Introduction

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
2 Timothy 3:16

THE BIBLE MAKES GREAT CLAIMS!

It clearly states that its author is God - the Creator of the universe. It claims to reveal God and His purpose and it speaks with authority. If this claim cannot be upheld, then the Bible is the greatest and most cruel hoax which has ever deluded mankind. If the claims of the Bible can be supported, then we are in possession of the world's greatest treasure.

The Bible, as the true Word of God, contains the key to peace and happiness. It answers the most perplexing questions concerning the meaning and purpose of our existence and the final outcome of the struggle between right and wrong.

LET US LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT ITS CLAIMS

Paul, writing of the Old Testament, says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16). Every word of the original manuscripts was written under direct Divine guidance. The Apostle Peter stressed the same fact, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" or Holy Spirit - Revised Version (2 Peter 1:21).

These two apostles claim Divine authority for the writings of the Old Testament, recorded centuries before their own days. This Divine authority is responsible for the complete harmony of teaching revealed in the Bible. The writers were separated by time, education, occupation, experience and social position, yet their writings all combine to form one united Book.

WHY THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN

The Bible tells us how human existence began and how God's plan of salvation will lead to the final victory of right over wrong and the extermination of every trace of sin and evil. The chief purpose of the Bible is to make known to anyone who is willing to hear, this way of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Old and New Testaments combine to present Jesus as the only Saviour of mankind.

"These signs are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31). In the pages of the Bible we find all the teaching necessary for man's enlightenment, the Divine definitions of right and wrong, and of man's duty to God and to his fellow-men (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Finally, the Bible has been given to tell us, in broad outline, what the future holds, that we might be prepared for the coming of Christ (2 Peter 1:19).

THE CONTENTS OF THE BIBLE

The Bible is a collection of books divided into two main sections. The books of the Old Testament were written before the time of Christ and the books of the New Testament after the time of Christ. There are 66 books altogether. You will find a list of them at the front of your Bible. They were written by about 40 different writers over a period of 1,500 years. They were written in a number of different countries - such as Israel, Egypt, Italy and Babylon.

All the books combine in one consistent theme - the theme of the working out of God's purpose with man from the very beginning, recorded in Genesis to the time when "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).

THE OLD TESTAMENT

The books of the Old Testament fall into four main sections:-

(a) THE BOOKS OF MOSES The first book is called Genesis, which means the beginning. It tells us about God's dealings with the first men on the earth. Then follow Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. They tell how God called Abraham, made a covenant with him and with his descendants, brought them out of Egypt and gave them the land now called Israel.

(B) THE HISTORICAL BOOKS From the Book of Joshua to the Book of Esther, we have a record of the history of the Israelites (or Jews) and of God's dealings with them.

(C) THE POETIC BOOKS The books of Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs were written in Hebrew (the language of the Israelites) in poetic form. They contain much important teaching about the ways of God and the feelings and duties of man.

THE BOOKS OF THE PROPHETS

The word prophet means seer - one who has insight or visions, not only of future events, but also of God's requirements of man. The long prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are followed by a number of shorter ones.

THE NEW TESTAMENT

(a) THE GOSPEL RECORDS
There are four separate accounts of the life of Christ, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; each is telling the gospel (the good news) in his own way.

(B) THE BOOK CALLED "THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"
This was written by Luke and tells what happened after Jesus Christ was risen from the dead. We are told how the first churches (or rather Ecclesias) were formed as the apostles carried the good news throughout the Roman Empire.

(C) THE LETTERS
These letters written by some of the apostles to help the early believers in the small, scattered, young ecclesias.

(D) THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Often termed the Apocalypse which means to uncover. This was the last message of Jesus, given in vision to the Apostle John.

JESUS CHRIST BELIEVED EVERY WORD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Jesus Christ is the central figure of the Bible plan and when he was born the New Testament did not exist. The Scriptures which he used and studied were the Old Testament. Jesus believed these Scriptures, he based his teaching on them and accepted them as indisputable authority. Look at these passages: John 5:46-47; Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44-48; Matthew 22:29; Mark 7:6-13.

Jesus speaks of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Solomon, and of many other people about whom we read in the Old Testament and bases his teaching on the fact that these people were real and that all of the Old Testament is the Word of God.