ORIGIN OF THE BIBLE

 

The Bible is the written Word of God. He inspired the words in the Bible and used approximately 40 different men to write down His words. These men wrote over a period of 1500 years. The perfect agreement of these writers is one proof that they were all guided by a single author. That author was God.

 

Some of the writers wrote down exactly what God said:

Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel . . . (Jeremiah 36:2)

Other writers wrote what they experienced or what God revealed concerning the future:

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. (Revelation 1:19)

All of the writers wrote under God's inspiration the words of His message for us.

 

 

THE PURPOSE OF THE BIBLE

The Bible itself records its main purpose:

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 perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:16-17)

The Scriptures are to be used to teach doctrine, to reprove and correct from evil, and to teach righteousness. They will help you live right and equip you to work for God.

 

MAJOR DIVISIONS

The Bible is divided into two major sections called the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word "testament" means covenant. A covenant is an agreement. The Old Testament records God's original covenant or agreement with man. The New Testament records the new covenant made by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. What was the subject of these two agreements? They both concerned restoring sinful man to right relationship with God. God made a law that sin can only be forgiven through the shedding of blood:

. . . without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness). (Hebrews 9:22)

 

Under God's agreement in the Old Testament, blood sacrifices of animals were made by man to obtain forgiveness for sin. This was a symbol of the blood sacrifice Jesus Christ would provide under the new agreement with God. Through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, a final sacrifice for sin was made:

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

(Hebrews 9:11-15)

 

Both testaments are the Word of God and we must study both in order to understand God's message. The terms "old" and "new" testaments are used to distinguish between God's agreement with man before and after the death of Jesus Christ. We do not disregard the Old Testament simply because it is called "old."

 

FURTHER DIVISIONS

The Bible is further divided into 66 books. The Old Testament has 39 books. The New Testament contains 27 books. Each book is divided into chapters and verses. Although the content of each book is the Word of God, the division into chapters and verses was made by man. to make it easy to locate specific passages. It would be very difficult to find a passage if the books were all one long paragraph.

Here is a simple diagram that shows the basic divisions of the Bible:

 

 

THE BIBLE  ___________________  Old Testament  39 Books 

                                                                New Testament  27 Books

 

UNITY OF THE BIBLE

When we speak of the unity of the Bible, we mean two things:

 

ONE: THE BIBLE IS UNITED IN CONTENT:

Even though the Bible was written by many writers over many years, there are no contradictions. One author does not contradict any of the others.The Bible includes discussion of hundreds of controversial subjects. (A controversial subject is one that creates different opinions when mentioned). Yet the writers of the Bible spoke on such subjects with harmony from the first book of Genesis through the last book of Revelation. This was possible because there was really only one author: God. The writers only recorded the message under His direction and inspiration. For this reason, the content of the Bible is united.

 

TWO: THE BIBLE IS UNITED IN THEME:

Some people think the Bible is a collection of 66 separate books on different subjects. They do not realize that the Bible is united by a major theme. From beginning to end, the Bible reveals God's special purpose which is summarized in the book of Ephesians:

 

Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself;

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him;

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. (Ephesians 1:9-11)

 

The Bible reveals the mystery of God’s plan which is the unifying theme of the Bible. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Savior of sinful mankind. Jesus explained how the Old

Testament centered on Him:

And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me.

(Luke 24:44)

With this introduction, Jesus continued and . . .

. . . opened He their understanding that they might understand the scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

What was the key Jesus gave them to understanding the Scriptures? The fact that its major theme focused on Him:

. . . Thus it is written, and thus it behooved 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 among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And Ye are witnesses of these things.

(Luke 24:46-48)

 

The Old and New Testaments both tell the story of Jesus. The Old Testament prepares us for its happening and the New Testament tells how it happened. This unites the Bible in one major theme. The people who looked forward to Jesus under the Old Testament were saved from their sins through faith in God's promise. Everyone who looks back to it as having been fulfilled in Jesus Christ is saved in the same way: Through faith that it happened just as God promised.

 

DIVERSITY OF THE BIBLE

When we speak of the "diversity" of the Bible we mean that the Bible has variety. It records different ways in which God dealt with people and the different ways in which they responded to Him.

The Bible is written in different moods. Some portions express joy while others reflect sorrow. The Bible includes different types of writing. It contains history, poetry, prophecy, letters, adventure, parables, miracles, and love stories. Because of its variety, the Bible has been further divided into major groups of books.

 

OLD TESTAMENT DIVISIONS

The books of the Old Testament are divided into four major groups: Law, history, poetry and prophecy.

THE BOOKS OF THE LAW:

There are five books of law. The names of these books are:

Genesis

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

These books record the creation of man and the world by God and the early history of man. They tell how God raised up the nation of Israel as a people through which He could reveal Himself to the nations of the world.

These books record the laws of God. The best known parts are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), the greatest of all commandments (Deuteronomy 6:5), and the second greatest commandment (Leviticus 19:18).

Open your Bible and locate the books of Law in the Old Testament. Locate the three verses mentioned in the preceding paragraph and read them. These are an example of the laws of God recorded in these books.

THE BOOKS OF HISTORY:

There are 12 books of history in the Old Testament. The names of the books of history are:

Joshua

Judges

Ruth

I and II Samuel

I and II Kings

I and II Chronicles

Ezra

Nehemiah

Esther

Locate these books in your Bible. They are found right after the books of law. The books of history cover a thousand year history of God's people, Israel. Naturally they do not tell everything that happened, but they record the major events and show the results of both following and ignoring God's law.

 

THE BOOKS OF POETRY:

There are five books of poetry. The names of the books of poetry are:

Job

Psalms

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

Song of Solomon

These books are the worship books of God's people, Israel. They still are used in worship by believers today. Turn to Psalm 23 and read it. This is an example of the beautiful worship poetry contained in these books.

 

THE BOOKS OF PROPHECY:

The books of prophecy are the Old Testament are divided into two groups which are called Major and Minor prophetical books. This does not mean the Major Prophets are more important than the Minor Prophets. The title is simply used because the Major Prophets are longer books than the Minor Prophets. There are 17 books of prophecy in the Old Testament. The names of the books of prophecy are:

Major Prophets:

 

Isaiah

 

Jeremiah

 

Lamentations

 

Ezekiel

 

Daniel

 

Minor Prophets:

 

Hosea

Nahum

Joel

Habakkuk

Amos

Zephaniah

Obadiah

Haggai

Jonah

Zechariah

Micah

Malachi

 

These books are prophetic messages from God to His people about future events. Many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled, but some remain to be fulfilled in the future. Find these prophetic books in your Bible. They are the last books in the Old Testament.

 

NEW TESTAMENT DIVISIONS

The New Testament has also been divided into four groups: Gospels, History, Letters, and Prophecy.

THE GOSPELS:

There are four books in the Gospels. The names of these books are:

Matthew Mark Luke John

These books tell about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Their purpose is to lead you to believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Find the Gospels in your Bible and then read John 20:31 which states this purpose.

THE BOOK OF HISTORY:

There is one book of history in the New Testament, the book of Acts. This book tells how the church began and fulfilled Christ's commission to spread the Gospel throughout the world. Locate this book in your Bible.

LETTERS:

There are 21 letters in the New Testament. The names of these letters are:

Romans

Titus

I and II Corinthians

Philemon

Galatians

Hebrews

Ephesians

James

Philippians

I and II Peter

Colossians

I, II, and III John

I and II Thessalonians

I and II Timothy

Jude

The letters are addressed to all believers. Their purpose is to guide them in living and help them do what Jesus commanded. Romans 12 is a good example of their teaching. Turn to this chapter in your Bible and read it. The letters are also sometimes called "epistles" which means letters.

 

PROPHECY:

Revelation is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament. It tells of the final victory of Jesus and His people. Its purpose is to encourage you to keep living as a Christian should live until the end of time. Its message is summarized in Revelation 2:10.

 

SELF-TEST

1.Write the Key Verses from memory:

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

2What does the word "Bible" mean?______________________________________

3What does the word "Scripture" mean?______________________________________

4.What are the two major divisions of the Bible?

______________________________ _______________________________

5.How many books are there in the Bible?_____________________________________

6.Name the four major groups into which Old Testament books are divided:

______________________________ _______________________________

______________________________ _______________________________

7.Name the four major groups into which New Testament books are divided:

______________________________ _______________________________

______________________________ _______________________________

8.What is the meaning of the word "testament"?

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

9.What are four main purposes of the Bible? Give a Bible reference to support your answer.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

10.What is meant by the "unity of the Bible"?

________________________________________________________________________

11.What is meant by the "diversity of the Bible"?

________________________________________________________________________

12.Read each statement. If the statement is TRUE put the letter T on the blank in front of it. If the statement is FALSE put the letter F on the blank in front of it:

a._____The Bible is the written Word of the one true God.

b._____Although God inspired the Bible, He used men to write down His words.

c._____Because there were many writers over a period of many years, the Bible contains a lot of contradictions.

d._____There is no united theme of the Bible. It is just a collection of books on different subjects.

e._____The Major Prophets of the Old Testament are more important than the Minor Prophets.

13.Who is the person on which the revelation of both testaments centers? Give a Bible reference to support your answer.____________________Reference___________________

(Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

 

FOR FURTHER STUDY

The bookmarks on the next page will help you learn the major divisions of the Bible. Cut out the bookmarks on the lines dividing them and place them in your Bible. If you have difficulty in locating the place to insert your bookmarks, use the Table of Contents in the front of your Bible. It lists the books in the order in which they appear in the Bible. It also provides the page number where each book begins.

 

OLD TESTAMENT

Place bookmark 1 at the beginning of the book of Genesis.

Place bookmark 2 at the beginning of the book of Joshua.

Place bookmark 3 at the beginning of the book of Job.

Place bookmark 4 at the beginning of the book of Isaiah.

 

NEW TESTAMENT

Place bookmark 5 at the beginning of the book of Matthew.

Place bookmark 6 at the beginning of the book of Acts.

Place bookmark 7 at the beginning of the book of Romans.

Place bookmark 8 at the beginning of the book of Revelation.

You have now located the major divisions of the Bible. Keep using the bookmarks until you can name and locate these divisions by memory.

 

OLD TESTAMENT

OLD TESTAMENT

OLD TESTAMENT

LAW (1)

HISTORY (2)

POETRY (3)

GENESIS

JOSHUA

JOB

EXODUS

JUDGES

PSALMS

LEVITICUS

RUTH

PROVERBS

NUMBERS

I SAMUEL

ECCLESIASTES

DEUTERONOMY

II SAMUEL

SONG OF SOLOMON

 

I KINGS

 

 

II KINGS

 

 

I CHRONICLES

 

 

II CHRONICLES

 

 

EZRA

 

 

NEHEMIAH

 

 

ESTHER

 

 

OLD TESTAMENT

PROPHECY (4)

MAJOR PROPHETS

MINOR PROPHETS:

ISAIAH

HOSEA

JEREMIAH

JOEL

LAMENTATIONS

AMOS

EZEKIEL

OBADIAH

DANIEL

JONAH

 

MICAH

 

NAHUM

 

HABAKKUK

 

ZECHARIAH

 

HAGGAI

 

ZECHARIAH

 

MALACHI

 

 

NEW TESTAMENT

NEW TESTAMENT

NEW TESTAMENT

GOSPELS (5)

HISTORY (6)

LETTERS (7)

MATTHEW

ACTS

ROMANS

MARK

 

I CORINTHIANS

LUKE

 

II CORINTHIANS

JOHN

 

GALATIANS

 

 

EPHESIANS

 

 

PHILIPPIANS

 

 

COLOSSIANS

 

 

I THESSALONIANS

 

 

II THESSALONIANS

 

 

I TIMOTHY

 

 

II TIMOTHY

 

 

TITUS

 

 

PHILEMON

 

 

HEBREWS

 

 

JAMES

 

 

I PETER

 

 

II PETER

I JOHN

II JOHN

III JOHN

JUDE

NEW TESTAMENT

PROPHECY (8)

 

REVELATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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