Front Page 
ReadBibleAlive.com
Series Contents
Series Theme: Apologetics
Abbreviated Contents:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introductory

1. Why Important

2. What is it?

3, Why Trust it?

4. Why not easy

5. How come?

6. Further Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introductory

1. Why Important

2. What is it?

3, Why Trust it?

4. Why not easy

5. How come?

6. Further Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introductory

1. Why Important

2. What is it?

3, Why Trust it?

4. Why not easy

5. How come?

6. Further Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introductory

1. Why Important

2. What is it?

3, Why Trust it?

4. Why not easy

5. How come?

6. Further Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introductory

1. Why Important

2. What is it?

3, Why Trust it?

4. Why not easy

5. How come?

6. Further Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title:   21. Questions about the Bible in General

                            (An Introductory Overview)

        

A series that helps consider the foundations for faith

Contents for Overview:

   

Introductory Comments

•  Defining our aims   

1. Why is the Bible so important to the Christian?

•  Tells of Jesus, teaches, is God speaking, is testimony, helps change us

2. What actually is the Bible?

•  An overview

3. Why can we Trust It?

•  What others have said about it

4. So why isn't it always easy to Read and Understand?

•  The difficulties to be overcome.

5. How did the present books come to be in the Bible?

•  A brief synopsis to be considered in detail later.

6. Further Questions for Consideration

•  Some other things to be considered in detail later.

      

Introductory Comments

   

This page simply introduces us to the Bible.

  

It merely starts opening up the areas for consideration which will be dealt with in following pages.

    

Here we will look at why the Bible is important to Christians, what it actually is, why it is not always easy to read, and how it came to be.

     

   

      

1. Why is the Bible so important to the Christian?

    

Answer:

 

a) The News about Jesus                                                      

 

“The truth of Christianity is that it is true to what is there” Francis Schaeffer said in He is There and He is not Silent.

      

In other words the Bible brings to us the world as it is.

    

However, part of it tells us all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the founder of what we now call the Christian faith.

  

Without the Bible, we would not know in detail who Jesus was and what he has done and how it affects us – this is how important the Bible is to us!

          

    

b) A Purpose Declared

 

Speaking of itself it says, recording the apostle Paul's verdict of it:

     

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3;16,17)

     

Thus from this Christians consider it is useful for:

    •  teaching – imparting knowledge and understanding
    •   rebuking – tell off or chiding – pointing out when we go wrong
    •  correcting – showing the right way to go
    •  training – bringing order and discipline into our lives.

         

c) A Divine Origin Claimed

 

However, perhaps the most important feature of those two verses was the opening declaration that the Bible is ‘God-breathed.'

   

Many times in the Bible itself we find the word, “God said,” or similar indications of God's involvement.

       

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" (Heb 1:1,2)

     

The Bible is all about God speaking.

     

        

d) Eyewitness Testimony

  

The apostle Peter in his letter affirms that the Gospels are what they saw and heard:

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain (2 Pet 1:16 -18)

     

 The apostle John similarly affirms this:

    

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard , which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched --this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.” (1 Jn 1:1-4)  

     

 Similarly, the historian, Luke, explains the carefulness with which he has gone about the task of compiling his Gospel:

            

“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught(Lk 1:1-4)

          

The apostle John is quite open about why he writes and the extent of what happened:

              

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (Jn 20:30,31)

        

 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (Jn 21;35)

       

In these and in many other instances, the writers of the Bible declare that God has spoken, and God has come!

 

e) General Effect

 

In addition, Christians will say of the Bible that:

    • it changes us
    •  it brings us assurance
    •  it guides us
    •   it brings health & healing
    •  defends & strengthens against temptation
    •  releases power in us
    •  brings cleansing, forgiveness & refreshing

     

  

      

2. What actually is the Bible?

   

Answer: 

   

a) Generally

 

The word Bible is derived from the Greek biblia , meaning "books," and refers to the sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity.

    

The Bible consists of two parts:

•    the Old Testament, consists of the sacred writings of the Jewish people and was written originally in Hebrew, except for a few portions in Aramaic.
  
•    the New Testament, was written in Greek and records the story of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity.

   

It is 66 ‘books' written by at least 40 different authors covering a time span of about two thousand years.

      

It is made up of history (narrative), teaching, prophecy and poetry.

    

It sells about 44 millions copies worldwide every year

    

It has been translated into over 2000 different languages

 

   

b) Its Breakdown

 

The canon, or officially accepted list of books in the Hebrew Bible, consists of 24 books according to Jewish reckoning and is divided into three parts:  

    
 The Law - the Law (the Torah), often called the Pentateuch, comprises five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy
  
The Prophets - divided into three parts:
  • the earlier prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings);
  • the later prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel);
  • twelve books called the Minor Prophets because of their brevity.
The Writings
The 11 Writings include three poetic books (Psalms, Proverbs, and Job); the five scrolls (Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther); an apocalyptic work, Daniel; and Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 and 2 Chronicles.

        

Christian Bibles arrange the books differently:

      •  The Law, or Pentateuch,
      •  the historical books.
      •  the poetical, or wisdom, books
      •  the prophetic books.

  

For a detail of the history of that included in the Old Testament see later pages.

    

    

      

3. Why can we Trust It?

    

Answer:

   

In general it is useful to see what authoritative persons said:

   

•  The early church fathers affirmed the Scriptures: Irenaeus - “The Scriptures are perfect ”
•   Reformers in 16th century spoke of them: Luther - “Scripture which has never erred ”  
•   Roman Catholic doctrine in Vatican II: The Scriptures “written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit... have God as their author ... without error”

  

•  In the twentieth century, theologian and renowned Christian philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, said the Scriptures were “complete and sufficient” i.e. they do not tell us everything there is to know about God but they tell us sufficient upon which to base our well-founded faith.

          

Millions of people can testify to how their lives have been changed by it.

        

In May 1928 Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin said: “The Bible is highly explosive. But it works in strange ways and no living man can tell or know how that book, in its journey through the world, has startled the individual soul in ten thousand different places into a new life, a new world, a new belief, a new conception, a new faith.”

   

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (of Ancient Mariner fame) wrote: “I perused the books of the Old and New Testaments - each book as a whole and also as an integral part. And need I say that I have met everywhere more or less copious sources of truth and power, and purifying impulses - that I have found words for my inmost thoughts, songs for my joy, utterances for my hidden griefs, and pleadings for my shame and my feebleness”

   

 

     

4. So why isn't it always easy to read and understand?

         

Answer:

  

There is a variety of writing - history, poetry, teaching, prophecy

  •  some is meant to be taken literally, others not (e.g. poetry)

 

There are different cultures to ours.

  •  imagine an alien coming to our culture and needing explanations   

It is a different period in history to ours

  •  as with any historical periods there are differences from ours.

It was written in different languages to ours

  • therefore it has had to be translated and words differ in meaning.

 

There are many different styles of writing used

  • as with any literature, it needs understanding.

 

It is spiritual and we aren't always very spiritual!

    

 

    

5. How did the present books come to be in the Bible?

    

Answer:

    

We will look at this later in detail on the pages of how the Old & New Testaments came to be.

  

Essentially, the Old Testament books were venerated by the Jews and eventually brought together and accepted for what they were in the centuries before Christ.

    

The New Testament collection process began in the 2nd century and continued on through the next two centuries.

   

There were strict rules as to what should be included, as we'll see later.    

          

      

 

6. Further Questions for Consideration

         

What we have considered here, has purely been for interest and as a start towards thinking why we have the Bible, and its use for us.

  

There are of course many other questions we will need to look at as well in the coming pages, for example:

•   How do we know who wrote it?
•   How can we be sure what we have is what they wrote?
•   How can we be sure they didn't just make it up

    

There's a big field to consider!

             

 

Return to Top