An Overview Of The Bible

The Bible is one book. Seven great marks attest this unity.

1) From Genesis the Bible bears witness to one God. Wherever he speaks or acts he is consistent with himself, and with the total revelation concerning him.

2) The Bible forms one continuous story — the story of how humanity relates to God.

3) The Bible makes the most unlikely predictions concerning the future, and, when the centuries have brought round the appointed time, records their fulfillment.

4) The Bible is a progressive unfolding of truth. Nothing is told all at once. The law is, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn.” Without the possibility of collusion, often with centuries between, one writer of Scripture takes up an earlier revelation, adds to it, lays down the pen, and in due time another man moved by the Holy Spirit, and another, and another, add new details till the whole is complete.

5) From beginning to end the Bible testifies to one redemption.

6) From beginning to end the Bible has one great theme — the person and work of the Christ.

7) And, finally, these writers, some forty-four in number, writing through twenty centuries, have produced a perfect harmony of doctrine in progressive unfolding. This is, to every candid mind, the unanswerable proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible.

The Bible is a book of books. Sixty-six books make up the one Book.

Speaking broadly there are five great divisions in the Scriptures, Christ being the one theme (Luke 24:25-27).

1) Preparation For Christ — The Old Testament

2) Appearance Of Christ — The Gospels

3) Preaching Of Christ — Acts

4) Explaining Christ’s Works — The Epistles

5) Christ Judging The World — Revelation

In other words, the Old Testament is the preparation for Christ. In the Gospels he is manifested to the world. In the Acts his preached. In the Epistles his Gospel is explained. And in Revelation all the purposes of God in and through Christ are consummated.

And these groups of books fall into sub-groups. This is especially true of the Old Testament, where there are four well defined groups:

REDEMPTION:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

ORGANIZATION
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1,2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings, 1,2 Chronicles, Ezra,
Nehemiah, Esther

POETRY
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

SERMONS
Lamentations, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zehpaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Genesis is the book of beginnings, and explains the origin of Israel. Exodus tells the story of the deliverance of Israel; Leviticus of the worship of Israel as delivered people; Numbers the wanderings and failures of the delivered people, and Deuteronomy warns and instructs that people in view of their approaching entrance upon their inheritance.

The Poetical books record the spiritual experiences of the redeemed people in the varied scenes and events through which the providence of God led them.

The prophets were inspired preachers, and the prophetical books consist of sermons with brief connecting and explanatory passages. Two prophetical books, Ezekiel and Daniel, have a different character and are apocalyptic, largely.

The Bible tells the Human Story.

Beginning with the creation of the earth and man, the story of the first human pair continues through the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

With the twelfth chapter begins the history of Abraham and of the nation of which Abraham was the ancestor. It is that nation, Israel, with which the Bible narrative is mainly concerned with from the eleventh chapter of Genesis to the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

The Gentiles are mentioned, but only in connection with Israel. But it is made increasingly clear that Israel fills the scene only because they are entrusted with the accomplishment of great world-wide purposes (Deuteronomy 7:7). The appointed mission of Israel was:

1) To be a witness to the unity of God in the midst of idolatry (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:10)

2) To illustrate to the nations the greater blessedness of serving the one true God (Deuteronomy 33:26-29; 1 Chronicles 17:20,21; Psalms 102:15

3) To receive and preserve the Divine revelation (Romans 3:1,2)

4) To produce the Messiah, earth’s Savior and Lord (Romans 9:4). The prophets foretell a glorious future for Israel under the reign of Christ.

The Central Theme of the Bible is Christ.

It is Jesus Christ — “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) — his sacrificial death, and his resurrection, which makes up the Gospel. All earlier Scripture points forward to Him leads, while all following Scripture points back to Him.

The Gospel is preached in the Acts and explained in the Epistles. Christ, Son of God, Son of man, Son of Abraham, Son of David, thus binds the many books into one Book.

Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) he is the ultimate destroyer of Satan and his works; Seed of Abraham he is the world’s Blesser; Seed of David he is Israel’s King. “Desire of all Nations.”

Exalted to the right hand of God he is “head over all to the Church, which is his body.”

Meanwhile the Church looks for the fulfillment of his special promise: “I will come again and receive you unto myself” (John 14:1-3).

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