Now we want to share more information about the Bible. The Bible is comprised of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Both are collections of books written by many different people during the days described in the previous chapter.
The Old Testament is the national archives of Israel. It contains the following:
Moses’ books: The first five books are considered to be written by Moses. Moses wrote down Hebrew mythology and the legends of the ancestors of the Hebrew tribe as Genesis. He also wrote down what happened during his lifetime and the instructions and laws that he received from God in four books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Historical books: Like other countries, Israel’s history is recorded and preserved in scrolls. These books contain stories of the Israelites, about kings and dynasties, their rises and falls, achievements and wars, characters and life events of great people, etc.
Prophetic books: The writings of prophets, who made proclamations in the name of God and later turned out to be true, and are highly valued by the Israelites. Prophets sometimes told the Israelites what they should do, sometimes rebuked the Israelites when they did wrong, and sometimes made predictions about the future.
Others: These include Job, a story of a good man called Job, Psalms, the lyrics of Israelites’ songs for their God, Proverbs, a collection of moral teachings, Ecclesiastes, some words of wisdom from a wise man, and Song of Songs, a love song between a man and a woman.
The Israelites believe these books are the most important writings of their tribe. The words are from the only God who chose them among all tribes in the world. Accordingly, they would protect these scriptures and fight for them to the death. In fact, they did this many times throughout history.
The New Testament was written after Jesus’ lifetime by several of his disciples and several students of his disciples. It contains the following:
Gospels: The biographies of Jesus. There are four books, written by four writers: Matthew, who was a tax collector and a disciple; Mark, who was a student of the disciple, Peter; Luke, who was a doctor and an assistant of the disciples; and John, who was a fisherman and a disciple. These four books recorded the birth, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Acts: Written by Luke, as well. It recorded events shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus. These events include the establishment of the early church, the beginning of persecution, and the life of Paul, who is considered to be a disciple and the main contributor of spreading Christianity to people who are not Israelites.
Letters: Disciples wrote letters to people or churches during those times for various reasons. Some of them are highly valued, carefully kept, and considered as God’s message. These books provide many guides to Christians and the church.
Revelation: Written by the disciple, John. The main theme of this book is to give some predictions about future events in a metaphorical way.
The aforementioned books are among the written materials of the early church. In the Council of Hippo (AD 393) and the Council of Carthage (AD 397), the leaders of the church decided that this collection of books, now called the New Testament, should have the absolute authority for teaching and practicing Christianity.
We can easily find out that the Bible contains many supernatural events with solid historical settings. Either they really happened beyond the explanations of science, or they were phony stories created by generations of frauds and lunatics over a period of more than a thousand years. If the latter is the case, it is interesting that this kind of material is copied in a great quantity and widely spread all over the world.
Although the Bible was written by people, Christians believe it to be inspired by God, who arranged the lives of writers, gave them the ideas about what to write, and preserved the writings through the ages. Like our written laws, they may be prepared by an average person with a typewriter, but the national authority makes them effective. Christians consider the Bible to be God’s orders. The Bible is holy. In a fallen world, reading the Bible is the most sure and direct way to contact the one who is holy.
Christians also believe that if anything is from God, it should be absolutely correct. God does not lie because he is God. The Bible should contain only the truth. God made promises in the Bible that we can count on. God said he will treat certain people in certain ways, and he will do as he claims.
Like a country has its constitution, the Bible is the ultimate authority of Christianity. All teachings of Christianity come from it. All activities of Christianity are based on it. All questions about Christianity should be answered by it. All Christians should live according to it. The Bible is the foundation of Christianity.