The Bible is the account of God’s action in the world and his purpose with all creation. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty human authors. It is a quite amazing collection of 66 books with very different styles all containing the message God desired us to have. The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Simply put, the message of the Old Testament is “The Savior will come.” And the message of the New Testament is “The Savior has come.” So that you can quickly find your way around, each book is divided up into Chapters and the chapters are divided up into verses. To find something in the Bible, you look up what is called a reference. Genesis 1: 1 means the book of Genesis, chapter one, verse one.
This compilation of booklets contains an astonishing variety of literary styles. It provides many stories about the lives of good and bad people, about battles and journeys, about the life of Jesus along with letters written to groups of Christians that met in homes. It comes to us in narratives and dialogues, in proverbs and parables, in songs and allegories, in history and prophecy.
The accounts in the Bible were not generally written down as they occurred. Rather they were told over and over again and handed down through the years before someone finally wrote them down. Yet the same themes may be found throughout the book.
So along with the diversity there is also a remarkable unity. So what is the Bible? Well, in addition to all the above, the Bible is this:
- It is a guide for living life to the full. It gives us a road map for the perilous journey of life. Or to put it another way, on our voyage through life’s ocean, we find our anchor right here.
- It is a storehouse of wonderful stories for children and grownups. Remember Noah and the ark? Joseph’s coat of many colors? Daniel in the lion’s den? Jonah and the fish? The parables of Jesus? In these stories we recognize the triumphs and failures of ordinary people – and we may even see ourselves!
- It is a refuge in trouble. People in pain, in suffering, in prison, in mourning, tell how they turned to the Bible and found strength there in their desperate hours.
- It is a treasury of insight as to who we are. We are not meaningless robots, but we are magnificent creatures of a God who loves us and gives us a purpose and a destiny.
- It is a sourcebook for everyday living. We find standards for our conduct, guidelines for knowing right from wrong and principles to help us in a confused society where so often “anything goes.”
- It is the very Word of God spoken to us and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)