THE UNIQUE BOOK
The Bible has been the best-selling book for so long,
they don’t even mention it on most best-seller lists now.
It was the first book to roll off a printing press, and has been translated into over 1000 languages.
The Bible is actually a collection of 66 writings from antiquity. Written by about 40 different authors over a period of about 1500 years, these writings (usually called ‘books’ these days) contain a variety of genres. There are letters, collections of songs, historical accounts, law, prophetic writings, proverbs and philosophical discourses.
One would expect a lot of discord in a collection of writings by 40 authors over 1500 years of history, but one of the most striking things about the Bible is its remarkable harmony despite its huge variety. The 66 books work together as a unit, showing a unity of purpose and design.
Another remarkable thing about the Bible is how it has endured through the centuries. There have been concerted efforts to destroy it, corrupt it, and ongoing efforts to discount it, suppress it, or ignore it. But it just won’t go away. That’s because it’s not just a good read, it’s a life-changing read—for those who heed its message.
The Bible has two main divisions, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was written centuries before Jesus Christ came to earth, in anticipation of his coming. The New Testament was written not long after Christ had been on earth and sent people out to spread his message of reconciliation with God.
All the way through, the Bible makes a huge claim for itself. It repeatedly claims to be the product of divine revelation. That is, God spoke to people, and people wrote down what he said. It’s a message from the Creator of the universe.
“No prophecy ever came from what some person wanted to say. But people were led by the Holy Spirit and spoke words from God.” (2 Peter 1:21, ERV)
“God, having spoken long ago to the fathers by the prophets, in many times and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us by a Son whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
“The sacred writings…are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
If the Bible really is a message from our Creator, it wouldn’t be any surprise if it were challenging to read, if it took some effort to comprehend its depth. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Creator knew how to communicate the most basic, urgent and crucial parts of his message clearly and simply.
That’s exactly what we see in the scriptures. If you want the full background, you can start reading at Genesis. If you want to hear what God said through his Son, you can read the book of Mark. If you want a more brief synopsis, you can read it in places like Acts 17:24-31, Acts 14:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
If you find the scriptures a little too hard to understand, you’re not alone. In Acts 8:30-31 we read of this exchange, when someone was reading the scriptures:
"Do you understand what you are reading?"
And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?"
Christ's followers love helping people understand God’s message in the scriptures. It is a book which has transformed our lives, and we’re keen to help others find that blessing from their Creator. Contact us if you’d like us to help you with this.
There are also on-line courses you can take which help people all over the world to get to know the scriptures. Here’s one we know well enough to recommend:
There’s lots more we could say about this amazing book, but we would only be repeating what others have already said on the internet. The best thing to do is to check The Book out yourself. After all, it is God’s message to you.
Links we like
Take a breath and hold on to your hat. This is a
three minute tour of the entirety of history covered in the Bible.
Doubter's Guide to the Bible by John Dickson. Everyone has doubts, and many have doubts about the Bible. This lecture explores why the Bible continues to be a life-changing and best-selling book.
Some good advice here about spiritual nourishment. The Bible isn’t written for entertainment, just as peas and beans aren’t dished up as a tasty appetiser. The Bible presents historical fact along with life’s spiritual reality, and that ain’t