1 The Structure of the Bible

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1 1 1 The Structure of the Bible MEMORIZE: 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: G od has chosen to communicate with man. In the past (before Adam and Eve sinned), he did this directly by walking and talking with the first couple. Thereafter, he mainly spoke to man through prophets who were men, chosen by God, to share his message with his people. Much of what these prophets said is recorded for us today in the Old Testament of the Bible. After many centuries, God sent his son Jesus Christ to earth as the perfect mediator between God and man. Christ came teaching and preaching God s truth. God confirmed his teachings by performing miracles through him. After Christ s death and resurrection, God chose men he called Apostles to teach, preach and spread the good news of Jesus Christ. God used these Apostles and their close acquaintenances to record the words of Jesus Christ, and relate the story of his life, death and resurrection. God now communicates with us through His completed scriptures both the Old Testament (written before the birth of Christ) and New Testament (written after the birth of Christ). God has graciously provided His completed, written word for us today. If you want to know what God has to say to you personally, you must learn to read the word of God. In this study we will deal mainly with a basic understanding of the structure of the Bible. In the next lesson we will learn more about how the Bible came to us. Just the Facts The Scriptures were written by approximately 40 different authors. These men lived in different countries and cultures. The Scriptures were written between 1400 B.C. through A.D. 90 The Scriptures were originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Despite the differences stated above, God used these writers to complete one book with one main theme redemption through the person of Jesus Christ. For the next section you will need a Bible to fill in the blanks. Turn to the Table of Contents section of your Bible. P a g e 1

2 The Old Testament 39 Books A. The Pentateuch The First 5 Books The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses around 1400 B.C. They are often called the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch (which simply means five books ). Now look at the Table of Contents in your Bible and list the first five books of the Old Testament below. 1. The book of beginnings. Here you will find the beginnings of creation, man, sin, redemption and God s nation - Israel 2. God delivers His people from slavery in Egypt 3. Atonement, holiness, and worship of God through sacrifice and purification 4. God s people continually disobey and wander in the wilderness for 40 years. 5. Moses great discourses to prepare Israel to enter the Promised Land. The Bible is not entirely in chronological order, but it is rather divided into sections based on the type of literature found in each book. Within the Old Testament we find books of History, Poetry and Prophecy. B. The History Books (12) Still looking at your Table of Contents, list the 12 books that immediately follow the 5 books of Moses. They begin with Joshua C. The Poetry Books (5) Immediately following the 12 books of history, we find 5 books of Poetry. These books use poetry P a g e 2

3 and song to describe God s greatness and his dealings with man. 1. The suffering and loyal trust of a man who loved God 2. Songs of praise and instruction 3. God s practical wisdom for daily life 4. The emptiness of an earthhly life without God 5. A celebration of marital joy D. Major Prophets (5) Immediately following the 5 books of poetry listed above we find 5 books written by prophets. A prophet was a man that God chose to deliver his messages to men. These 5 particular books are called major prophets simply because they are longer than the other prophets. These were written approximately between 750 and 550 B.C E. Minor Prophets (12) Following the Major Prophets we find the last 12 books of the Old Testament. These were written between 840 and 400 B.C. List them in order below P a g e 2

4 Self Check 1. How has God chosen to communicate with man today? 2. How many authors did God use to write the Scriptures? 3. When were the scriptures written? 4. What three languages were the scriptures originally written in? 5. What is the main theme of scripture? 6. When was the Old Testament written in relation to the birth of Christ? 7. When was the New Testament written in relation to the birth of Christ? 8. How many books are in the Old Testament? 9. How are the first five books often referred to? 10. The Bible is not entirely in chronological order, how is it arranged? 11. What are three types of writing that can be found in the Old Testament? P a g e 2

5 The New Testament 27 Books The Old Testament was written so that men could learn that they need a saviour. The New Testament reveals who this saviour is Jesus Christ. Just the Facts In the New Testament we find: The life of Christ The way of salvation The beginning of Christianity Instruction for Christian living God s plan for the future Like the Old Testament, the New Testament is not compiled in chronological order. Instead, books are arranged according to the type of writing found within them. In the New Testament we find books of History, Letters, and Prophecy. A. History (5) The first four books of the New Testament are called The Gospels. The word gospel simply means good news. The gospels present the good news of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. List the first four books of the New Testament below. The Gospels The Gospels make up four of the five historical books in the New Testament. They are written by four different authors and reveal the Lord Jesus Christ from four different perspectives. 1. The life of Christ, written especially for the Jews, revealing Jesus Christ as their longawaited Messiah. 2. The life of Christ, revelaing Jesus as the obedience Servant of God; written especially to the Roman world. 3. The life of Christ, revealing Jesus as the perfect man, emphasizing His humanity; written by Luke, a Greek, to the Greek world. 4. The life of Christ, revealing Jesus as the Son of God, stressing His deity; very evangelistic. P a g e 3

6 Q. What two reasons did John give for writing his Gospel? John 20:31. i. ii. The Book of Acts 5. The Book of Acts (or The Acts of the Apostles ), is the fifth and last of the historical books in the New Testament. It tells about the birth of the church and the spread of Christianity after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. B. Letters or Epistles (21 books) These books were written to individuals, churches or to believers in general. There is much in these letters pertaining to Christian faith and responsibility. List the 21 books following the books of Acts from your Table of Contents. Paul s Letters: General Letters: The first thirteen books above were written by the Apostle Paul. The remaining 8 were written by various authors. P a g e 4

7 So far we have seen 4 gospels, 1 book of history and 21 epistles (letters). That leaves only one more book and that is a book of Prophecy the book of Revelation. C. Prophecy (1) The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the last book of the Bible and is a book of prophecy. It tells of future events. In it we see: Return of Christ Reign of Jesus Christ Glory of Jesus Christ Future state of believers and unbelievers Self Check 1. How many books are in the New Testament? 2. Add the Old Testament and New Testament books, how many are in the entire Bible? 3. What does the New Testament reveal? 4. What five things do we find in the New Testament? 5. What three types of writings do we find in the New Testament? 6. What are the Gospels? 7. What is the book of Acts? 8. What do the epistles say much about? P a g e 2

8 9. Who did God use to write most of the books in the New Testament? 10. What is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament? 11. What are four things we learn about in the book of Revelation? P a g e 3

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