Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
Facts about the Bible
What is the Bible teaching about itself? What is all the fuss over the Bible? There must be some reason, because it (or parts) has been translated into over 2,200 languages and dialects, and it is the world’s greatest seller. Amazingly, billions of copies have been produced – more than any other book in history! It is the primary religious document of over two billion people (Christians) in the world.
In fact, the approximately 2,200 languages represent the primary communication vehicle for 90% of the world’s population (www.biblesociety.org). Even though the Bible has been greatly persecuted and opposed by many through the ages, it has survived the sometimes savage criticism. Historically, it has influenced Western Civilization more than any other book.
The massive circulation, widespread acceptance, overwhelming cultural influence, and historical durability places the Bible in a league of its own. It is above “superstar” status! All this should get our attention. At least, it does mine.
However, the Bible didn’t always seem so attractive to me. Growing up in a small town in Idaho, I was exposed to Sunday school, and learned the Bible stories. I even learned the 10 Commandments and Psalm 23, but other things in life seemed to please me more than those Bible stories.
Actually, I was quite wild in my youth. It was later in life, in my late 20’s, that I became quite disillusioned with life, and began to explore the Bible – along with the patient guidance of a small town pastor, Mel Erickson.
It was at that time that I discovered that the Christian Bible consists of 66 individual books, written by over 40 authors during a period of about 1,600 years on three continents, and in two basic languages. It claims to be inspired by God in a different sense than any other literature in all history. It even claims to be without error or mistake.
I found out that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate single Author, and thus draws the 66 separate books into one unified and consistent book that lays out God’s plan and purposes for time and eternity. Now, that was an astonishing discovery that left my mouth hanging open, and my eyes all agog.
The Bible is in two main divisions: the Old Testament (OT), and the New Testament (NT). The OT is the collection produced by writers under God’s covenant with Israel, while the NT was written by those appointed Apostles under God’s new covenant.
The Central Person and Theme
The central Person is Jesus Christ who became God in the flesh, and the central theme is God’s salvation provided by His grace through faith in Christ. The Bible speaks with authority about the great issues that confront us: our creation, ultimate destination, present life, death, sin, personal relationships. It answers the questions such as, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? What is the meaning of life?” We gain hope and purpose from the Bible.
Let me tell you, when these facts began to sink into my brain, I was stunned, shaken, yet deeply fascinated. I concluded that there was no other book like it. Direct information from God that we can not gain in any other way but that God reveal it to us? Incredible! Yet, that is what the Bible is all about. That is not just my opinion, but the conclusions of some of the greatest thinkers of history, such as Martin Luther, Augustine, and C.S. Lewis.
I must confess that when I was grinding my way through some 12 years of formal college, university, and graduate school education, there were times when I doubted the Bible. During those times, I trudged back over the evidence, but kept returning to the same conclusion: the Bible is the Word of God. It is what it says it is. Incidentally, I have summarized that evidence in a book (soon to be an ebook) entitled, You Can Believe the Bible.
A Key Verse
Perhaps this one verse explains the nature and value of the Bible the best, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
We are told that “All” Scripture, which excludes everything else, and includes all parts of the Bible, is uniquely inspired. “Inspired” means directly sourced in and flowing from God in a way unlike any other literature. Of course, God guided human authors to accurately record the information, and yet not interfere with their careful human investigation of factual evidence, or their unique personalities and writing styles (cf. 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Luke 1:1-4).
The verse tells us the Bible is profitable for about everything in life. One of the most important things I discovered is that the Bible spelled out for me what was “good” and how to do and experience good. We all like “good” things as opposed to “bad” things, but most of humanity disagrees on what is good and/or bad. The Bible defines it for us. After all, God ought to know. He made us.
But, there is much more in the Bible. I have scratched only the surface of the doctrine of the Bible in this short article. There is, indeed, much to make a “fuss” over. I urge you to take the plunge, and to discover for yourself the vast riches in the Bible.
For two excellent study Bibles, I recommend theRyrie Study Bible and theNelson Study Bible.You can also keep looking for the upcoming ebook, “You Can Believe The Bible.” Keep checking back. I am constantly uploading new material.
All the best to you, and may God bless your study.
Discussion Study Questions
1. Why do you suppose the Bible has such a large circulation?
2. How many reasons can you come up with as to why the Bible is of good value? List them, and explain.
3. How would you explain the difference between how the Bible is “inspired,” and how other works are “inspired?”
4. Look up 2 Peter 1:20, 21, and explain how the concepts there relate to 2 Timothy 3:15- 17.
5. Based on 2 Peter 1:20, 21 and 2 Timothy 3:15-17, explain in your own words whether or not you believe the Bible can apply to people’s life today.
6. 2 Timothy says the Bible is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Explain in your own word what you think is the difference in the meanings of these concepts.
7. According to 2 Timothy 2:15, how should one approach the study of the Bible. Explain why.
8. According to 2 Timothy 3:15, what is the great value of the Bible?
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