The Holy Bible, made up of 66 books, that God has given us.
The first part of the bible – The Old Testament – contains 39 books. The second part of the Bible, The New Testament – contains 27 books
“You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) How quickly this one, brief life passes. To ruin it by choosing a wrong direction would be a terrible waste. Yet how can we be sure of life’s true purpose and direction? How can we be certain that we have made the proper preparation for what lies beyond death?
Bible is “The Book” that alone is a Map to guide us safely through life and deathCan we call any book — “The Book”? How can a book come to have such a title — “The Book”? As you will see, the Bible fully deserves that title.
How many ancient copies from the New Testament still exist? Well over 4000! The oldest of these dates back very closely to the time when the New Testament was first written. In these matters, no other ancient book is even near to being like the Bible.
The Bible was first written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. It has come into our modern languages through translation. So important is its message that the Bible (or parts of it) has been translated into 2,000 languages. Over 80% of the world’s people speak these languages. No book has been – and continues to be – translated more widely than the Bible.
The Bible was the first book printed for the ordinary people. Year after year the Bible continues to be the “top seller” in the world. No other book comes close to it.
The Bible’s complete truth and honesty make it quite different from other books and writings that record ancient history. The Bible shows both the good and bad (even the VERY bad) in Israel’s greatest leaders. Whether king or slave, rich or poor, man or woman, all were measured by the same ruler, “the law of the LORD.”
As we have seen above, The Bible was written by 40 men during a period of 1600 years. Since most of these writers were not alive at the same time, they could not work together in any direct way. Yet the Bible has one continuing story flowing through it. It forms a complete, united picture. No other book has been written like this. In the most amazing way, it joins centuries of history with the highest wisdom.
It is not surprising then that well over a quarter of the world’s population claims some belief in the Bible. Three great world religions claim roots linked with the Bible.
The Writers of the Bible Claimed to Speak from God
In seeking a Map for life, we should open the Bible because of the claims it makes. Again and again it assures us that it is the pure word of God. Look at these examples from the pages of the Bible:
Moses said the Ten Commandments were written “by the finger of God” on stone tablets (Exodus 31:18). He reported the God spoke with him “face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11).
King David said, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel spoke (this) to me.” (2 Samuel 23:2-3)
Jeremiah wrote, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying,”… I appointed you as a prophet to the nations…you must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you…” Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:5-9).
There are well over 2000 places in the Bible where the prophets said things like: The Lord said unto me… These are the words of the Lord… This is what the Lord says…
We must seriously ask, “Did these prophets have a bad habit of lying? Or were they speaking the truth, since God really did speak through them?”
Jesus assured us that these Bible prophets spoke the truth. Jesus relied on their reports of history (Matthew 12:40; 24:37-39). He trusted in all their writings, and taught us to have the same trust (Matthew 5:17-19; Luke 16:17, 29; 24:27,44; John 5:39-47). Jesus quoted often from “the Law and the Prophets.” He based His arguments on specific words they used (Matthew 19:5-6; 22:32). When Jesus did this, He reminded us,
“The Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)
How can Scripture be so fully trusted? Because it comes from God, not men. Quoting from Moses’ writing, Jesus said, “Have you not read what GOD said to you?” (Matthew 22:31). When Jesus quoted from the Psalms, He said that David spoke “by the Holy Spirit” (Mark 12:36).
Jesus himself claimed to speak from God. Jesus said, “I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:49-50)
Jesus also made this very bold statement of power: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me; therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:18-20)
The apostles were leaders chosen by Jesus in the early days of Christianity. Here is how Jesus gave to them His message for all people:
“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…When He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all Truth…” (John 14:26,16:13).
Thus the apostle Peter, and those with him, taught “by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (1 Peter 1:12; also 2 Peter 3:2; Acts 2). The apostle Paul was able to say:
“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit… What I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.” (1 Corinthians 2:13; 14:37) “When you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the Word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
The Scriptures are the holy writings from God. Even before the New Testament was completed, this is how Paul describe the importance of Scripture:
“The Holy Scriptures… are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is Godbreathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
Paul urged his friend Timothy to be a good student of the Scriptures. Why? Because they are “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The apostles’ writings make them even more valuable to all who seek truth, for to the apostles Jesus promised “all truth” (John 16:13). There can be no doubt what the Bible is claiming to be: The Guide Book, or Map, from our Maker who gave us our special purpose and who calls us to fulfill that purpose.
The Guide Who Is Also The Way
The Bible often pictures life as a journey, in which we must choose the road we will travel. We should be careful because, “There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 16:25).”
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).”
Although there may seem to be many roads, in reality they come down to two choices. How can we see which way to take? “I am the light of the world,” Jesus said, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness” (John 8:12). As for the gate which leads to life, He is that Gate (John 10:9). He is also the Way (John 14:6; Hebrews 10:20). All who enter by this Gate, and follow this Way, come to the City prepared by God Himself. In this City God meets all our needs (Hebrews 11:16; 12:22; Revelation 21-22).
It is not surprising, then, that early Christianity was called “the Way” (Acts 24:14,22). This “Way” is not just one more idea, among many ideas, about life. The Way of the Bible brings us to a Person, a Guide who says of Himself, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life” 14:6).
Many people and books claim to guide us to a better life. Many claim to speak for, or about, God. Making loud claims is easy. The hard part is proving those claims to be true.,/p>
Most books by great thinkers do not try to offer real proof for what they say about God. The Bible not only offers good evidence, it is itself the proof! Remember that the Bible was written over a long period of history. Because of this, the Bible stands alone in being able to combine two things: It could foretell coming events. And, much later, it could then report their fulfillment.
Earlier Bible writers told of things yet to come. Then, even centuries later, other Bible writers saw and recorded those things coming true. These are not ‘guesses’ about small, hidden happenings. Many of these prophecies deal with entire nations, and world-changing events. Many of the prophecies are about the Christ.
Prophecies showed the line of parents through whom He would be born (Genesis 22:18; 49:10; Psalm 89; Jeremiah 23:5). They predicted the exact place of His birth (Micah 5:2). They described His nature and work (Psalm 2; 110; Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1-10). They foretold His death, and even His victory over death (Isaiah 53).
This picture of the Christ was drawn hundreds of years before the coming of Jesus. Yet Jesus fit every part of this prophetic picture so well that He is now called Jesus, the Christ. The evidences about Christ are so strong that the world has never been the same since His arrival.
About Wrongs Done By ‘Christians’?
Because the Bible is so convincing, Christianity has spread around the world. As it spread, some took its good name and twisted it, for their own selfish purposes. Terrible things have been done in the name of ‘Christianity’. Much of what claims to be ‘Christian,’ is not! Jesus Himself said that His name would be misused (Matthew 7:15-23). The apostles predicted that “many” would follow false leaders who would change Christianity (2 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:5; 4:3-4). False forms of Christianity have caused people to ask, “Where is the true Way, The Christianity of Jesus? Can we find it again?” Here is the greatest value of the Bible, for it has safely kept the true knowledge of Jesus. Real Christianity is, and will always be, CHRISTianity – based on what Christ is, does and teaches (1 Corinthians 3:11; Acts 1:1; 8:5,35). Christ Himself commanded all people to follow the original teachings He gave to His apostles. He said to the apostles
“…Teaching them to obey everything I (Christ) have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).” If we wish to have Christ with us, we must find and follow what Christ taught from the beginning. For that we must learn from the Bible. Some doubt that we can properly understand Scripture. Yet the Bible itself clearly says that even ordinary people can understand it (Deuteronomy 29:29; 30:11-14; Nehemiah 8:2,8: John 8:32; Ephesians 3:4; 2 Timothy 2:7). Jesus said that God’s word is like a seed in good ground (Matthew 13: Luke 8) “The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it (Matthew 13:23).” He understands when he listens with “a good (honest) heart” (Luke 8:15).
As a person is willing to listen with “a good (honest) heart”, sometimes the Lord gives him understanding through the help of a Christian friend. This is what happened to a man from Ethiopia:
The journey was long, and there was much time for thought. The official read carefully. His mind was on the greatest journey of all – life and death. This death, of which he read, was unusual. He did not fully understand it. Yet he knew that it was an important death, for the book telling about this strange death was _The Book_. Generation after generation, century after century, The Book’s wisdom led the way to a better life. The part he now read had first been penned 800 years earlier, by the prophet Isaiah.
To whom did Isaiah point, when he wrote of One killed as a sacrifice, like a lamb? Looking up, the official saw a man coming. Could this man help him? Could this be the friend he needed? The friend was a Christian called Philip. The official immediately asked him, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about…?” [Let’s conclude the story in the words of the Bible itself…]
“Then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:35-39).”
As chief treasurer for the queen of Ethiopia, the official (or “eunuch”) had many duties. Yet no duty was greater than his duty to God – from Whom all else comes. The official was religious. He had just been in Jerusalem to worship God. He was a Bible reader. These things did not make him proud. They made him aware of how much more he needed to learn. He welcomed a friend who could help him more fully understand God’s word. In so doing, he gained great happiness. In baptism he was “buried” and the raised up with Christ to a new and better life (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 22:16). Now, in the best sense, he was on his way Home, because He had found The Way!