Books of the Bible
|Books of the Bible|
|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS|
The Bible is composed of 66 books and is divided up into two main sections - the Old Testament and the New Testament. In Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity there are some additional books collectively known as the Apocrypha, that are not considered to be part of the Bible in Protestantism.
The Old Testament tells the story of the creation of the universe and God's intervention in early history and his guidance of the people of Israel. There are three main sections that make up the Old Testament - The Books of the Law, History and Poetry, and the Books of the Prophets. The Old Testament is a Christian term for the original Hebrew Bible which is known as the Tanak (which is an acronym for what the OT contains Law, Prophets, and Writings). The Old Testament sets the stage for what happens in the New Testament it provides the rules, the nature of God, the promise of GOD which are fulfilled further in the New Testament.
The first 5 books of the Bible Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. These five books tell us of Creation, the Fall, the emergence of the children of Israel and the legal codes that God gave them.
Three law codes that are relevant to Christians are the Ten Commandments, Shema (Love the LORD your God with all your heart), and Love thy neighbour.
The Prophets take up a large body of space. They range from the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Jeremiah who are classified as the major prophets to Hosea, Joel, and Jonah who are minor prophets. Prophets were divinely appointed spokesman for God. The Hebrew word for prophet 'nabi' means spokesman. They preached about the corruption of Israel, God's judgement and His future restoration. One vital cornerstone that has bearing for us would be the coming of the Messiah. This is mentioned in Isaiah 53 in the major prophets and last chapters of Zechariah in the minor.
History and poetry
Writings range from the historical such as Joshua, the Samuels, Chronicles, or Kings to poetry such as Song of Solomon, or Psalms and wisdom such as Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. They describe the nature of God such as Psalm 23, the wisdom of God and man's reaction such as in Job, or the History of Israel and God's involvement such as establishing King David and his legacy which led to Jesus Christ his most famous descendant of all.
The New Testament tells the story of Jesus, his ministry and death and resurrection, and the formation of the early church. It contains a number of letters that circulated in the early church. It is sub-divided into a number of categories including the Gospels, Epistles, history and prophecy.
Gospel is the Old English word god-spiel (good speak) the original Greek word was Evangel. Gospel means Good News. The Good News was that Jesus had arrived and was the Messiah that would fulfill the Old Testament, as Jesus himself declared of his death and resurrection, "As written in the Law, Prophets, and Psalms." There are Four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Mark is the oldest Gospel and the most barebones of all the Gospels, he wrote in AD 60 and served as a secretary for Peter. After Peter's death he wrote the first account of Jesus' life and times. Matthew was written towards a Jewish audience, he constantly emphasised how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies laid out in the Old Testament and was therefore the Messiah. Luke is the only non-Jewish author in the Bible. He wrote for a Gentile audience. Luke tended to use historical context of his day such as the Census and who was in charge in Rome and Palestine during Jesus' day to back up his claims that Jesus was the Saviour. Because Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain similar stories and sayings they are known as the Synoptic Gospels (Gk for to-be-seen-together). John is slightly different. It contains Jesus' I AM statements in which Jesus testifies that He is the Saviour. These four books tell the story of Jesus and show why He came to Earth. To die on the Cross and to rise again so that our sins were taken away and we would be made right with GOD.
Epistles are letters to Christian communities. The major letter writers in the Early Church were Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude. Peter and Paul were the major missionaries in their day and they wrote letters to the communities they preached to. Paul wrote towards Gentile communities such as Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome. He would talk about Jesus Christ, how Christians should act, and advise them on certain issues such as eating meat, dealing with others, and how to behave in worship. Peter and James also wrote likewise.
This is seen in the Book of Acts. Acts was written by Luke and it tells of the persecutions, the work of Peter and Paul, and provides us with a great historical context of Mediterannean culture in the 1st century. It too shows God's hand in the founding of the Early Church with the Holy Spirit coming down upon the 12 disciples and gives us our mission that all peoples must hear the Gospel.
Prophecy is a thread constant in the Gospels and the Epistles, but it also has it's own separate book in the form of Revelation. Revelation gives us a symbolic understanding of the Last Days with vivid descriptions of the End Times. It is advised that one read this book carefully and with prayer. The main message in Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming back for us and that is what we must look forward to.