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What is the Bible?

Updated: Apr 5

"All Scripture is God-Breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." -2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)



The content address in this blog includes:


  1. The Bible is the source of the Christian Worldview

  2. How the Bible is set apart from any other book

  3. What is the Biblical Narrative: The Old and New Testament

  4. Prophesies about the coming Messiah in the OT Fulfilled In Jesus Christ in the NT

  5. Christ as the Fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures

  6. Some Promises Found in the Bible for Christians

  7. How the Bible is Broken Up

  8. Conclusion


The word, “Bible” is ultimately derived from the greek term meaning “Book of books,” and otherwise is known as The Word of God.

The Bible is the Source of the Christian Worldview


Each one of us has a worldview which shapes our perspectives, how we make decisions and what we determine to be true. If our worldview is not grounded in something unshakable then we’ll find ourselves blown around by the constant changes of culture and holding to mindsets filled with inconsistencies.


For example, “you do you;” a common phrase used today. It’s spoken loudly and posted on bulletin boards all around. It sounds appreciative and respectful of people’s uniquenesses, but as soon as someone’s actions contradict our worldview, or become threatening to our freedom, we suddenly realize, “you do you,” is not a mindset we want to hold to consistently.


“Follow your heart” another common word of advise our culture embraces. Yet considering the situations we face every day we’ll quickly see, that counsel rapidly crumbles below our feet. Imagine if we followed our hearts every time irritation and impatience arose as someone pushes our buttons, every time the “feeling” of love with our spouse isn’t there when they do something hurtful, or when telling someone what they want to hear is so much easier than telling them the truth. Just think of the thoughts that enter your mind each day and you’ll quickly realize how much “following your heart” can have serious consequences, and how true what the Bible teaches of the human heart is: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV).


Our hearts are deceitful and culture is constantly changing. With that, we must have a source to shape our worldview that withstands the test of time and isn’t molded by culture and the newest fads. There is one source we can rely on to shape our worldview, determine truth, and has proven reliable throughout the ages. That source is the Bible.


The Bible is set apart from any other book in that it is:


“living and active, God breathed, reliable collection of 66 different books, written on 3 continents, in 3 languages, by 40 authors, over 1500 years…The Bible’s written by poets, prophets, princes, priests, prisoners, soldiers, and sailers. It was written from caves, prisons, palaces, deserts, ships and homes, it is full of names, places, and people all with one constant theme, without contradictions, all pointing to Jesus, and verifiable throughout human history…The Bible is the most read, most sold, most studied, most copied, most talked about, and most died for book of all time, while at the same time being the most despised, most disputed, most dissected, most debated, most destroyed book in all of human history, and even so it stood the test of time and still remains today.” (Reference 1 below)


To listen to a solid message giving further reasons why the Bible is a trusted source and more about the Biblical Worldview, check out this message from Highlands church titled Can I Trust the Bible? (It’s so good)

What is the Bible narrative?


The Bible is, “the story of God’s counteroffensive against sin. It is the grand narrative of how God made it right, and how he is making it right, and how he will one day make it right finally and forever.” (Reference 2 below)


“It’s the God-inspired account of how God created the heavens, the earth, and humankind…and how He has worked and is working to bring about the redemption of creation and of those who place their trust in Him. And it’s God’s own communication with you!”

(Reference 3 Below)


The Old and New Testament:

The Bible includes 39 books of the Old Testament, which were written before the birth of Jesus Christ, (B.C. Before Christ), and 27 books of the New Testament, which were written after the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (A.D. Anno Domini; meaning “the year of our Lord”).


Worth noting that the entire calendar system revolves around the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

The Old Testament is known as the Hebrew Scriptures, written to God’s chosen people: the Israelites. It’s the story of God’s people under the Mosaic Law, divinely given to His people through Moses. The Mosaic Law was a covenant of works, including The Ten Commandments, ordinances and directions on their worship. The just and holy God is so pure He cannot look upon sin, so as a result of human sin, separation from God and man took place.


All throughout the Old Testament, however, there were promises of a future Messiah, who would one day be the fulfillment of the Old Law, and supersede it with a New Covenant.


The New Testament declares the beginning of this New Covenant: the Law of Grace, which was given through Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross. He made an atonement for sins, that anyone who believes in Jesus as their Lord and turns to Him in repentance, will be reconciled to God and the Spirit of God will dwell within them (Romans 8:9).


This new Law of Grace was not just given to the Israelites (the Jews), but was extended to gentiles (those of other people groups/nations) as well, and as a result those who accept this free gift of salvation receive eternal life! This is what it means to be a Christian.


While the Ten Commandments were given as a part of the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament, they were given by God in His goodness and always intended for the good of those who obey them. So while Christians are redeemed by grace and not works, being transformed by the Gospel and having the Spirit of God now living within them, they will desire to walk in His ways and obey these Ten Commandments knowing they were put in place that God may be glorified and we may enjoy Him in fullness. Therefore, while Christians are still imperfect, we seek to live according to God’s commandments, and do so in God’s grace, not because they bring salvation to us, but because we know they are good.


We read the Old Testament and New Testament to gain the full understanding of who God is and the redemption story. The Old Testament shares the story of God’s people under the Law of Moses and the New Testament includes the four Gospel accounts: The Good News of Jesus, the history of the first church, and what has come as a result of the Law of Grace. In reading the New Testament, we’ll find that everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures!


Prophesies of the coming Messiah in the O.T. Fulfilled In Jesus in the N.T.


The Old Testament is saturated with prophetic signs of the coming Messiah which were later fulfilled and written of in the New Testament: Prophesies about Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and much more. Just a few are:


-He would be a descendant of Abraham: Genesis 18:18, Matthew 1:1-17


-He would be Born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1


-He would be born a virgin: Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18-23


-He would come for all people groups: Genesis 18-17-19, Acts 3:24-26


-He would speak by God’s authority: Deuteronomy 18:15-19, John 12-48-50


-He would have a Triumphal entry into Jerusalem: Zechariah 9:9, John 12:13-15


-Leaders would conspire against him: Psalm 2:2, Matthew 26:3-4


-He would suffer willingly: Isaiah 53:12, John 12:27


-He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver: Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 26:14-15


-He would be crucified with sinners: Isaiah 53:12, Matthew 27:38


-Lots would be cast for his clothing: Psalm 22:18, John 19:23-24


-No bones broken at his death: Psalm 34:20, John 19:33


-He would usher in a New Covenant: Jeremiah 31:31, Matthew 26:28


Christ as the Fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures


In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (ESV)

We can use this to shape the way we read the Old Testament; reading it through the lens of it being a foreshadow of what would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ and that all of it ultimately points to Him.


A few ways Christ is the Fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures are:


-Jesus the Perfect High Priest:

In the Old Testament, a veil was hung in the Temple before the holy of holies. This curtain separated the holy place from the holy of holies (Exodus 26:31-35): the holy from the profane (Ezekiel 42:20, NASB). Only one day a year, one could enter the holy of holies, and this was on the Day of Atonement, and could only be entered by the high priest who would bring the offering for sin behind the veil as a purification offering (Leviticus 16:11-28). Even then, the high priest had limited access to the holy of holies, and there were restrictions regarding when and how all worshippers could come before the Lord.


In the New Testament, we read that after Jesus’ death, the curtain in the temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:50-54); the physical barrier between God and man was removed, a new covenant was established (Matthew 26:28), and the righteousness of Christ was imputed on believers for the forgiveness of sins (Philippians 3:9). Christ was the perfect High Priest in whom we now can confidently draw near to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16), and have access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18)



For more info on the significance of the veil torn in two, read this Desiring God article, titled "The Veil Was Torn in Two" (Reference 5 below). 

-Jesus would be our Passover Lamb:

In the Old Testament we read of God’s people sacrificing a Passover Lamb, perfect and unblemished, to save God’s people, the Israelites, from the wrath of God over the land of Egypt (Exodus:12:21-27).


In the New Testament we read that Jesus Himself came to be, “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29). Jesus’ death and resurrection took place during the annual time of the Passover celebration. He was the perfect and unblemished Lamb, who sacrificed Himself, not just for the Israelites, but for all people who believe, from the just wrath of God, once and for all.


-Jesus is the Bread of Life:

In the Old Testament we find that God sent down Manna (bread) from heaven, during the time His people were wandering through the wilderness for 40 years, before entering the Promise Land (Exodus 16:14-36, Deuteronomy 8). The Lord provided just enough for them each day, and on the sixth day He provided enough for two days, so they could take a Sabbath day to rest.


In the New Testament, written in John 6:48-51, Jesus said, “ I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (ESV) The bread the Israelites ate (In the Old Testament) did not give them eternal life. Receiving Jesus, however, the living “bread of life” is bread we can take of and have life eternal.


Some Promises Found in the Bible for Christians:


-Abundant Life in Jesus (John 10:10)

-Adoption into God’s family through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:14-15)

-Confident Access to God (Hebrews 10:19-20)

-Eternal Life with God in Heaven through Jesus Christ (John 14:1-3)

-Forgiveness of Sins (1 John 1:9)

-God Hears Our Prayers (1 John 5:14, James 5:15-16)

-God Will Help in Overcoming Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)


(Reference 3 below)


How the Bible is Broken Up


The Old and New Testament are broken up into 5 different categories each.


5 Categories of the Old Testament:

-Books of the Law (Otherwise known as the Torah)

-Genesis -Exodus -Leviticus -Numbers -Deuteronomy

Historical Books

Poetry and Wisdom

Major Prophets

Minor Prophets


5 Categories of the New Testament:

Gospels

-Matthew -Mark -Like -John

Historical

Pauline Epistles (Written by the Apostle Paul)

General Epistles

Apocalyptic (Meaning "hidden" or "secret")


Conclusion

Whether we realize it or not, the worldview we hold to shapes nearly all aspects of our lives. With that, we encourage you to reflect on your worldview and what it's foundations are founded upon.


Year after year, the Bible has proven itself to withstand the test of time and be sufficient for teaching, training in righteousness and equipping for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16). With this, we encourage you to dig into the Bible, the timeless and unshakable source of Truth.


If you're looking for pointers on studying the Bible, check out our "Tips for Studying the Word" blog: found in the menu under "Faith Basics")


References used:

  1. Slager, Thomas. Highlands Church, Scottsdale, AZ. “Can I Trust the Bible?” (January 7th & 10th 2021) https://highlandschurch.org/sermon/can-i-trust-the-bible/ (Minute 7:38)

  2. Gilbert, Greg. What is the Gospel? Wheaton, Illinois. Crossway. (2010) Pg. 61

  3. Summer, Tracy M. Bible Vitals: Facts, Figures, Faith and Fun. Uhrichsville, Ohio. Zondervan. (2010). Pg. 5, 99-103,148-153

  4. Unger, Merrill F. Ligner’s Bible Dictionary. Chicago, Il. Moody Press. (1981). Pg. 106, 397, 918

  5. Gurtner, Daniel M. 2019. Desiring God. The Veil Was Torn in Two: What Happened on Good Friday? https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-veil-was-torn-in-two

  6. Vikrler, Henry A. Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Books. (1981). Pg. 76-77


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