Facts about the Bible to motivate you to read it for yourself. Bible Lesson One.

The Bible is a compilation of “books” or letters written over a period of 1500 years.  It was penned only by Jewish authors because the Jews were the instrument of God for the salvation of all men.  Through their relationship with God, select men spoke and wrote as God breathed into them His words.  This is the meaning of “inspiration”; God-breathed.  The Hebrew people (Jews) became a chosen people because of the man Abraham.  His whole-hearted trust in God created a “friendship” between him and God.  The friendship provided Abraham with a son through a miraculous birth, not a virgin birth, but a birth by natural means to Sarah who was beyond child-bearing age. This is what made it miraculous.  This promised son provided Abraham with children and provided God with a means to bring about the birth of the Savior, Jesus who is also called Christ.  God made Abraham a promise that he would be a father of a great nation and that through him all nations of the world would be blessed.

Prophets were Jewish men moved by the Spirit of God to speak and to record His words.

Prophets were Jewish men moved by the Spirit of God to speak and to record His words.

Abraham was a descendant of Noah through one of Noah’s sons named Shem.  Abraham was born around 352 years after the global deluge.  This was around the year 2018 B.C.  Through Abraham and his wife, Sarah a son called “Laughter” or Isaac was born.  He was the child of promise to Abraham.  Through Isaac came Jacob; a name which means “one who supplants” because Jacob, the younger of two twins, displaced the older brother to become the heir of the promise that God had made to Abraham.  Jacob obtained the rights of the first-born.  Later Jacob, the one who supplanted his brother, was named Israel or “triumph with God”.  From this man, 12 sons were born.  In time, the entire family and servants of Israel would find themselves living in Egypt.  There they would survive a global drought that lasted 7 years and the would take up residence in the land called Goshen.  This band of about 70 people would grow into a nation of around 3 million people over a 400 year period.  This became the Nation of Israel; a great humanity that became the slaves of a Pharaoh that did not know or honor God and did not care for these invading Israelites.

Around the year 1500 B.C. a man called Moses would liberate the slave nation through the power of God and in the remembrance of his promise to Abraham, the Father of this slave nation, He would establish a covenant of law once the people were freed.  Moses would lead this nation to the land promised to Abraham.  Before entering the land God wrote the 10 commandments in stone and Moses delivered these laws to the Nation.  The covenant or testament between God and the people was this:  that God would be their God, providing, protecting and enriching them in every way with blessing both physical and spiritual. They, in turn, would be His people but they had to keep His laws.

Through this Nation, God promised through all their generations leading up to Jesus Christ, that He would bring them a Savior who would rescue them from their enemies.  That Savior would be called the son of David, the son of God, king of Israel.  To those living at the time of when the Savior came a better covenant would be given. One that would take away sin, abolish the need for sacrificial offerings of animals and make of every believer in Jesus a child of God.  This new covenant eliminated the legal ramifications of the law of Moses.  Since the breaking of the law meant death, entrance into the new covenant meant freedom from death.   Forgiveness of sin and eternal life was the guarantee of this new way of living.  The death of the Savior provided an escape from spiritual death for all who accepted his sacrifice.  Jesus became the end of the law for all those who would believe in Him.

The 10 commandments - The legal covenant between the Jews and God.

The 10 commandments – The legal covenant between the Jews and God.

So let’s look at some details about the Bible.

The Bible contains 66 books in total. Of these, 43 books cover Genesis to the death of Christ.   The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are often thought to be part of the New Testament but they are part of what is now called the Old Testament.  Most consider Malachi the last book of the OT but the Gospels were the recorded life of Jesus the Christ and his mission to turn the Jews back to the ways of the law before the Judgment of God came upon them for sins committed under the law.  The Jews needed to repent, bring a sacrifice, return to proper temple worship or the whole nation would be destroyed.  Only a fraction of the Jewish population listened and obeyed the message.  The rest defied God by putting His son, their king, to death on the cross.

Of the 22 remaining books, these were written after the resurrection of Christ but before the final judgment of God upon the nation.  By 70 AD the NT had been written and the Roman army destroyed the Jewish Nation. They destroyed the city of Jerusalem and burned the temple of God.  This war against the Jews took place from the winter of 68 AD to the fall of 70 AD.  A period of 3.5 years. These last books of the Bible, from the Acts of the Apostles to the Revelation of John, were written by Jewish converts to the new way. This new way came to be called Christianity, although the Bible never uses this word.  The followers of Jesus’ new way to serve God were called disciples of Christ, or “followers of the way”, or the “called out of the world” or just Christians.

The temple in Jesus' day.

The temple in Jesus’ day.

Overall, 40 authors were inspired (God-breathed) to speak and to write the thoughts of God.  Their writings comprise the two great covenants to the Jews. Three languages were used to pen the book and this was done over a 1500 year period. The languages used were Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek.  For this reason, it must be understood that the Bible was not written to us.  It was written to the Jews and to the converts of the New Testament.  However, though not written to us, the Bible was written for us.  It is a book for all men to study and to come to a better understanding of who God is and what his purpose is for each of us.   We share in the purpose of God.

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