>> The following is an excerpt from "Growing In God's Word"  <<
written by Cypress Ministries

Origins of The Bible

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete,
thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

{} The Basics
The word “Bible” means “the books.” The Bible is ONE volume that consists of 66 separate books, and it is the Holy, inspired word of God. Something to note is that the word Bible never actually appears in the Bible-- it just simply is what it is. The word Bible should always be capitalized as it represents our Holy God.

  • The word “Scripture” comes from a Latin word that means “writing.”
  • Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary states that it is a Greek translation: graphē ; a document, IE. Holy Writ (reference #1124).
  • It also comes from the root word graphō (Ref. # 1125) and is a primary verb; to “grave” especially to “write.”
  • When doing a word study of Scripture(s) it comes up 152 times when searching the NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, and the KJV.
  • When using the word “Scripture” it should be with a capital “S” as it represents the writing form of God Himself.

The Bible was written by approximately 40 different men, over a period of 1,500 years. It is divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. (Testament meaning “covenant,” which we will discuss a bit later.) There are 39 books in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament.

In the Old Testament, blood sacrifices of animals were made by man to obtain forgiveness of sin; blood was used because it is “life.” The Old Testament was the leading up to the New Testament when Christ would become the final sacrifice.

We should not disregard the Old Testament simply because of the word “old.” All of Scripture is directed by God, and Christ came to prove that EVERY WORD of God is true and that God is faithful to His Word.

Though there were many different writers, there is a harmony which exists (that cannot be denied), that shows each was given under the divine guidance of God Himself.  Throughout the Bible, we see God’s revealed plan that from the very beginning it was always His desire to bring Himself into a relationship with us. The Old Testament actually speaks volumes of Christ and leads us to the knowledge of Christ. We need to allow God to open our minds to understand Scripture, then read with open eyes to see Him in it. Christ came to correct what we as humans messed up and to restore our relationship with God.


Making Sense of The Bible In General
The Bible consists of 66 books and contains 1,189 chapters and 31,173 verses; it is divided into two main sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The word “testament” means “covenant.” “covenant” means “an agreement.” The Old Testament records God’s original covenant with man, and the New Testament records the new covenant made by God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Both testaments are the inspired Word of God and BOTH must be studied in order to understand God’s redemptive message to us. The terms “old” and “new” are simply used to distinguish  between the two agreements made by God before and after the death of Christ. As both books are of God’s Word, neither should be separated from the other.


{} Breaking Down The Bible
Within these 66 books, 39 of them are in the Old Testament, and the remaining 27 are in the New Testament. Each book is divided into chapters and verses. Though the content of the Bible is by the Word of God, the division into chapters and verses was made by man, so that it was easier to read and locate certain passages.

Though the Bible is divided into different books and chapters, there is a united content and theme, and it does not hold contradictions. One author does not contradict the others; in fact, the authors actually give support to the others by repeating many of the same stories and lessons. The harmony that exists from the first book of Genesis through the last book of Revelation shows that there truly is only one author and that is God Himself.

  • Something I would like to point out is that when my sons go to the movies, they will come home and tell me all about it! One son will point out what really stood out to him as significant and bold, and so will my other two. Each of them tells me (from their standpoint) what the movie was about. Quite frequently some of the things that one will tell me will overlap and be the same as one (and sometimes both) of his brothers. Between the three of them, I get the whole picture. Sometimes I feel like I went to the movies with them and saw it because of all the details they will share with me. Typically by the time I see it, I know the movie inside and out!

  • Why do they tell me different things? Because each of them is taking in different details. It isn’t that they didn’t go see the same show or that one of them is wrong. It is just that with so much going on, no one person can see everything and all the details at once. So when they all go, there are three sets of eyes that can see it all. It is really interesting to listen to them as they are talking with each other about the movie (or even a play at school). I get “Did you see…  What did you think about…” And “Oh, no I didn’t see that… but did you check out the….”

It is the SAME way with the Bible. The different authors (especially in the Gospels) wrote about a lot of the same things, just from different viewpoints.  Between them we get the bigger picture. The fact that the authors wrote about the same thing-- but at different times--  shows the authenticity of their writing. They weren’t getting together and sharing notes to collaborate their story.

In the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, each wrote about Jesus. However, they each wrote (and focused) on different traits of Jesus and how He came as a promise to so many different people but also to bring unity to the two divided groups (the Jews and the Gentiles).
  • He was seen through Matthew’s eye (and writing) truly as the King who would someday rule over all. Matthew’s writing  teaches us about the “Kingdom of heaven” and Jesus’ rightful authority.
  • Mark shows Him as a servant, with a servant’s heart, teaching us what it also means for US to be in His likeness as a servant for God. Mark also shows us the “suffering servant” that Jesus would ultimately be for us all.
  • Luke shows us that Jesus is the “Son of Man” and answers our need for hope to not be lost for the human race. He points out that Jesus came to seek us out and save the lost sinners.
  • John emphasizes the deity of Jesus and shows Him to be the “Son of God” that we may believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior and be able to have understanding of our eternal life with Him.

Together these four men give us a complete portrait of who Jesus really is: God in human form. They teach us the meaning of the Trinity and how God the Father and God the Son come and take their home in us as one form (the Holy Spirit). They cannot be separated and will NOT be separated. You cannot have one without the other.

Often times, people think of the Bible as being 66 different books on different subjects, but the truth is that they are 66 books bonded together with one major theme: to reveal God’s purpose, Himself, His will, and His ways to us. In the book of Ephesians it is beautifully summarized.

>> Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will — to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV).

Many people disregard the Old Testament thinking that since we no longer live under the “Mosaic law,” that it doesn’t apply to us under Christ. However, Christ Himself explained how the Old Testament is very important as it centered on HIM! Read Luke 24:44-48 with me: Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things (NKJV).

Both the sides of the Bible tell  the story of Jesus. In studying the Old Testament, we are prepared for how it will be brought about, and in the New Testament, we are taught how God brought it to pass. We actually hold hands with the people of the ancient days through Christ! The people of the Old Testament looked forward to Christ and were saved from their sins through faith in the promise of God. In the same way,  all of us after the death of Christ  are saved by faith in the promise because we believe that it happened just as God said it did. Something else to consider is that the Old Testament shows (and teaches us) about “God the Father,” and the New Testament reveals to us the heart of “God the Son.” You cannot separate God and Jesus nor can you separate the testaments. God and Jesus both come to us as God’s Holy Spirit who dwells inside of us, bringing us into a covenant relationship with Him.

The Old Testament is divided into four major groups:
Law, History, Poetry, and Prophecy.

The first group (the book of Laws) contains: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

These first five books teach us about the creation of man, the fall of man, and the rise of a nation God would use to reveal Himself to the rest of the world and to generations to come.
  • The Book of Law also gives us the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17)
  • It teaches us the greatest commandment of all, which is found in Deuteronomy 6:5, and the second greatest commandment found in Leviticus 19:18

The second group (the books of History) contains: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.

In these books, we have a record of major events that teaches us the results of both believing and following God and turning away from God.


The next group (the books of Poetry) consists of: Job, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.

These books teach us  to express praise, prayer, adoration, supplication, confession, and intercession--  for all the different seasons of life, no matter what we may face. They also give us  practical wisdom and show us  the vanity of pursuing life "under the sun" apart from God. This group also gives us a very intimate look at the love between a man and a woman and the spiritual love of Christ and we humans as His Bride.


The books of Prophecy are broken into two parts: the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets. It should also be noted that they are called “Major Prophets” only in the fact that these books were longer and had more teaching in them than the books considered to be Minor Prophets.
  • MAJOR PROPHETS: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel

  • MINOR PROPHETS: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

In these books, the writers often spoke of “what was to come” due to the falling away of God’s people and their refusal to repent and return to God. Many of the prophecies have been fulfilled-- showing God’s faithfulness and the ability to declare the future of what is to come before hand. (Many of the prophecies are still waiting for “their time of completion.”)

________________________________________

The New Testament is divided into four major groups as well:
The Gospels, History, Letters, and Prophecy


The Gospels are made up of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

 These books teach us about the life of Jesus Christ while here on earth, His ministry and  His death and resurrection. Without Christ, we cannot come to the Father. In the gospels, we learn of God’s unending love for us, and the extremes He will go to, in order to reconcile us to Him. At the end of the gospels the veil that kept us separated from having a personal relationship with God without having to go through a priest is removed, and we are welcomed into His loving embrace.

The New Testament book of History is the book of Acts.

 The book of Acts gives us the history of the first church and teaches us about the impact the life and death of Jesus had on the people. It also introduces us to God’s Holy Spirit and the early years of Jesus’ followers spreading the Gospel.


The Letters also known as “Epistles” were written to different churches and individuals to help explain how to work and live as Christians and to encourage them in their faith.

 The following is a list of the letters:
oRomans
o1 & 2 Corinthians
oGalatians
oEphesians
oPhilippians
oColossians
o1 & 2 Thessalonians
o1 & 2 Timothy
oTitus
oPhilemon
oHebrews
oJames
o1 & 2 Peter
o1, 2, & 3 John
oJude


The  Book of Revelation: not only is the last book of the Bible, it is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament. It speaks to us of Jesus’ second coming to establish His kingdom and to bring about the promised judgement and glory of God.

__ END OF EXCERPT
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Biblical Insights:
Growing Deeper In God's Word
from our "Growing With God" series
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