What is the Bible?
This article is an excerpt from the CSM book, “A Travel Guide to the Bible”. The book is in pre-press proofs and should be in distribution by July 1, 2017. The full text of the book can be found at www.asimpleword.org.
WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
What is the Bible? The Bible is a book. In many ways, it is like any other book. However, in some ways, it is like no other book. There are many ways that the Bible is a different kind of a book.
First, the Bible is one book made up of many parts. When we talk about these parts, we call them the books of the Bible. So the Bible is one book, made up of many books.
Second, more than one person wrote the books in the Bible. Many different people wrote them. The writers of the Bible came from many different places. They wrote over many centuries. Some wrote only one book. Some wrote more than one book. We know some of the writers well. They were men like Moses, David, Solomon, Ezra and Paul. These five men wrote much of the Bible. Many of the stories in the Bible are about these men as well. We do not know who wrote some of the books. We can make a good guess, but we cannot be certain.
Third, the books of the Bible are not all the same. Some of the books are long. Some of the books are as short as a personal letter. Some books tell the history of the world and of God’s people in particular. Some are books of laws. Some are books of poems and songs. Some of the books are letters that one of the men who followed Jesus wrote to a group of people. This is what makes the Bible so interesting. It contains many different types of writing.
When you start to read the Bible, you will discover something. The Bible is not a simple book. The writers did not explain everything that they wrote. So we need to find out all we can about each writer. We need to find out when they wrote. We need to know whom they wrote to. But remember this. The writers of the Bible wanted us to understand them. They wanted to be clear. They knew what they were writing was very important. So they wanted everyone to understand their words. They wanted people to remember these words for a long time to come.
We can also be sure that God wants us to understand what they wrote. That is why God helped the writers as they were writing. That is why he helps us as we read these words today. That brings us to the biggest difference between the Bible and all other books. The Bible is not just words from men. The Bible is the word of God.