What is the Bible?
The Bible is a collection of books that are considered to be from God by the Christian Church and have been used to determine its beliefs and principles. The Bible a is book containing, or a consolidation of, 66 other books written over a period of 1,400 years – needless to say, most of the writers never knew each other. The Bible has more than 40 individual authors, writing under the direction of the Holy Spirit, who came from a variety of backgrounds. Some examples include: a farmer (Amos), priests (Jeremiah and Ezekiel), a statesman (Daniel), fishermen (Peter and John), a King (Solomon), prophets (Micah and Isaiah), a physician (Luke), and a former tax collector (Matthew).
The books were written in various countries (i.e. Israel, Bablylon, Greece and Italy) and follow a variety of literary styles and genres (narrative, or stories, law codes, poetry, parables, Gospels and letters). Despite the period of time in which it was written, it has a unique unity and purpose as the authors claim to have been directed by God in their writings (2 Peter 1:20-21).
What does the word Bible mean?
The most common English word to refer to Scripture is the "Bible". It comes from the Latin word biblion, which has its roots in another word for papyrus. Papyrus was produced from a reed plant that grew along the banks and marshes of the Nile River in ancient Egypt. Papyrus was used as a writing material and multiple sheets of papyrus were spliced together to form rolls that were then rolled around wooden dowels forming scrolls. As time passed it was discovered that sheets of papyrus could be placed on top of each other, folded in the middle and bound, resulting in an easy-to-use book called a codex. Christians later adopted the codex for its convenience, allowing multiple books in one codex. Initially using papyrus, they later switched to thin animal skins since they found that they could write on both sides of the skin.
What is the purpose of the Bible?
The Bible is God revealing Himself to mankind and to give us God’s plan of salvation. The stories and various writings tell us about the character of God and that God wants to have a relationship with man. While God wants to have contact with His creation, he cannot – in any way – have anything to do with sin. To accept, approve, excuse or condone sinful behavior, in any way, would make God impure by association and blot his holiness with the stain of sin and. Therefore, to come before holy God, we first must be purified and forgiven of our sins – and be conscious to not intentionally sin. We are to live a lifestyle that pleases him. However, before this can happen, we have to accept God’s plan of salvation and accept Christ Jesus as our Lord and savior. The Bible is God’s ongoing story, or saga, of how He worked his plan of salvation so that those who believe might be purified of sins – that is, a salvation coming only to those who accept Christ. In accepting Christ as savior, he then lives within us and makes us acceptable before God.
More specifically, the Old Testament (OT) looks ahead to Christ and His work that will be done. The New Testament (NT) reveals Christ as the fulfillment of the OT promises and as the One who heals the broken relationship between God and man.