Essential Bible – 1: Overview

Dedications

These blog posts are dedicated to Mr. Don Bowles, who, at age 64, looked at me in all piety and readily admitted he knew nothing about the Bible. With his humble eyes and heart, he asked me to teach him the Bible. I’m sure that these blogs will benefit anyone who just wants to know the basics. Please follow my blog at www.marvincox.com/in-the-field-news/ for more bible studies, lectures, sermons, and theological studies.

I. Introduction

Knowledge of the Bible is critical in understanding who Christ is and what He did and why He did it. There are many people who believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ but have limited Bible knowledge. Now faith is all it takes to be saved, but in being saved, the Holy Spirit urges us to learn the Bible. This study will cover the basics of the Bible and how it came to be. The study is written for the understanding of those who have the want to know the basics. I personally hope you enjoy this study and that it brings illumination in the Scriptures which are able to enlighten your life.

II. Bible Overview

The Bible, according to conservative scholars, started being penned over 4,650 years ago. The first author of the Bible was Moses who penned the first five of the thirty-nine Old Testament books. God used human authors to express his Word with each author living in different eras with different cultures. The Bible reveals God’s truth with human authors adding individual human characteristics. We can say that God’s Word reveal’s not only absolute truth but the authors personality as they convey God’s truths.

Purpose

The Bible was written to reveal God’s plan for mankind after Adam disobeyed God. God’s plan was to redeem man through a Messiah who would be both God and man. This Messiah has the name Jesus Christ. All books point to and are written to reveal Christ. This is called the Christ-centered view of the Bible. Let us consider Romans 15:4,

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through the endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (ESV).

Who or what is this “hope” Paul is talking about? The hope is eternal life found only in faith in Christ. The substance of God’s plan is found in Ephesians 1:9, 10. It says,

“making known to us the mystery of his will, according to the purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (ESV).

God’s original plan and purpose for the Scriptures is to “unite all things” in Christ.

The Bible also reveals God’s promises to mankind. Imagine escaping death and living forever. Imagine if it were possible. Through Christ it is. Let us look at a famous passage of Scripture of which we find one of God’s main promises to those with faith. John 3:16 says

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”

God’s promise, out of His immeasurable love for us, is that we who have faith in Jesus Christ should not die, but have eternal life. Isn’t this great news? The Bible is written to reveal this great news. Now that we have covered the purpose of the Scriptures, let us move on to how they came to be.

II. Attributes of Scripture

Revelation

The word revelation means “something revealed or shown or something unmasked or unveiled” further than what was previously known. This segment is not on the book of Revelation but rather the process by which God shows himself, his will, and his plan in the Bible. Christianity is a revealed faith and religion. There are two types of revelation that are addressed here. One being general revelation and one being special or supernatural revelation.

General Revelation

To define simply, general revelation means “the things of God generally revealed to all mankind”. This says that there is a way to know there is a God outside of the Bible and that this way has been revealed by God to all mankind in all history and will continually be revealed to all mankind in the future. General revelation is a testimony of God that He exists as seen through the things He created or as seen through all of nature. (See Rom. 1:19-20).

Another way of knowing there is a God outside of the Bible is the human conscience. The human conscience tells us whether we are wrong or right in the tgings we both do and think. Laws for countries have been built around the human conscience. The only way to fix the consciousness of doing something wrong is through special or supernatural revelation.

Special or Supernatural Revelation

This type of revelation only comes from God revealing Himself in a special or supernatural way, i.e. the Bible. This is the only way in which to find the knowledge of how to be redeemed from the wrong that your conscience has convicted you of or your the only way to be redeemed from sin.The entire Bible points to the coming of Christ as One who will take away our sin. God revealed the words of the Bible to the authors in a supernatural way. God gave them His truths and allowed the human authors to write them down as seen from their persepective, era, and culture. This renders the Words of the Bible entirely true.

Inspiration

The word “inspired” means God breathed. God breathed his truths into his authors who wrote them down in the light of their respective eras, cultures, and personality. The Doctrine of Inspiration establishes the divinity of Scripture. To say scripture is inspired is the same as saying that the authors wrote God’s revelations down in scripture.

Some Scripture testifies to itself concerning its divine inspiration. Study the following Scriptures and ask yourself, what does this say about the Bible’s Godly inspiration.

Matt. 5:18; John 10:34-36; Acts 1:16; Gal. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:19-21

Inerrancy

The Doctrine of Inerrancy is the doctrine that states that the Bible is without any error in its original manuscripts and if interpreted as written is entirely true and inerrant. This means that all the Bible tells, its historical places, its historical acts, its historical men and women, and its doctrine are all without error when the original author penned it.

Scripture Alone

The words “Sola Scriptura” is latin and comes out of the period the church went under reformation. Martin Luther first coined the phrase. The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura means that the church and believer’s only infallible, immutable, and sufficient rule for practicing the Christian faith comes from the Scriptures alone. That means no other writing is considered a pure divine revelation apart from the 66 books in the original Bible. The doctrine also concludes that no man, bishop, or pope overrides the Scriptures in doctrine and practice. This doctrine was written because of the natureof the Bible in its revelation, inspiration, and inerrancy. I mean if we believe the Bible is divine and inerrant, why should we settle for anything else other than Scripture alone.

III. Conclusion

We have covered some very important things concerning the Bible. We covered how the Bible started being written over four and a half millennia ago and the purpose of the written Word. We looked at a few attributes of the Bible that makes it the most unique book on the planet and good for both learning and teaching. The Bible is the standard for the Christian measure of faith and should be thought of as such.

I would like for those who read this to leave me a comment on what I could do better in writing and communicating these Bible studies. Should I write review questions? Should I elaborate less or more? Remember, these studies are for the those who know basically nothing about it.

Also, please if you have not discovered Christ, be a willing vessel for him to discover. Anyone who wants to know the truth will find it in faith of the Scriptures, first found in faith in Christ.

Rev. Marvin Stanley Cox, Jr., C.T.R., C.C.C.