The Bible is a unique book. A collection of smaller books, 66 of them joined together, to become what we also know as the Scriptures or the Word of God. It contains about 611,000 words, written by 40 main authors, over a period of 1500 years.
A bit of history:
The word Bible comes from two Greek words.
- biblion, meaning “book” or “roll”.
- byblos, from the pith of the papyrus plants growing along Egypt’s Nile River.
The papyrus plants were cut into strips and the pulp of them sun dried. These thin strips were then glued together in a criss-cross fashion, vertical strips laid across the horizontal strips, and so on, finishing with a top horizontal strip to form a smooth writing surface. The final “book” (or scroll) was made by gluing sections of these strips together, into lengths of up to 30 feet which could be rolled up.
Over the course of time, the Latin word biblia came to denote all of the books of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament, or the Hebrew scriptures.
These go back thousands of years and were both written down and communicated orally. Their principle purpose is to lay the foundation, or make preparation for, the coming of the Messiah (or Jewish Savior). Who would come as prophet (proclaiming God’s Word), priest (representing God to man), savior (who would die to save man from sin), and king (to rule eternally with God the Father).
The New Testament.
Recounts the coming of the long-awaited Savior, his person, and his work. It then goes on to teach his disciples or ambassadors how they should live and walk. Finally concluding with the book of Revelation, foretelling end time events and eternity.
The Bible is God’s primary way of revealing himself to humanity.
Through the centuries God has revealed himself through creation, history, miracles, and visions given to the prophets. But as Christians we believe his principle method of revelation is his written word. And this, along with many other points, makes the Bible the most important book of all to read.
It’s continuity: though made of many books, its message is one.
It has one main theme running throughout: the story of Jesus Christ, foretold in the Old Testament and recounted in the New. Regarding the precision of this intertwining, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir states, “Even with our modern technology and massive libraries and resources no work has ever come close!”
More copies of early manuscripts exist than for any other historical book. And more proof exists for the authenticity of the Bible than for any other ancient text.
It’s message is timeless.
It is timely and relevant for every age and in all eras. And no other book has been published in as many languages as this book which contains the answers that people have been asking down through the ages. Questions regarding the most fundamental life issues: What is the purpose of life? Where did life come from? Is there life after death?
Its unprejudiced authority.
Though penned by humans, it it is not a prejudiced account in man’s favor. Rather, it is an honest account of man’s sins, weaknesses, and nature, which we see played out even in history today.
But mostly, because it comes from God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is backed by his authority.
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, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
We are the most blessed of people to have this trustworthy, eternal guide which has endured down the centuries. May we always endeavor to read, study, and believe this book more and more.
The Bible: our greatest source for knowledge, truth, grace, and wisdom!
- Comparing the Old and New Testaments (Bible.org)
- Papyrus (www.brittanica.com)
- Terms Used for the Bible (Bible.org)
- What is the Bible? (Biblica, the International Bible Society)
- Why Should I Care About the Bible? (Into Thy Word)