<<our creator’s manual for life>>
Does Scripture [God’s Word] guide my life?
Bible is salvation; it’s about the God who provides it, the means and way of salvation, with the terms whereby humanity can be blessed. Through Abraham God originally chose the Jewish Nation as His own people, and the OT majors on them. The NT tells how Gentiles (non-Jews) have the opportunity to be ‘grafted’ into the People of God and can share in the blessings of salvation. The Godly authors and prophets spoke the very words of God, often stating “So says the Lord” (Ex 10:3; Num 22:38; Isa 1:2,10; Jer 10:1, 11:3, 43:1, 45:2; Hos 4:1; 1 Thes 2:13). Their declarations were often met with rebellion and persecution with most of the NT authors martyred for their words completely convinced that the Lord held them responsible to represent Him faithfully.
The basic facts
The Bible comprises the Old (OT) and New Testaments (NT) or covenants. These are agreements that God made with humanity. The OT had rigid, external rules and regulations, designed to establish principles, while the NT covenant of grace offers freedom to operate inside specified boundaries, relying on the indwelling Holy Spirit and conscience to guide.
The Bible is a collection of ‘books’ which were written by 40 different writers over about a 1500 year time span (1400 BC to 90 AD, with a 400 year gap between the OT and NT) yet with a consistently unifying theme of God reaching out to humanity in love. A summary of each Bible book is included under its name in this resource. Although the whole Bible can be read in less than 80 hours (OT 59 hrs 15 mins, NT 20 hrs 25 min) its instruction and advice needs to be applied continually to our lives (Mt 7:24-27; Lk 8:21, 11:28).
It was around 400 AD that the Bible as we know it was assembled. Initially, it was not divided into chapters and verses, only the Psalms were individual items. The OT was originally written in Hebrew, with the NT in Greek and Aramaic, then later both were translated into Latin as that had become the common language. Around 1390 AD John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English as this was then the most widely understood language for people to read and comprehend. Numerous translations, versions and paraphrases (which rephrase the original words) have been produced over the centuries.Jesus declared, “This gospel of the Kingdom (the message of the Bible) will be preached in the whole world…” (Mt 24:14). Linguistic and
technological advances are helping make this a reality through satellites and the internet, with at least some portions of the Bible available in around 2900 of the estimated 7000 distinct languages.
"The Word of God stands forever" and will be the consistent standard by which everyone is judged, so make every effort to live a life approved by God (Isa 40:8; Jn 12:48; Heb 4:12).
Three ‘In’ words are often used in relation to the Bible:
Inspired. “All scripture is God-breathed [inspired]” (2 Tim 3:16,17). The Holy Spirit, used godly people who, although they wrote from their own personal, cultural and historical perspective, recorded what God wanted them to write (2 Pet 1:16,20,21). The Roman Catholic Bible includes the Apocryphal books that are not considered divinely inspired by Protestant churches.
Infallible means it is incapable of error, so is trustworthy and reliable, reflecting the author’s intended purpose, and it will not fail for “The Word of the Lord is right and true; for He is faithful in all He does” (Ps 33:4; Isa 55:11; Jn 14:6, 17:3). As it will be our judge it makes sense to read, study and live by its teachings (Jn 12:47,48; Heb 4:12; 1 Pet 1:23-25).
We will be judged on the basis of what He has said to us – John 12:48
Inerrant. This means it is without errors and none of it will fail to be accomplished (Ps 119:89; Mt 5:18; Mk 13:31). God’s Word is truth, because He can’t lie (Jn 17:17; Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18).
The credibility of the Bible
There is complete unity throughout the whole of Scripture in spite of the claim of discrepancies by some people. While there are sometimes differing interpretations of Bible verses and topics, all true Christians agree on the essential doctrines, the non-negotiable foundation principles of the Christian faith. Its trustworthiness is compelling, with the accuracy of its numerous predictions being proved true by secular historians, scientific and archaeological discoveries.
It gives a detailed description of crucifixion, written 1,000 years before Jesus was born and before this cruel means of death was developed (Ps 22:12-18). Other OT prophecies include Jesus’ birthplace, that His mother would be a virgin and His side would be pierced (Isa 7:14; Mic 5:2; Zech 12:10). The NT records verify these events and details (Mt 1:18,25, 2:1; Jn 19:23,24,34). Many other recorded prophecies were also fulfilled in Christ.
Looking ahead from the time of writing, the Bible also records events that are now in the process of being fulfilled or will be eventually. “In the last days, people will be…disobedient to parents…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2 Tim 3:1-5). The numerous traits listed in these verses are on the rapid increase. Many churches and individuals are falling into deception because “People will not put up with sound doctrine…” (2 Tim 4:3,4). Silicon chips have been developed in preparation for a cashless society when the anti-Christ will force people to receive some means of identification in their body to enable them to buy and sell (Rev 13:16,17).
Its truths are life changing and powerful if applied
‘born again’ they now live by its teachings and the empowering of the Holy Spirit for (Jn 3:16; Rom 3:23, 5:8, 6:23; 2 Tim 3:15). Like a light on our path the Bible guides us, giving us a correct perspective on life and providing wisdom to help us fear God, keep His commands and live uprightly as it continues to work in us (Ps 119:9,104,105,140; Eccl 12:13; Mic 6:8; Mk 12:30; Lk 6:31; 1 Thes 2:13). While the Bible's message of grace is foolishness to sin hardened hearts, the Holy Spirit working in our hearts through the Scriptures can overcome our indifference and disbelief, opening our eyes to see and believe that the Bible is true (1 Cor 2:14). It is then we acknowledge it is the life-changing Word of God. May this be true of you, “The Word of God lives in you and you have overcome the evil one” (1 Jn 2:14). When we interact with the Bible, we are in a sense interacting with God Himself in a very reassuring way.
See also: any of the individual Bible books, apocrypha, Bible study, commandments, deception, devotions, doctrine, false teaching, hermeneutics, inerrancy, infallibility, inspiration, interpretation, journaling, meditate/meditation, memorisation, New Testament (NT), Old Testament (OT), teaching, translate/translation, Word of God, Wycliffe.