What is The BIBLE?
- The Bible is the book that Christians use to determine their faith and guide their practice.
- The Bible is a Book of books because it is a book that contains a number of books.
- The Bible is also viewed by some as the Book of all books because they believe the writings in it were inspired by God.
How did The BIBLE come to be viewed as “inspired” by God?
- The word “inspired” means, in one sense, “God-breathed” … or by the Spirit of God, who is able to influence thought, supernaturally.
- To view The Bible as inspired is to believe that those who wrote the Bible wrote only what God wanted (and caused) them to write, NOT what they wanted to write.
- Please NOTE, however, that it is NOT the text of a Bible, as we now have it, that was inspired, BUT the message of the Bible. The text must only be seen as the vehicle that was/is used to convey the message from God to Man.
How is The BIBLE different from The HOLY SCRIPTURES?
- The Holy Scriptures were the original documents that were written by persons who were inspired by God, in terms of what to write.
- The Bible, generally speaking, is a document that is based on a translation.
- The “Bible” that a person reads is really a version of a translation or, in some cases, a version of a version.
Were The HOLY SCRIPTURES inspired by God?
Is The BIBLE inspired by God?
- The easy answer would be Yes and No … but the correct answer is NOT REALLY?
- This is because the “book” one refers to as a Bible is really a translation … a version of a translation … or a version of a copy of a translation.
- The versions of The Bible have been written by persons, guided by interpretation, whereas the Holy Scriptures were written by persons guided by inspiration.
- Some meanings that were in the original autographs were lost in translation … and some errors have crept into modern versions (and even older manuscripts) because of errors in interpretation.
Is The BIBLE a reliable guide for faith and practice?
- YES … because it contains the word of God.
- Let us be clear … Even though the Bible (as we have it now) is NOT the word of God, it CONTAINS the word of God.
- It is the TEXT of The Bible that has been corrupted, NOT the MESSAGE of The Bible.
- The text of the Bible is like a physical vehicle carrying a spiritual message that was inspired by God.
- While the vehicle may have faults, the message that God wanted to convey to Man is still inspired, intact, error-free and without fault.
- That inspired message, however, can only be understood with the help of the Holy Spirit.
- While a passage may be confusing, because it is worded differently in translations and versions, the Holy Spirit can help us to understand the God-intended meaning of that passage … and those who need to understand it will understand it.
Why should anyone trust The BIBLE?
- The unity of its message … despite being written by about 40 different persons, who came from a variety of backgrounds and professions, over a period of about 1600 years.
- The preservation of the manuscripts in the early years … which was done systematically and painstakingly.
- The fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible.
What does the term TANAKH refer to?
- The Tanakh is a word used used to refer to the three traditional subdivisions of the Masoretic Text of the Holy Scriptures.
- The word Tanakh is a sort of acronym, based on the first letter of each of the names given to the various sections of the Masoretic Text: Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim. Hence, TaNaKh.
- Those three divisions are more commonly referred to as the Law, the Prophets and the Writings.
What do the words TORAH, NEVI’IM and KETHUVIM mean?
- Torah refers to “Teaching” (a.k.a The Law, The Pentateuch or The Five Books of Moses);
- Nevi’im refers to “Prophets“;
- Ketuvim refers to “Writings“.
Which books are included in the TORAH?
- The Torah consists of five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
- They are sometimes referred to as The Five Books of Moses or The Pentateuch.
- They are also referred to as The Law.
Which books are included in the NEVI’IM?
- Joshua, Judges, 1stSamuel, 2ndSamuel, 1stKings, 2ndKings … (Former Prophets)
- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel … (Major/Latter Prophets)
- Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi … (Minor/Latter Prophets … a.k.a The Twelve)
Which books comprise the KETHUVIM?
- Ruth, 1stChronicles, 2ndChronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther … (Historical books)
- Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs … (Wisdom books)
- Lamentations, Daniel … (Latter Prophets)
- NOTE: Five of the books (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther) are collectively known as the Hamesh Megillot or The Five Megillot. These books were drawn together from a range of traditions and time periods … and were grouped by literary genre, so that each could be read along with others of the same kind.
Which books were written by Luke?
- Luke and Acts
Which books were written by Paul?
- Romans, 1Corinthians, 2Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1Thessalonians, 2Thessalonians, 1Timothy, 2Timothy, Titus, Philemon
- (Some people believe Paul also wrote Hebrews)
- In terms of chronology, the order in which the letters were written is more likely to have been as follows … 1Thessalonians, 2Thessalonians, 1Corinthians, 2Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, Philippians, 1Timothy, Titus, 2Timothy
Which NT books were written to Jewish believers in Jesus?
- Matthew, Hebrews and James
Which NT books were written to a Roman audience?
- Mark, 1stPeter, 2ndPeter and Jude
Which NT books were written by John?
- John, 1stJohn, 2ndJohn, 3rdJohn and Revelation
How is the Bible organized?
- There are sixty-six (66) books in the Bible, which is divided into two (2) main sections:
- the Old Testament and
- the New Testament.
How are the two testaments usually arranged?
- The Old Testament is comprised of 39 books and the New Testament contains 27 books (most of which are really letters). The 66 books in the Bible are usually arranged as follows …
- In the OLD TESTAMENT (39) …
- The Pentateuch … Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
- The Historical Narratives … Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1stSamuel, 2ndSamuel, 1stKings, 2ndKings, 1stChronicles, 2ndChronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
- The Wisdom Literature … Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song Of Songs
- The Major Prophets … Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
- The Minor Prophets … Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi .
- In the NEW TESTAMENT (27) …
- The Gospels (NT Narratives) … Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
- Acts of The Apostles … Acts
- The Pauline Epistles … Romans, 1stCorinthians, 2ndCorinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1stThessalonians, 2ndThessalonians, 1stTimothy, 2ndTimothy, Titus, Philemon
- The General Epistles … Hebrews, James, 1stPeter, 2ndPeter, 1stJohn, 2ndJohn, 3rdJohn, Jude
- Apocalyptic Epistle … Revelation .
Is there another way that the books of the Bible are sometimes arranged?
- The traditional order of the books of the Bible (as listed above) only became fixed in the mid–15th century with the advent of printing. Prior to that, the books were presented or listed in a variety of orders. The order below present the books of the Bible according to their natural literary structures. It also recombines some biblical books that have traditionally been divided, as well as listing them in a different order.
- In the case of the First Testament or Old Testament, the traditional order was preceded by an era of fluidity, among Christians, as well as among the Jews, which gave rise to many sequences, not only of the five traditional groups (gospels, Acts, Pauline epistles, general epistles, Revelation], but also of books within each group.
- One order that seems to be gaining popularity lists the books in a way that considers historical circumstances, theological traditions and literary genres. The order is listed below.
- OLD TESTAMENT
- The COVENANT HISTORY … Genesis … Exodus … Leviticus … Numbers … Deuteronomy … Joshua … Judges … Ruth … Samuel-Kings .
- The PROPHETS … Jonah … Amos … Hosea … Micah … Isaiah … Zephaniah … Nahum … Habakkuk … Jeremiah … Obadiah … Ezekiel … Haggai … Zechariah … Joel … Malachi .
- The WRITINGS … Psalms … Lamentations … Song of Songs … Proverbs … Ecclesiastes … Job … Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah … Esther … Daniel .
- NEW TESTAMENT
- MATTHEW and WORKS ADDRESSED TO JEWISH BELIEVERS … Matthew … Hebrews … James
- MARK and WORKS ADDRESSED TO ROMAN AUDIENCE … Mark … 1Peter … 2Peter … Jude
- LUKE-ACTS and PAULINE EPISTLES … Luke-Acts … 1Thessalonians … 2Thessalonians … 1Corinthians … 2Corinthians … Galatians … Romans … Colossians … Ephesians … Philemon … Philippians … 1Timothy … Titus … 2Timothy
- JOHN and LETTERS OF JOHN … John … 1John … 2John … 3John … Revelation (usually listed separately because of its unique perspective and literary form) .