Tuesday, June 12, 2012

walking through the gospel: week 1: the Bible

Today we're covering the Bible- the what, who, when, where, why, and how of it all. It's important to know something about where our belief originates from: God's Holy Word, the Bible.

It's a lot to take in at once, and I'm trying to keep it fairly simple, so feel free to ask questions in the comments!

The Bible was written thousands of years ago by men who were inspired by God. Inspired means that God told them what to write, and they wrote what He said. Just as you and I write differently, the men of God who wrote the Bible did so in their writing voice.

No part of the Bible was produced by man:
Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20-21
and in 2 Timothy 3, it says Scripture was given by God:
 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Bible is broken up into two main sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains 39 books from Genesis to Malachi.

This section is written before Jesus came in the flesh, and tells the story of our beginning {Adam and Eve}, and the history of Israel and their interaction with God. The underlying theme is a promise of redemption from sin that is to come in the future.

The New Testament begins about 400 years after the Old Testament ends. It is made of 27 books, and begins in Matthew with the birth of Jesus, and ends in Revelation with a prophecy book of what is to come. The New Testament tells of Jesus coming in the flesh, the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises, and gives Christians a model of faith to live by until Jesus returns.

The history of the beginning of the Bible dates back to around 1440 B.C. The last book was estimated to have been completed around 80-90 A.D. This chart is very useful in seeing the date breakdown.

The simple answer is that the Bible was written in Europe, Egypt, and the Middle East.  Here's an awesome map of where each book was written:
The Bible is God's Word, and it's able to show us the way to salvation. Every word is true, and from God.

The Bible contains so many different stories and letters, but the one central theme is redemption in Jesus Christ. 

Here's the reason I believe this: 
1 Timothy 3:14-17: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Every word points us to Him. He made us to bring Him glory, and the Bible glorifies our God by showing who He is- a merciful, loving, just Redeemer of sinners like us. :D The Bible also gives us instructions on how to live in obedience to God.

It shows us what we are supposed to do in life:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
And it keeps us from sin:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart,that I might not sin against you.  
Psalm 119:9-12
The Bible is so much more than words on a page. It's alive- it contains the words of life, the words that bring us to faith in Jesus and convict us of our sin. How do you ask?
The answer is here in Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Reading the Bible is unlike reading anything else. It convicts, and it shows you the truth- it gives you wisdom, and God uses it to change your life.

Reading it is so important. There is no law about how often or when, but it's something that you should definitely strive to do. Like it says in Psalms- the word of God keeps us from sin.

For me, reading the Bible every day makes it stay in my mind ready for action. When I pray, the Holy Spirit brings the words to mind to comfort and direct my heart.

I feel a heavy feeling in my heart when I read the word of God. It's like I'm in the presence of Him when I read it, and my heart is getting surgery. Does that make sense?

I think that when we hear His truth it convicts and changes us.

So that's the basics of the Bible. I definitely didn't cover every detail- but there are so many great resources for in-depth study. I listed a few of them below for you. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and I will try to answer them! :)

What do you think?
Do you feel a sense of conviction and change when you read the Bible? Does it affect you personally?


next week:
God, Eternal and Loving Creator:
you can download the study guide to prepare for next week



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