The bible is such a precious book to me, it has shaped my life and influenced just about every decision I have ever made because it contains such wisdom. I am not the only one. As a Christian I believe the bible to be set apart from every other book that has been written because it claims to be directly inspired by God Himself. It is the makers’ manual. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”, literally breathed out by God. Isn’t that amazing?
I thought I would start a new blog series on ‘God’s book’ looking at how it was put together, addressing some of the controversies and even looking at the differences between the various versions.
The bible has been read by more people and published and translated into more languages than any other book. It is a collection of 66 books compiled into two ‘testaments’ (meaning covenants); the Old and the New. The Old Testament has 39 books and the New Testament has 27.
Some other facts about the Bible:
· The Bible was written over a 1600 year span.
· It was written by over 40 authors from a wide variety of backgrounds including fishermen, herdsmen, doctors and kings.
· The various books were written on 3 continents; Asia, Africa and Europe.
· It was written in 3 languages; Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.
· The first translation of the English Bible was initiated by John Wycliffe and completed by John Purvey in A.D. 1388.
· The Bible was divided into chapters by Stephen Langton in around A.D. 1228.
· The Old Testament was divided into verses by R. Nathan in A.D. 1448 and the New Testament by Robert Stephanus in A.D. 1551.
The bible is unique in the following:
Teachings Its claims as the inspired Word of God.
Prophecy An astonishing 668 prophecies have been fulfilled (some given centuries before) and none have ever been proven false (three are as yet unconfirmed). No other world religion can make this claim. An honest study of biblical prophecy will compellingly show the divine authorship of the Bible.
History Covers 1600 years of ancient history.
Personalities It is unique in that it doesn’t gloss over peoples’ failings – even the writers themselves can be seen “warts and all”. (e.g. David & Bathsheba).
Influence on surrounding literature
Survival Roman emperors and political systems such as communism have sought to destroy it completely, without success. It has been criticised heavily throughout history but has stood the test of time. If this book had not been ‘The book of God’ men would have destroyed it long ago.
I hope to cover quite a bit in the next few weeks but if you have anything specific you would like me to cover, drop me a line or leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it. I will also post links to some good bible study plans which will help you read the bible systematically.