How would you describe the Bible?: Car enthusiasts purchase a manual for a specific model for the expressed purpose of refurbishing or repairing the vehicle. It has all the right settings and details every aspect of the car from the engine, to chassis, to body. It’s everything you need to know to take care of the car and have a happy outcome.
Well, think of the Bible the same way. Instead of the automobile, the Bible is a manual for the human condition.
The Bible took 1400 years to write
Unlike other “how to” manuals, the Bible was written over a 1400 year span, by over 40 different authors. The amazing thing about these authors is that they didn’t know each other, except in a few cases. It’s all one, contiguous story, miraculously inspired by God to serve as a guidebook to bring all of us into a personal relationship with Him.
It includes some amazing predictions (prophesies), many of which have already come true, while others are forecast for the future. The writers agree with each other and all of the themes of the story never change.
For example, King David, the writer of so many of the Psalms, described the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ 500 years before it happened. The prophet Isiah did the same, only 700 years before it happened. Both of them wrote with remarkable detail. That wasn’t an accident.
The Bible has an old and new testament
The Bible has 66 books. There are 39 books in the Hebrew Bible, otherwise known as the Old Testament, and 27 books in the New Testament. There was a 400-year gap between the last book in the Hebrew Bible, Malachi, and the birth of Jesus. The books of the New Testament were written years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Jews and Christians talk of their Bibles being written by divine inspiration. The Apostle Paul wrote,
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Divine inspiration? God-breathed? I once did a sermon on that very subject. I took a lady out of the congregation and asked her if she knew anything about an race cars. She knew nothing at all.
I then told her that I would whisper in her ear everything that I wanted the people to know. Also, she was told to tell it in her own words and not just parrot what I said. To her credit, she did fine.
That is much like what God did in getting the Bible written. The 40 plus writers were guided by God’s Holy Spirit and wrote it down, in their own words, with their own style and personality. God’s personal participation also ensures that the Bible is accurate.
Revelation actually mirrors Daniel
From book-to-book, passage after passage, the Bible is an amazing work. The last book in the Bible, Revelation, for example, lines up perfectly with prophesy from the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. So much so that seminaries teach a Daniel/Revelation course. They were written more than 500 years apart.
The Bible not just a history book
While the Bible has information about history and science, it is not just a history or a science book. The Book of Genesis (the beginning) includes an account of how the universe came into an existence.
Genesis, however, does not tell us how God did it, nor does it share exact times when things occurred. That is all by design, because God wants us to accept Him at His word, by faith. We cannot prove the existence of God, therefore we must accept Him by faith. He encourages us to “seek” Him. In fact He does that 128 times.
While there is a lot of instruction in the Bible. God’s book is not intended to be taken as a list of dos and don’ts. Instead, it is intended to invite us to follow it and allow God to guide us into a close, loving relationship with Him.
There are many versions of the Bible
There are many versions of the Bible. People can choose what version they like. The King James version, written in the 1700s, can be difficult to read because language changes over time and old English is hard to follow sometimes.
Some versions, like the New International Version (NIV) are written in modern English. Either way, they say the same thing. If you really want to pick the most accurate version, for the New Testament, read it in the original Greek. The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew, but with some of it in Aramaic.
In closing, the Bible was written for you. It’s purpose is to draw you to God. Accept that by faith and start your journey.