What is the Bible?
The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 different authors between 1500 BC and the first century AD. In its original form it is the inspired word of God and is inerrant. This means that it is without mistakes and true in all it says.
How can it be the inspired word of God when it is written by men?
It was written by holy men chosen by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
So is the Bible we use an exact copy of God’s inspired writings?
The original scriptures were originally in 3 different languages and written on various different documents, so the Bible we use is a collection of these translated into our own language. The Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.
What is the Old Testament about?
It begins by describing how God created the universe, then focuses on mankind – the reason God created the world.
So God created the world for us?
He did. And God give mankind authority over everything in it! But that was in the beginning when the first man and woman Adam and Eve were still innocent and content trusting in God. Later they were tempted by the devil to disobey God which sadly they did. This was called sin, and sin has spoiled our relationship with God ever since.
How can their sin spoil our relationship with God?
Ever since that first sin we have inherited sin from our parents, and our very first parents were Adam and Eve. So we are all natural born sinners.
So how can we overcome sin and get right with God?
That is what God’s word the Bible is all about. To put it simply mankind doesn’t realize the harm sin has caused, and the Bible is the way God has chosen to show us this harm and His plan to deal with it.
When I read the Bible it doesn’t sound that simple! There’s a whole lot of stuff in it about sin and God’s people not being able to keep God’s laws… especially the first part, the Old Testament.
Yes. That is mostly what the Old Testament is about, but it is not all bad news.
Really! What is the good news then?
The good news is that God did not give up on mankind, despite their sin, disobedience and rebelling against Him.
I don’t understand why God chose the Hebrews to be His special people. They seemed as sinful as the rest of mankind?
Yes despite God’s love and care, they constantly let Him down. But through this tiny nation God revealed Himself to all mankind.
What about God’s laws…the 10 commandments plus all the other laws that are impossible to keep? And the never ending sacrifices that the Hebrews had to make for their sin?
The law shows us how to live holy lives that please God. The never ending sacrifices show us that we are not perfect, and need a sacrifice to cover our sin.
Was God ever pleased with the Hebrews and their never ending sin sacrifices?
Yes. When they trusted in God. In the Old Testament all the sin sacrifices offered in faith would be made perfect when Jesus died for the sin of mankind. Many of God’s people in Old testament times knew this: Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah… God revealed this to many prophets who wrote in the Old Testament about this great coming event.
And this great event was the New Testament?
Yes, where God sent His Son to be the Saviour of mankind. The New Testament is all about Jesus who though the perfect sinless Son of God was also a man because He was born of a woman. Jesus was perfect God and perfect man and the only One who could deal with the sin problem and restore our fellowship with God. The Bible shows that at the beginning of his earthly ministry Jesus was tempted by the devil to disobey God…
Like Adam was tempted in the beginning?
Yes, but this time the devil was defeated by Jesus who remained perfect and sinless. The New Testament gospels show us how God wants us to live – like Jesus; To talk to God in prayer and to believe God’s word and live our lives by it.
Does the New Testament teach us how to be perfect?
No. The New testament teaches us that we are not perfect and that we all need a sacrifice for our sin. That is why Jesus came to die for us and restore our fellowship with God.
So does that mean that all mankind are OK with God now?
No. Each one of us must claim Jesus Christ as our Saviour and sacrifice for sin.
How can we do that?
By faith – asking God to forgive us in prayer. We must repent of sin – that means turn from it – believe that we are guilty lost sinners and that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, died on the cross to save us.
And what is the rest of the New Testament about?
Jesus overcome death and returned to sit at the right hand of God in heaven to mediate between God and all those who know Him as their personal Saviour. The Bible then records how the Holy Spirit of God came down on the first followers of Jesus, and how thousands of people were saved. That was how the church began. The Bible goes on to teach what the first believers did, how the gospel spread, and how the church was organized.
Is that it then?
The last book of the Bible begins with a message to the church then reminds us that Jesus will return some day in judgment. May we all be ready for that day, because those whose sin is not covered by the sacrifice of Christ will be condemned forever in hell with the devil.
What about Christians?
All who know Jesus as their Saviour will live forever in heaven in perfect peace with God.