The Bible portrays Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World. Behind and beneath the Bible, above and beyond the Bible, is the God of the Bible.
Some people are quite surprised when they hear that I enjoy reading my Bible for fun. Shocked friend says: “but it’s so complicated”, “it’s so old”, “what is so interesting about a book on rules?”, “it looks so boring.”
I am completely fascinated by God’s Word. You can take it purely for face-value or you can dive right in and extract so many pearls. For a book that contains 66 books, written by 40 authors, covering a period of approximately 1,600 years, and for it all to weave in and out perfectly within a whole structure really impresses me!
To kick off the year I came across a new book to study, ‘What the Bible is All About’ by Henrietta C. Mears. It breaks down each book of the Bible and picks it apart, so you can really get into the nitty-gritty details and history (and future) of God’s plan for humanity.
Here are some tidbits the study has covered so far –
The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew (a few short passages in Aramaic). About 100 years (or more) before the Christian Era the entire Old Testament was translated into the Greek language. Remember, our English Bible is a translation from these original languages.
The word “Bible” comes from the Greek word biblos, meaning “book.” The “testament” means “covenant”, or agreement. The Old Testament is the covenant God made with people about their salvation before Christ came. The New Testament is the agreement God made with people about their salvation after Christ came. In the Old testament we find the covenant of the law. In the New Testament we find the covenant of grace that came through Jesus. One led to the other as you can read in Galatians 3:17-25:
‘The agreement God made with Abraham could not be cancelled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received only by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God gave it to Abraham as a promise.
Well then, why was the law given? It was given to show the people how guilty they are. But this system of law was to last only until the coming of the child to whom God’s promise was made. And there is this further difference. God gave his laws to angels to give to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is needed if two people enter an agreement, but God acted on his own when he made his promise to Abraham.
Well, then is there a conflict between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could have given us new life, we could have been made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures have declared that we are all prisoners of sin, so the only way to receive God’s promise is to believe in Jesus Christ.
Until faith in Christ is shown to us as the way of becoming right with God, we are guarded by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until we could put our faith in the coming Saviour.
Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian and teachers to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.’
The Old commences what the new completes.
The Old gathers around Mount Sinai-
The New around Mount Calvary.
The Old is associated with Moses-
The New with Christ. (John 1:17)
The authors of the books of the Bible were kings and princes, poets and philosophers, prophets and statesmen. Some were learned in all the arts of the times and others were unschooled fishermen. Other books soon are out-of-date, but this book spans the centuries. Most books must be adapted to age, but old and young alike love this book.
Most books are provincial and only interest the people in whose language it was written, but not this Book. No one ever stops to think it was written in what are now dead languages.
The Old Testament begins with God (Genesis 1:1).
The New Testament begins with Christ (Matthew 1:1).
From Adam to Abraham we have the history of the human race. From Abraham to Christ we have the history of the chosen race (Jews). From Christ on we have the history of the Church.
“Most people’s knowledge of history is like a string of graduated pearls without string,” said a historian. This statement seems to be especially true of Bible history. Many people know the Bible characters and the principal events, but they are hopelessly lost when they are called upon to connect the stories in order. Anyone who has experienced the thrill of learing to place the individual characters in their right setting as to place and time can realise the difference it makes in the enjoyment of God’s Word.
So, yeah, I love reading my Bible.