Friday, February 22, 2013

Five Things You Should Know About the Bible BEFORE You Study It – Part One

First things first: It is NOT chronological.

The Bible is a set of books combined into one big book, essentially. In order to understand it, and study it responsibly, knowing what is what is most helpful! Here is a very simple breakdown-my breakdown, it’s not anything official.

The Old Testament:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy – Also called Pentateuch, or Torah, or the Law
Documents which give the account of creation of the world and the establishment of Israel as God’s set apart land and people – This contains laws and procedures and a covenant, clarifying how Israel is to interact and behave as a holy people.

Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
These are historical accounts of Israel as a nation from when the people first enters the Promised Land until its destruction by the Assyrian (722 BCE) and Babylonian (586 BCE) empires, and even into the rise of the influence of the Persian Empire (Esther). Here you find the rise and fall of Israel as a kingdom; its creation, the accounts of the kings, its destruction. Again, the books are not chronological and sometimes overlap, repeat. They do not, however, contradict one another.
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Song of Solomon)
Here are a collection of poetic books and writings. Various writers make up this collection. For example, it is believed that Moses wrote Job while Psalms was written by songwriters like King David and also Asaph and the sons of Korah. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs were written by King Solomon.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
These books are prophetic writings. Each of the authors spoke to a specific group at a specific time. See the timeline below. These writings are kindof a commentary on how God viewed what was happening throughout Israel’s rise, fall and expulsion from the promised land. He spoke through these men to warn Israel about coming judgment.


The New Testament:

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
Here we find the accounts of the life of Christ-his birth, ministry, death, resurrection. It is believed that these were written in the AD years, mostly in the 1st Century AD.

Acts of the Apostles
This is a historical account of the ministry carried on by the appointed disciples.
Romans, I Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
After the death of Christ came a new apostle, Paul, a convert who became a great missionary. These books are letters he wrote to people groups and mentees, reinforcing their faith, encouraging them, and if necessary disciplining them. The letters were written to respond to problems, concerns and events going on in those places in history, they are not a complete set of dos and don’ts for the church today.

Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude
These letters were authored by several individuals and bear resemblance to Paul’s letters. They were occasional documents, sent to address particular issues.

This book is considered apocalyptic literature, as it pertains to the return and revelation of the Messiah and the establishment of God’s Kingdom in our renewed heaven and earth.

And that’s sixty six books! I do hope that helps as you begin to navigate your way around. If you want to read the Bible in chronological order, I understand that has a reading plan for that. There are also Bibles printed in that order.

That’s all for now…join me again as I share part two of 5 Things You Should Know About the Bible BEFORE You Study It

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