If you study the books of the Bible carefully, you will find that about 40 different people were involved as writers. They wrote in different languages and lived in different countries – Mesopotamia (now Iraq), Greece, Egypt, Italy and of course, Israel.
The Bible is not just one book. It’s a collection of 66 separate books written over a long period of time – about 1,500 years. Which is why it is helpful to have a ‘Timeline‘ (available to download) when reading the Bible, to put into context the people and events the writers describe. Due to its accuracy, archaeologists often use the Bible as a ‘reference book’ to help them in their study of ancient civilisations.
The Bible then, in a very real sense, is not just one book, but a library of books. Having all these separate writings bound together in one volume makes it different and very special.
But the most remarkable fact is that there is a consistent ‘message’ running right through the whole of the Bible, even though so many different people were involved in writing these separate books, spread out over different countries and over so many years.
The consistent message of the Bible
From beginning to end the Bible claims God as its author. It tells us that God was involved with our world at the beginning of time and is still involved today. What’s more, God also tells us in the Bible about the future of our world and how we can be involved.
For a world so full of problems, with many gloomy forecasts about what lies ahead, the Bible is a hope-full book! It tells us how we can share in God’s plan for the future of the world and confidently look forward to far better times to come. In the Bible that plan is called the ‘Gospel‘, which means ‘good news’.
But the Bible also points a finger at the source of this world’s problems – US!
Using a word that’s not often heard these days – ‘sin’ – it explains why we die, but also gives us God’s ‘Instruction Book’ for life. All too often those helpful instructions are ignored.
The first part of the Bible (the ‘Old Testament’) uses the history of ancient Israel to teach us many important lessons about the sort of people God wants us to be…and not want us to be! It also points forward to the facts we read about in the second part of the Bible (the ‘New Testament’) and to the part God’s son, Jesus Christ, played in giving us hope for a far better future, despite our sinful nature. Taken together, all the 66 books tell us all we need to know about God and about how we should live our lives now if we want to be included in God’s future plans for the world.
Download a copy of the Bible Timeline