How did the Bible come to be?

‘The Bible’ means books. The Bible was written by around 40 different writers.

A long time ago people began to write down what God had done for them. They wrote down things they believed God had told them and made up songs to him and about him. The things people wrote were copied into books. Eventually, after around 1,500 years, there were 66 books all about God: story books, poetry books, instruction books and letters. The books were put together in one big book; we call the book the Bible.

Although people wrote the words down, Christians believe God guided the writers and showed them by his Holy Spirit what to write.

 

What are the different parts of the Bible called?

 

Thousands of years ago people began to write down what God had done for them. Eventually there were many, many, many books all about God. Story books, poetry books, instruction books and letters. All the books were put together in one big book; we call the book the Bible. ‘The Bible’ actually means ‘books’.

 
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There are 66 books in the Bible. 39 were written before Jesus was born and 27 were written afterwards. The books written before Jesus was born make up the Old Testament part of the Bible and the books written after Jesus was born make up the New Testament.

In the Old Testament there are five books about God’s laws, 12 books about history, five poetry books and 17 books written by God’s prophets. In the New Testament there are four books about Jesus’ life called the Gospels, one history book and 22 letters.

Why do Christians call the Bible God's Word?

Although people wrote down the words we read in the Bible today, Christians believe that God guided the writers and showed them by his Holy Spirit what to write.

 
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Christians believe that the Bible is a very special work of the Holy Spirit and it says what God wants it to say; they believe everything written in the Bible comes from God. Because Christians are so sure that what the Bible says is what God says, they call the Bible ‘God’s Word’ or ‘The Word of God’.

 

Do Christians always have the same thoughts and ideas about what different parts of the Bible mean?

Although Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word, sometimes they have different thoughts and ideas about what parts of the Bible mean. When Christians read some parts of the Bible, some think God is saying one thing and others think he is saying something else.

Christians might not agree on the meaning of every verse, but it is important to remember that there are many parts of the Bible that Christians do agree on and believe to be clear.

 
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Here are four examples:

1. Jesus is God the Son.
2. Jesus lived, died and rose again to make a way for everybody everywhere to become close friends with God.
3. People who have said ‘Yes’ to God’s love and forgiveness are Christians.
4. God’s way of living is to love him and love others.

Why do Christians read their Bibles?

Just as we might describe to someone what we are like in a letter or an email, Christians believe the Bible is God’s way of telling people about himself.  

 
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Christians believe that through the Bible, God is telling people about his goodness, his power and his wisdom and what he likes and doesn’t like.  Because Christians believe that the Bible is from and about God they read it and remember what it says so that they can learn and understand more about God, his great power and his love.

 

 

Why do Christians ask the Holy Spirit to be with them when they read the Bible?

Some parts of the Bible might seem difficult to understand or perhaps feel as if they have nothing to do with the way people live their lives today. However, the Bible is about God; he was there when it was written. Christians believe that if they ask God the Holy Spirit to be with them when they listen to or read the Bible he will bring the stories and the writing ‘alive’. They believe that with the help of the Holy Spirit the Bible will make more sense and mean much more.

 
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Just as the Holy Spirit did a special work with the people who wrote the Bible, Christians believe he will do a special work when people read it too. Many Christians choose to trust that the Holy Spirit will help them with the parts of the Bible they don’t fully understand yet.

Why do Christians believe God always tells the truth?

Christians believe God always tells the truth; they believe it is impossible for him to lie. They believe the Bible is the truth because they believe the Bible is God's word.

 
Bible is like a plumb-line
 

The Bible is like a plumb-line to Christians. Christians believe the Bible is always right, just like a plumb-line. As a plumb-line shows a builder a true and straight line, the Bible shows Christians how to live God’s way. Some people describe the Bible as ‘the Maker‘s instructions’ – just as we might follow instructions on how to use a new piece of equipment, the Bible describes how God planned his creation, it describes how he planned people to live. However the Bible is not just a list of instructions. Christians believe the Bible is a special work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Why is reading the Bible a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle?

Many parts of the Bible are difficult to understand. Some people believe that parts of the Bible are like poetry where God shows people a way of thinking about things. Other parts need to be studied over and over again and, like a jigsaw puzzle, only make sense when you can see how the rest fits together.

 
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Christians believe that the more people read the Bible the more they find out about God. They believe it is important to find out what is in the whole Bible so they can see the big picture of who God is, what he has done and how he is at work in people’s lives today.