The Bible is a collection of 66 separate books and letters, written over a period of some 1,500 years culminating approximately 100 years after Christ’s death and resurrection. It is divided into the Old Testament (the first 39 books) and the New Testament (the last 27 books). The Bible has stood the test of time, yet is now read more than any other book and by people of widely varying cultures.
There were many different writers, who lived and wrote from different walks of life and different social positions. Most of them had no contact with each other and no means of knowing that when their writings were all put together as one book it would be complete, all parts agreeing in doctrine, teaching and prophecy.
The Bible is the story of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is not primarily a book of history, but its stories of God’s dealings with individuals and with nations are as pertinent to the modern world as they have been to every age since they were written.
It is not primarily a book of science. Some of its statements show knowledge of the world of science which the writer could not have had except from divine revelation. It is not primarily a book of philosophy, but it does argue the existence of God. The Bible however speaks to everyman from the simplest to the most sophisticated at his own level of understanding.
Throughout the Old Testament the theme of the redemption of mankind is developed and God unfolds His covenant with man and nations. In the New Testament all that has been foreshadowed in the Old Testament comes to reality. God Himself comes to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He is rejected and crucified, but rises from the dead in triumph. He sends his disciples out in the power of the Holy Spirit to carry His message of love and forgiveness to the four corners of the earth.
The great vision of the book of Revelation with which the Bible ends, reinforces the warnings of the whole book regarding the consequences of rejecting God’s light and love, and in the poetic terms describes the future of the redeemed in heaven.
Its Power And Effect
The Bible has the power not only to inform-but to reform and to transform lives. Through its influence countless people have been given a new strength, an unnerving purpose and a sure hope in life. To the dying it has brought peace and assurance of eternal life. It has brought blessings to millions in every land and age.
It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, divine in authorship, infallible in authority, inexhaustible in meaning, universal in readership, unique in revelation, personal in application and powerful in effect. It is given to us in this life to guide us, and it will be used to judge us. Come to it with awe, read it with reverence, frequently and prayerfully.
“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22 v 19)