Truth, Understanding, Insight

God and the Bible

19th September 2012, sjh, hej


2) What is the Bible About?

The Bible is a compilation of writings that have come from many different periods in history. They are united together in the claim that their writing was directed by God. This God is a being that has power over the Earth and the lives of people. He is claimed to be a real living God with great power over the world, and essentially the true ruler of the world. Just one example is in the famous “10 commandments” passage:

Exodus 20:1: God spoke all these words, saying, 2 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourselves an idol... WEB

So here the writer is claiming to be speaking the words of an authoritative God. The Bible makes no apologies for being dictatorial, and instead claims the exclusive right to be that way. Thus the compilation of books in the Bible is considered to be the words of God to people.

An Overview

The content of the Bible itself was written down over the period 1250BC through to about 100AD. Through that period of time, many different people wrote sections of text that were later put into the compilation. Despite the span of time and the various writers, the message that is contained in the various sections is coherent, and this in itself is an indicator that there is more to this book than just the ideas of humans.

Through its pages, the Bible details a number of areas:

Although often only thought of as a religious work, the Bible also contains an account of history. The history mainly covers the nation of Israel and the Middle-East through the time period of 1000BC through to 400BC, and extends beyond that in places. It is unquestionably a very old book and reveals events that reach a long time back into history

On account of it's age, the Bible tells us of history, but it can also tell us of things that are still in the future. It does this through its predictions, which are a form of “prophecy”. These are sections that describe things that would happen on the Earth at some future time. One theme of those prophecies is that there is to be a future Kingdom on this earth where the problems and sufferings that we have now will stop, and people will live in peace.

Not only does the Bible prophesy that this Kingdom will appear, but also that there is a way to become a part of it. It introduces the two concepts of “salvation” and “resurrection”. The salvation is the means to be saved from the condemnation that results from our present failures before God. The Bible also speaks of a resurrection, where people will be raised from the dead to be able to participate in this future Kingdom.

The Bible also contains numerous laws and moral codes. These are presented the laws and standards of behaviour dictated by God for the people of the earth. Many people feel that these are good moral standards for people to live by, but if this book is truly the words of an all-powerful God, they are also the only true morals that we can live by.

The Old Testament

There are two main sections of the Bible. There is first the “Old Testament”, which is the older section, and was written through the period 1250BC to about 400BC. This formed the book of scriptures for the Jewish people. It is primarily about the ancient nation of Israel, and includes sections of law and history that have been important to the Jewish people for a long time. It was written in the Hebrew language, and has been meticulously preserved by the Jewish people over the centuries.

The New Testament

The New Testament is quite different to the Old Testament. It was written over a comparatively short time, approximately spanning the years 50 to 100AD. It details the life of Jesus Christ, his teachings, and the early Christian movement. It starts with a number of books that are largely written as a historical narrative, and then includes a series of letters written to various Christian groups and individuals. These describe the teachings of God, and many practical guidelines of how life should be lived.