What is the Bible?
If you have never seen a Bible before, it can be a daunting prospect to thumb through the many pages that it contains. There are 66 smaller ‘books’ that come together to form it, compiled over thousands of years by around 40 different authors (in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek).
Christians believe that God divinely inspired the authors of the Bible; in other words, God directly influenced the authors in such a way that the words of the Bible are the actual words of God. That is why Christians value it so highly!
Importantly, because the Bible was originally written in different languages, what we read today are translations of the Bible. As such, it is helpful to remember that we are reading translations of the inspired word of God.
The Bible gives the reader lots of answers as to who God is, what he is like, how we should act towards other people and how we can get to know God himself. We will discuss the Bible in great detail in the articles to follow, it is important to understand how to read it.
How Do I Read It?
The Bible centers around Jesus Christ, the focus, and center of the Christian faith. There are 39 books leading up to his birth; collectively, this is known as the ‘Old Testament’ (more on the word ‘Testament’ in future articles). The 27 remaining books are known as the ‘New Testament’, focusing on what Jesus accomplished for us and how we should live as a result of that. For new believers, the New Testament is a great place to start!
Each book is split into chapters and then verses which help make it easier to find specific sections, but this is a purely man-made addition. Although helpful, it is not to be considered as important as the words themselves. For example, take John 3:30. If you see “John 3:30” anywhere, it simply means that you should go to the Book of John, find the 3rd chapter and the 30th verse within that chapter. If you were to do that now, you would find the following:
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
It is possible that you found something very similar, but ever so slightly different. If this is the case, it is likely that you are reading a different translation. That’s ok. The core of the message (most of the time) stays the same.