Bible is God's inspired word, so when you read and study the Bible, He'll make known to you things that you didn't understand before. Don't expect to understand everything all at once. Trust that God is using every word you read to do wonderful things in your heart and your life, and just take it one day at a time.

The Bible contains law. When we think of "law" we might wince and think of words like "restricting" and "burdensome". His law isn't that way at all! It's designed to set us free! It's the voice of a loving, experienced father guiding us so that our lives become deeply purposeful, useful and fulfilling. He want's to give us His peace and make our lives better than they've ever been before!

Each one of us has to establish our own relationship with our creator, and as individuals we'll inevitably differ somewhat in our beliefs and interpretations. That's ok. As we continue to learn and grow, we're ultimately accountable to no one other than God. The most important lesson from the Bible that we need to remember is that we are to love:

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Remember that once you have been saved by grace, no external force can change that. When Jesus died on the cross and said, "It is finished", your sins were forgiven that very day, and from the moment you asked Him into your heart your slate was wiped clean, no matter who you are, where you are, what you look like, what you've done, or what anyone else says!

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As you grow spiritually, study the word, and pray for wisdom and discernment, you will begin to experience God's hand moving in your life. Gratitude is the best way to get closer to God. Thank Him all day long for everything, and you will soon realize how richly you are blessed. The more grateful you are, the more you will be given! I think that's pretty exciting. :)

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

The Old Testament

The word "testament" primarily signifies the covenant which God entered into first with Abraham, then with the people of Israel. The Old Testament is covered in the first of two parts of the Bible(the second being the New Testament).

In "Genesis", the first book in the Old Testament, we learn about creation. The Old Testament goes on to give accounts of people who lived during the old testament and their relationship with God. We discover how a nation of God's people was built. Life was very different before Jesus came.

The Old Testament includes books of law, history, fortune, wisdom and books written by major prophets.

The New Testament

The "New Testament" is the second part of the Bible. It shows us how Israel was prepared for the arrival of Jesus. It also contains the story of Jesus; His miraculous birth, his life as an adult, his teachings and then his death and resurrection. Jesus gave people hope, taught them about God, and healed minds and bodies while he was alive on earth.

In the New Testament we are shown what happened after Jesus' death, and how the Christian faith spread throughout the world.

The final book in the Bible is "Revelation". It was written by John, who was one of Jesus' disciples. It tells about events in the end times.

Altogether there are 66 "books" or chapters in the bible. Many Bibles contain and index that allows you to look up passages that cover specific topics like love or fear. The Holy Bible generally takes 70 - 80 hours to read completely.

Biblegateway.com is a great online Bible resource, and you can even have the Bible read aloud to you with a click of a button!

We, being the stubborn humans we are, tend to resist when we hear words such as "sin", "obey", "surrender" or "worship". Maybe because to the world those words can mean weak, gullible, needy or foolish, but in reality, it's the world that makes you weak, gullible, needy and foolish. When you get to know God intimately, you'll find that He gives us strength and security in this crazy world.

Psalm 18:2-3

2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Psalm 18: 16-19
16 He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
19 He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.

In a world of distractions like smart phones, Internet, TV, music, work and busy lives, so much of the time we are removed from hearing the still small voice of God:

1 Kings 19:11-12

11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

If you decide to read the Bible for the first time, you don't have to start at page one. I recommend the book of John as a good place to start.

It's so important to intentionally seek God out. The Bible is the "living word". Find time to study it and to spend with God. What have you got to lose? There is so much more to life than the obvious, and there is so much more to you than the superficial!

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