Have you read this book? Although many people may have more than one Bible in their homes, and it has been translated completely into 554 languages, allowing many people the opportunity to read it, it is probably not the most widely read book in the world today. It can be a little intimidating, or maybe just hard to get into, but yet for over two thousand years it has persisted. A book that has been around for as long as the Bible has, and has had as much influence as it has, is worth opening up.
The word “bible” comes from the Greek word biblios meaning “writings” and it is a collection of sixty-six books, written by over forty people from all walks of life, over a period of 1600 years. Despite this, the stories all fit together and the theology is consistent.
If you look inside the Bible, you will find that it contains history, poetry, wisdom, prophecies, and teaching. It is divided into two testaments: the Old and the New. The Old Testament tells of events from the creation of man to about 400 years before Jesus Christ was born. It tells the story of a nation of people called the children of Israel and the promises made to them. The New Testament tells the story of God’s son, Jesus Christ, and through His Son, it becomes clear that the promises are for all nations of the earth.
The Old Testament can be divided into four main sections: a) the Books of Moses; b) the Historical Books; c) the Poetical Books; and d) the Prophetical Books. The New Testament contains the four gospels which tell the story of the earthly life and work of Jesus, the book of Acts which tells the story of beginnings of the Christian church, the Epistles which are letters written to various individuals and groups of believers in the first century, and finally the book of Revelation which is a prophecy of world events up until the final triumph over evil and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
You will notice when you open your Bible, that each book is divided up into chapters and verses. Originally this was not the case, and there may not have even been spaces in-between the words. Clearly, these improvements added later on make the Bible much easier to navigate.
Interesting facts about the Bible:
- There were no chapter and verse divisions in early manuscripts of the Bible. It was divided into chapters by Stephen Langton around 1228 A.D. The Old Testament was divided into verses by R. Nathan in 1448 A.D. and the New Testament by Robert Stephanus in 1551 A.D. The first Bible to have chapter and verse divisions was the Geneva Bible from 1560 A.D.
- The first authorized Bible printed in English was the Great Bible of 1539. King Henry VIII of England declared that it should be read aloud during the church services in the Church of England.
- Jeremiah is the longest book in the Bible.
- The King James Version has an even number of verses and so there are two middle verses in the Bible: Psalm 103:1-2 – “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
Want to know more?
Continue with our Getting to Know the Bible course here: Getting to Know the Bible.
Article by Julie. Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash.
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