The Bible is a remarkable book. It has sold more copies and been translated into more languages than any other book. Its text has been preserved reliably for thousands of years. Its history continues to be verified by archaeology and other written sources. The unity of its message, fulfillment of its prophecies, and change it produces testify to its supernatural character. The Bible is truly a remarkable book, and it makes remarkable claims about itself.
What Is the Bible?
The English word “Bible” comes from a Greek word that means “book.” But the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books. These books are written by multiple authors over a period of 1500 years. They are a library including several types of literature. The Bible has two major divisions. The Old Testament contains 39 books and includes law, history, poetry, wisdom, and prophecy. The New Testament contains 27 books and includes Gospels, history, letters, and prophecy.
How Did We Get the Bible?
The Bible wasn’t dropped out of heaven, fully written and complete. It is the product of a gradual, five-step process:
- Revelation. God reveals Himself and makes Himself known.
- Inspiration. God empowers men to write down what He reveals without errors or mistakes.
- Selection. Israel and the early church set apart writings that are recognized as inspired by God.
- Transmission. Inspired writings are preserved. New copies are made as old copies wear out.
- Translation. The Bible is read in its original languages and copied into other languages.
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible tells the story of God’s relationship with His people. The Old Testament says He creates the universe and all life in it. Adam and Eve disobey Him and put humanity under the curse of sin and death. He chooses Israel to be His special nation through whom He will redeem men from the curse and reconcile them to Himself. He promises to do this through the ministry of a special person called the Messiah.
The New Testament says Jesus comes to fulfill these promises. He is born of a virgin, lives a sinless life, conducts a 3-year ministry, dies on the cross, and rises from the dead. He is coming again to reward the righteous and punish the wicked. On that day, God will create a new universe where His people will live with Him forever. He forgives all who trust in Jesus’ sacrifice and puts His Spirit in them.
What Does the Bible Say About Itself?
The Bible says it is God-breathed. Paul tells Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful” (2 Tim. 3:16). This means the authors of the Bible write what God tells them to write. He uses their experiences, personalities, and writing styles to communicate about Himself. The Bible also says its prophecies are divine rather than human in origin. Peter says, “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). God reveals Himself to prophets and makes sure they pass on that information accurately. He guides and supervises them as they write about Him.
The Bible is the Word of God. It is the truest and most reliable source about Him. It tells us who He is and what He does. It also tells us who we are and how we can have a relationship with Him.
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