The Bible, is a library of books addressed to men and given by God
The Bible contains two collections of books: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament is composed of 39 books, and contains three quarters of everything in the Bible. It contains the Torah, the Psalms and the Writings of the Prophets. It relates the words and works of God through the history of men since the creation of the earth and our first parents Adam and Eve Hawa) until around 450 BC. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew (with some portions in Aramaic).
The New Testament is composed of 27 books. The 4 Gospels are the story of the life, the teaching of Jesus. The narrative continues with the “Acts of the Apostles” or the history of the infant until about 90 AD Church. There follow several epistles or letters. The New Testament was written in Greek, constituting the last quarter of the Bible.
1. What are the books of the Old Testament?
Written mainly by prophets such as Moses (Musa), David (Dawud) and Isaiah (Ichi ‘ia) the 39 books are grouped as follows:
The books of the Torah or Law also called Pentateuch, include the 5 books written by Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The story of the creation of the world, the life of the patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the life of Moses in Egypt and Sinai, his extraordinary acts accomplished by the power of God, Has given to his people on his part.
In these books man’s problem is particularly revealed as sin against a holy God. The remedy for this sin is revealed as a sacrifice. The penalty of death is taken by a substitute. Before Christ came, the substitute was a lamb or other authorised clean animal.
The person who offered the sacrifice for sin was a priest. That priest was anointed. The important thing to note is that the word Messiah means ‘Anointed One.’ These priests were not the Messiah, but they prepared the people to understand what the Messiah would come to do.
The historical books, numbering 12: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. They tell the story of the Jewish people seen under the gaze of God, when he obeyed, when he disobeyed, when he was blessed, when he was punished. We discover the life of David, Solomon and others.
The main problem of man that these books reveal is the anarchy of the heart, leading to people ddoing what is right in their own eyes, and rebelling against God their Creator.
God’s remedy for these people is to give authority in their lives through a king to rule them. Before king was appointed he was anointed. Remember, the word Messiah means Anointed One. God was preparing the world to understand that His Messiah would be a priest coming to offer a sacrifice for sin, and a king anointed to bring authority to man’s anarchy.
Next come the prophetic books, divided into two sections.
The first section contains 5 poetic books: Job, Psalms (Zabur), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. They contain the prayers that believers have addressed to God in all the circumstances of their lives, happy or dramatic. There are words of wisdom to help in the conduct of his life and a poem of love that reflects the love of God for man and the love of man for God. They also contain many prophecies preparing the world to identify the promised Messiah.
The second section contains the prophetic books (17 in number):
The “Major Prophets”: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. They are called major prophets only because their books are larger than the 12 other prophets’ writings.
The “Minor Prophets”: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. They are “minor” by the short length of their writings. It is not because they are less important than the other prophets.
These men were called by God to address the people in very difficult times of crime, debauchery, war and oppression. It reads the warnings of God, his pathetic appeals for the people to return to him, his promises for the present or for the future.
These books also reveal a third problem that Man has. We are ignorant. When Adam fell He lost the knowledge of God. He cannot find the truth intuitively or logically. God must reveal it. That is why God inspired all the prophets and revealed Himself to them and through them. The problem is ignorance and the remedy is inspiration. The person ordained by God to bring this inspired instruction was a prophet. The prophets were men anointed before they were appointed.
God was preparing the world for the promised Messiah
God revealed that man has three basic , and serious problems. They are sin, anarchy and ignorance. He revealed through the Old Testament that His remedy for these three problems are a sacrifice to take away the guilt of sin, authority to subdue the rebellion of their anarchy, and inspired instruction to deal with our ignorance of God. The Old Testament reveals a complete remedy for our condition as sons and daughters of Adam when he sinned against God. These three consequence pass to us, but God promised to send a Saviour, not just a teacher.
The priest of the Old Testament were sinners. They also died. They needed to offer sacrifices for their own sins. They were a picture of the Messiah, but they were not the Messiah.
The kings of the Old Testament were themselves rebels and anarchists against God. The Bible gives a true account of the prophet David’s sins and Solomons evil life in old age. They were pictures of the Messiah, but the authority they brought was imperfect, because they suffered from the same problem they had been anointed and appointed to remedy.
The prophets of the Old Testament were also ignorant. They often searched what the Holy Spirit meant as He revealed to them and through them instruction for the people, especially about the Messiah promised since the Fall of Adam. They were pictures of the Messiah, but none of them were the Messiah.
The Old Testament reveals that the Messiah would not only be a prophet to instruct us, but a priest to offer a sacrifice for sin and a king to rule over our rebellious hearts.
Only one person fulfilled all those prophecies, and the New Testament shows that Christ offered one sacrifice for sin. He was the Lamb of God. He is the final priest who has offered the complete, perfect and final sacrifice, Himself as He died on the Cross.
He is the King. He was never a rebel or anarchist against God. He can rule over our hearts and subdue our own anarchy.
He is the prophet. He was not ignorant of God. He never said “I think…” about God. He said, You have heard that it was said…” but then added, “but I say to you.” It was as if all the other prophets finished their writings with a comma. There was more to say. However, when Jesus had finished revealed the truth both in His own words and through the Apostles, there was a full stop. The Old and New Testaments are a complete, perfect revelation of all that we need to know about God.
2. What are the books of the New Testament?
The 27 books were written by men who knew Christ or who received the testimony of those who had come close to him. These books are:
The 4 Gospels written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Reading them one after the other, or at the same time, we find in them the accounts of the birth of Jesus, of his childhood, and his addresses to the people. He is then followed by the miracles he performed, the words he addressed, the opposition he met with from the religious leaders, to his condemnation, his tragic death on the cross And his glorious resurrection.
The Acts of the Apostles: Written by Luke, this book relates the conversion of the early Christians and the birth of the Church, that is, the living community of men and women who believed and received forgiveness and life eternal.
The Epistles (or letters) of the Apostle Paul are 13: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. They are therefore addressed to local communities, or local churches or disciples of Jesus.
Other Epistles called “general”, they number eight: Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude.
The Epistles formulate Christian doctrine and instruct believers on the conduct they should have in their social, family and community life of local churches. The Epistles also contain serious warnings about the danger of a corruption of the Gospel by false teachers who twist their meaning or wish to produce a new one.
The Apocalypse or “Revelation”: this fascinating narrative was written by the apostle John, the author of the Gospel and the Epistles that bear his name. In a vision John saw the glory of Jesus in heaven, received warnings and encouragement addressed to Christian communities, witnessed heavenly and earthly scenes on the dramatic events of the end of the world, the return Of Jesus Christ, the judgment of men and Eternal Life in Paradise.
3. What is the message of the Bible? The Old and New Testaments are in agreement. They never contradict each other. They describe our three greatest problems and shows us the single remedy provided by the Messiah as prophet, priest and king.
Therefore, at the heart of solving this problem is Christ, who is still alive and just as accessible now as when he lived on earth. Will you seize the Good News and eternal life? Is it right to condemn this one book, which has two lips, (the Old and New Testaments,) without having examined it? And if we examine it, shouldn’t we do it without prejudice, or presuming it is corrupted, false and even evil? Nothing obliges you to believe what is in the Bible, nor to believe what I have said about it. But, before rejecting everything, why not give it sincere examination? After all, every accused person must be presumed innocent until the evidence is examined. Many people say the Bible is full of mistakes, contradicts, or that it has been changed.
Why not examine its message?