What is the Bible?
The Bible is the book that sits at the center of Christianity and is what ground’s the Christian’s understanding of who God is, what he has done in history, and what he is doing today. The reason that the Bible is given this place in the Christian worldview is that in it’s pages, it claims to be written
by men who guided by the Spirit of God and wrote exactly what God intended.
Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
How to read the Bible
In actual fact, the Bible is not a single book but is a collection of 66 books that were written over thousands of years. It is broken into the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament documents the work of God in the history if Israel before Jesus Christ came. The New Testament documents the Birth of Christ, his life, his death, his burial, and his resurrection. This is told by four different writers in what is called The Gospels, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The rest of the New Testament is made up of letters that were written by men from among the Apostles (those that Christ had walked with and sent out to proclaim his message) and others who walked closely with them.
There eventually came a time in church history when the people of God broke the Bible into chapters and verses in order to make it easier to find particular sections. While these numbers are not original to the text, they can be very helpful in looking for particular passage. For example, Romans is broken into 16 chapters. Therefore, you can open to say, chapter 8, and find within that chapter the specific verse you wish to read, such as verse 28. This is why you will read and hear Christians give references to books and numbers like John 1:1, or Romans 9:23.
The purpose of the Bible
Throughout the Bible, the writers speak for different purposes that God has in giving us his words. At times they are referring to God’s purpose for sending Christ and Christ’s message. Sometimes they are referring to the law that was given to the people of God in the Old Testament. Sometimes they are referring to the Psalms and Proverbs. Sometimes they are referring to the words of the Apostles as they write to Churches. There are many examples of this:
- The Bible tells God’s saving purpose in Sending Christ
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)
- Scripture is referred to as that which makes us wise, leads us to salvation, and equips church leaders to lead and teach as they should
…from infancy, you have known the holy writings, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
- The scriptures speak of how we are to walk in righteousness before God and remind us of God’s promises
I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. Through these things, he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire (2 Peter 1:3, 4).
- The words of Christ are spoken of as bringing life to the hearer
The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help! The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).
- Scripture says that it is with His words that God created the universe (Genesis 1, Psalm 33:6, 9).
- In some places, Scripture refers to God’s word as being like water and describes it as something that “cleanses” or “washes” the hearer from unrighteousness
You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you (John 15:3).
Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious—not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).
- Not only is God’s word described as that which cleanses, but also as that which keeps clean.
How can a young person maintain a pure life? By guarding it according to your instructions! With all my heart I seek you. Do not allow me to stray from your commands! In my heart, I store up your words,
so I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:9-11).
- Scripture refers to itself as that which gives light to our path and gives us understanding in a world that is often dark.
Your word is a lamp to walk by, and a light to illumine my path. (Psalm 119:105).
- The word of God is often described as a kind of food for our spirits.
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”(Matthew 4:4).
- The teachings of the Apostles are referred to as spiritual “milk” and “meat.”
So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2).
And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation (1 Peter 2:2).
- The purpose of this food is our growth. This growth is supposed to bring about spiritual maturity and unity in God’s church through his Son.
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God—a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head.(Ephesians 4:12-15).
- In some places, the Word of God is compared to a seed which eventually takes root in the one who hears it.
As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.15 But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance.(Luke 8:14, 15) And will eventually bring in a harvest of righteousness. Now God who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow. (2 Corinthians 9:10).
- Scripture is also compared to a sword that is able to bring discernment.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
- The words of Christ teach his people to pray (Luke 11:1-4, John 15:7).
- The word of God is the foundation on with we build our faith.
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!” (Matthew 7:24-27).