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How to Understand the Bible

How to Understand the Bible

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Published by tsupasat
A very brief introduction to the Christian bible, including where we got the bible from, what our attitudes toward the bible should be, and how God uses the bible in our Christian lives. For one-on-one or small group bible study.
A very brief introduction to the Christian bible, including where we got the bible from, what our attitudes toward the bible should be, and how God uses the bible in our Christian lives. For one-on-one or small group bible study.

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Published by: tsupasat on Jun 13, 2009
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The Bible
Introduction
The Bible is made up of 66 books. It was written by many different authors over a period of roughly 1,500 years. Despite this diversity in origins, the Bible presents such aunified story. In short, you could say the Bible is the story of God’s relationship with people. The story begins in the Garden of Eden where God and Adam and Eve have closefellowship, and ends in the Heavenly Jerusalem, where that same close relationship between God and people is restored.The Bible is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament. “Testament”is an old word that means “covenant.” The Old Testament reveals God’s relationship with people under the law given to Moses, the old covenant. The New Testament revealsGod’s relationship with people under the new covenant of grace through Jesus Christ.The new and old covenants are not in conflict with each other, but the newcovenant fulfills the old covenant. Jesus came to complete God’s ultimate plan for humankind. He said so in Matthew 5:17:
 Matthew 5:17 
 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come toabolish them but to fulfill them.
The Old Testament sets the stage for and points toward the New Testament. For the Christian, the New Testament helps to illuminate and explain the Old Testament.
Composition of the Bible
Turn to your Bible’s Table of Contents. Let’s take a look at what’s in the Bible:
Law of Moses
The first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, andDeuteronomy) describe the relationship between God and people, how it was broken, andhow God intended to restore that relationship through people who had faith in Him, suchas Noah and Abraham.Like the rest of the Old Testament, the Law of Moses was written in Hebrew.These books form the basis of the Jewish religion, and were “the Law” Jesus spoke aboutin Matthew 5:17. These books were mainly written by Moses, and are also known as thePentateuch (Greek for “five cases”) or Torah (Hebrew for “the Law”).
History books
The next 12 books from Joshua to Esther record the history of the Israelites,starting from their return captivity in Egypt to their return from captivity in Babylon—a
Where to start?
If you are a new Christian, don’t try to read the Bible through end-to-end. Instead, use aBible reading plan (such as the One-Year Bible) to read both the Old and NewTestaments at the same time. If you don’t want to use a program, start with the Gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and Acts.
 
 period of nearly 1,000 years. By reading the history of Israel over such a long period, wecan learn about God and how He related to His chosen people, the Israelites. From thehistory books, we see that He is loving and merciful, but also holy and just.
Poetry
The next five books are poetry written by a variety of authors, some known andsome unknown. Proverbs and Psalms are the most famous books out of this group.Proverbs contains wisdom for everyday life, and Psalms helps us understand what a personal relationship with God looks like.
Prophets
There are many prophetic books in the Bible that are collections of prophesiesfrom Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc. All these prophesies were delivered in the period just before the capture of Jerusalem by the Persians, during the 70-year exile, or after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem.These prophesies are like letters from God directly to His people. Christians believe many of these prophesies also apply to all believers in a general sense.
How we got the Bible
The Old Testament
The Old Testament Christians use is the same as the Hebrew Bible, but arrangedslightly different. The latest book to be added to the Old Testament was roughly 400years before Jesus’ time, and Jesus read the same Old Testament books we have today.
The New Testament
The New Testament was written by the disciples and first-hand witnesses to thethings that occurred during Jesus’ ministry and the roughly 20 years following Jesus’death and resurrection. The early church recognized the 27 books of the New Testamentas representing the teaching of the apostles, and we believe the Holy Spirit guided theearly church in preserving these books.
Attitudes toward the Bible
What are the attitudes we should have toward the Bible?
Inspired by God
At New Hope International Church, we believe the Bible is God’s word and thatmen wrote it inspired by the Holy Spirit. There are no major factual or doctrinalinconsistencies in the Bible.
2 Peter 1:20-21
 Above all, you must understand that no prophesy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Equipment for Christian life
We believe the Bible is useful for every aspect of the Christian life.

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