Our Christian Beliefs: Holy Bible

"...continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

The Bible is God's love letter to His people. It is inspired by God and "is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

The word "Bible" comes from the Greek word "biblios" which means book. It contains 66 books, written by 40 authors over a period of about 1,600 years. It consists of the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books). The word "testament" means covenant or agreement. The Old Testament is the agreement God made with man about his salvation. The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as the promised Savior of the world. The primary purpose of the Bible is to unfold God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Scripture bears witness to Christ so that we might respond to Him in faith (Romans 10:17).

The Ten Commandments are God's blueprint of how you are to live and relate both to God and men. They were originally given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, as recorded in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:1-20; Deuteronomy 5:5-21) and are as follows:

  1. I am the Lord your God: you shall have no other gods but Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself any idol.
  3. You shall not dishonor the name of the Lord your God.
  4. Remember the Lord's Day and keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. You shall not commit murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not be a false witness.
  10. You shall not covet anything, which belongs to your neighbor.
Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two:
  1. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."
  2. "The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30-31)
About the Bible

Its Composition
The Bible is a collection of 66 separate books and letters, written over a period of some 1,500 years culminating approximately 100 years after Christ's death and resurrection. It is divided into the Old Testament (the first 39 books) and the New Testament (the last 27 books).

The Bible has stood the test of time, the greatest test of all literature. It was completed nearly 2,000 years ago, yet is now read more than any other book and by people of widely varying cultures.

Its Writers
There were many different writers, who lived and wrote in different countries. They came from different walks of life and different social positions. One wrote history, another biography; another wrote on theology, another poetry, another prophecy. Some wrote on philosophy, and some stories of adventure, travel and romance.

Most of them had no contact with each other and no means of knowing that when their writings were all put together as one book it would be complete, all parts agreeing in doctrine, teaching and prophecy.

Its Author
Christians believe the Bible to be the Word of God because the Lord Jesus Christ believed it to be so. He constantly referred to the Old Testament in His Teachings. In every case, His words show that He believed in its historic accuracy and Divine Authority. Here are three (of many) passages which show his attitude to the Old Testament, called by the Jews "The Law and The Prophets."

  1. St. Matthew 5:17-19. Here Jesus underlines the Authority of The Law.
  2. St. Luke 24:27. Here He underlines the Message of The Prophets.
  3. St. John 5:39,40. Here He speaks of them as pointing to Himself as the source of eternal life.

He also gave the seal of His Authority to the New Testament in advance of it being written.
  1. St. Matthew 28:19,20. Here He commissioned His disciples to teach all nations "Everything I have commanded you." This would have been impossible without a written record.
  2. St. John 14:26. Here He promised that the Holy Spirit would bring back to their memories "Everything I have said to you."
  3. St. John 16:12-14. Here He promised that the Holy Spirit would teach them things they were not ready to understand at that time, but which were a vital part of His message.

Therefore, to believe that Jesus is the Son of God is to believe in the Divine Authority of the Bible. Further, St. Paul wrote "All Scripture is God - breathed." (II Timothy 3:16), and it is clear from II Peter 3:16 that St. Peter regarded St. Paul's writings as part of Holy Scripture.

Its Translation
The Bible, or portions of it, has now been translated into over 2,000 languages and dialects. There have been many different translations from the time of Wycliffe in the fourteenth century onwards. The one which has been used for the longest period of time is known as the Authorised Version. This translation was the work of 47 Biblical Scholars commissioned by King James I and was completed in 1611.

There are more recent translations and paraphrases available in modern English. The New International Version was produced by a panel of 100 internationally recognised Bible scholars.

Its Contents
The Bible is the story of God's revelation of Himself to man. It is not primarily a book of history, but its stories of God's dealings with individuals and with nations are as pertinent to the modern world as they have been to every age since they were written.

It is not primarily a book of science, but it is not at variance with any proven scientific fact. Some of its statements show a knowledge of the world of science which the writer could not have had apart from divine revelation.

It is not primarily a book of philosophy. Nowhere does it argue for the existence of God. Yet, the God it reveals has been known in a personal way by many of the greatest minds who have ever lived as well as by many millions of ordinary people. It speaks to every man from the simplest to the most sophisticated at his own level of understanding.

Throughout the Old Testament, the theme of the Redemption of Mankind is developed and God unfolds His Covenant with men and nations. In the New Testament, all that has been foreshadowed in the Old Testament comes to vibrant and startling reality.

God Himself comes to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He is rejected and crucified, but rises from the dead in triumph. He sends His disciples out in the power of the Holy Spirit to carry His message of Love and Forgiveness to the four corners of the earth.

The great vision of the book of Revelation, with which the Bible ends, reinforces the warnings of the whole Book regarding the consequences of rejecting God's Light and Love, and in poetic terms describes the future of the Redeemed in heaven.

Its Power and Effect
During the British Coronation ceremony, a Bible is presented to the monarch with the words: "We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing this world affords. Here is wisdom. This is the Royal Law. These are the lively oracles of God." These words are true and deeply significant.

This Book has the power not only to inform - but to reform and to transform lives. Through its influence, countless people have been given a new strength, an unerring purpose and a sure hope in life. To the dying, it has brought peace and assurance of eternal life. It has brought blessing to millions in every land and age.

It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, divine in authorship, infallible in authority, inexhaustible in meaning, universal in readership, unique in revelation, personal in application and powerful in effect.

It is given to you here in this life, it will be open at the Judgment, it is established forever. Come to it with awe, read it with reverence, frequently, slowly, prayerfully.

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." St. John 20:30,31

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