Articles on God's Word

The Bible: An Introductory Study

1. Introduction

Someone has called the Holy Bible "the divine library," and this is a true statement. Although we think of the Bible as one book, yet it is made up of sixty-six separate books.

These books, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation, are divided into two main sections. The first section is called the Old Testament and contains thirty-nine books. The second section is the New Testament and it has twenty-seven books.

At the beginning of each Bible is an index which lists the names of the books, and tells the page number on which each book begins.

2. Who Wrote the Bible?

From the human standpoint the Bible was written by not less than thirty-six authors over a period of about sixteen hundred years. But the important thing to remember is that these men wrote under the direct control of God. God guided them in writing the very words. This is what we mean by inspiration. The following Scriptures clearly teach that the Bible is inspired by God.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21

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, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Thus the Bible is the Word of God. It is not enough to say that the Bible contains the Word of God. This might imply that parts of it are inspired and parts are not. Every part of the Bible is inspired. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God."

Another important point to remember is that the Bible is the only written revelation which God has given to man. In the last chapter of the Bible, God warns men against adding to the Bible or taking away from it. Revelation 22:18-19.

3. What is the Subject of the Bible?

Although the Bible is made up of sixty-six books, yet it has one main subject. Christ is the grand theme of Scripture. The Old Testament contains many predictions, or prophecies, concerning Christ. The New Testament tells of His coming.

4. What Does the Bible Contain?

The Bible is the record of the world from the beginning of time until the future when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

Genesis tells of the creation of the world, the entrance of sin, the flood, and the beginning of the nation of Israel. From Exodus to Esther we have the history of Israel up to about 400 years before the birth of Christ. The books from Job to the Song of Solomon contain wonderful poetry and wisdom. The rest of the Old Testament, from Isaiah to Malachi, is prophetic,—that is, these books contain messages from God to Israel concerning its present condition and its future destiny.

The New Testament opens with four Gospels, each of which presents the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts tells the story of the Christian movement in its infancy and the life of the great apostle Paul. From Romans to Jude, we find letters to churches and individuals, concerning the great truths of the Christian faith, and practical instruction concerning the Christian life. Revelation gives us a glimpse into the future,—to events that will yet take place in heaven, on earth, and in hell.

5. Conclusion

"This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's map, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of Hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It will reward the greatest labor, and condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. It is the Book of Books—God's Book—the revelation of God to man."—Selected.

From What Christians Believe: Basic Studies in Bible Doctrine and Christian Living by Alfred P. Gibbs ... [et al.]; staff members of Emmaus Bible School. Chicago: Moody Press, 1951.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Psalm 12:6-7
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