“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me"(John 5:39).
In the previous lesson we studied about the Bible being the lamp that lights our path. There is no book like the Bible, which had a great effect on man throughout history. The Bible was the most read and studied book in history and is still the number one best seller. However, there are people that think of the Bible as only being a book of morality and ethics, but the Bible is more than a book that teaches how to live one's life or a book that has proverbs. Rather it is a priceless book with great value. It is the book that can change a man's eternal destiny.
The Scriptures is the Book of 66 different records. The first 39 books of the Bible are known to be the Old Testament and the 27 other books are known as the New Testament. The Old Testament is a historical record of the Israelites and the will of God before the birth of Christ. The New Testament is a record of God's will through the life of Jesus. Simply, the Scriptures show the unconditional love of God towards men from the beginning of the world to the end of the world.
The Old Testament was recorded mostly in Hebrew and part of it in Aramaic and the New Testament was recorded in Greek. There are about 30 different people who participated in recording the Old Testament including Moses and 10 different people who left records for the New Testament. The people who wrote the Scriptures include: a great monarch, respectable political leaders, public officers, military officers, scholars, doctors, farmers, shepherds, and fishermen. The time period of the recording of the Old Testament was from 1500 B.C. to 400 B.C. and the New Testament was written in 50 years from 50 A.D. to 100 A.D. The recording of the Scriptures from the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, to the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, took about 1600 years.
The Book of Moses or the Pentateuch is the first five books of the Bible and were recorded about 3500 years ago by a prophet named Moses. It is also known to be the book of the law and it includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It contains the laws of the ancestors and instructions of God. When we read the book of Genesis we can clearly see that it is not a work of man but a work of God. When we read the book of Genesis with a clear mind and soul we know that it is not a made up story or a fairy tale.
The instructions found in these books of Moses were practiced not only by the Jewish nation but also by the rest of the world. We can see that the first five books of the Bible is one of the most influential books in the world.
After Moses, the prophets of Israel recorded messages from God. They too were inspired and instructed by the Holy Spirit.
They are the 5 books of Major Prophets and 12 books of the Minor Prophets, which were published in B.C. 400 and became a part of the Old Statement.
Therefore, they are called in the New Testament, 'Prophet' or 'the writings of the prophets.'
The Pentateuch and the Writings of the Prophets are recorded in the Old Testament, but there is also poetry and literature. The Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles record the history of the Israelites. We can see that when the Israelites obeyed God's Commandments they were blessed and when they disobeyed His commands they were punished. In the world it is the same. We are rewarded when we follow the rules and punished when we don't. This method gives us warning and makes us perceive the truth.
It is about people who have had surprising experiences by God's grace, even in the beautiful garden or in the humble, thorny field, sing songs of praise and glory to God.
These are the songs and poems of Psalms and Songs of Solomon. In addition, there are Proverbs of the great Solomon and Ecclesiastes that is about the philosophy of life and great teaching. Job is about the theory of the universe, and Ruth and Esther are stories about the passionate love for the nations or simplicity of human nature.
In all of the stories above, we can see how God protected and saved his people from disaster and difficulty, and we can accept the Bible as a solemn and noble reflection of God's deep love.
What about the New Testament?
It is the record of the Jesus' life and the proof of who he is. The first four books are named Gospels, filled with good news and are the records of his life and teachings that His disciples wrote. Second, Acts is the record of His disciples' experiences. It is also about Peter who was the first disciple of Jesus and Paul who changed his religion to be a preacher for God.
There are Letters that were written by Paul and others. The last book is Revelation, filled with prophecy by the inspiration of Jesus.
Therefore, the Bible that starts with "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"(Genesis 1:1) ends with "Yes, I am coming soon"(Revelation 22:20).
As we said above, the Old Testament is the story of Israel. So in the Christian church, they think it is not proper and worthy in the New Testament age. But, Jesus said "This is what I told you while I was still with you; everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms"(Luke 24:44).
All the ceremonies and worship in the Old Testament age symbolize the redemption of Jesus for us while all the prophecies of the prophets are about Jesus' coming. Without the keys of the New Testament, we can't understand the Old Testament and vice-versa. They go hand in hand. Therefore we must study both testaments to understand completely; we can find the truth by comparing them.
We said that the Pentateuch and prophecies were recorded by the instruction and inspiration of God. Actually, the Bible was not created by human hands but by God's will.
Therefore, Jesus said, "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes"(Psalm 118:22,23).
All the books in the world say something about human knowledge and thought, but "All scripture is God-breathed"(2 Timothy 3:16), as the New Testament said strictly.
And it said, "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit"(2 Peter 1:21).
In the beginning, it is recorded in Revelation that "The revelation of Jesus Christ"(Revelation 1:1), which reveals that it was not written by John.
Further, the writers of the 66 books of the Bible always said "God said", " The word of the Lord", and something like that, they are repeated more than 3,800 times in the Old Testament. These expressions are not found in other religious scriptures.
If it were artificial, the Bible would not have been respected as a great book for thousands of years.
For what and for whom was the Bible written? "The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:15-17).
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.(John 5:39).
The former is John's word, and the latter is Jesus'. We can conclude from these two sentences that the Bible is edifying men through Jesus Christ for them to be saved. Through the Bible, we can understand human nature and can know the key to salvation. In other words, God has given us the Bible because He wants us to believe in Jesus, the Savior of men and the embodiment of love.
John said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"(John 3:16).
We can see God through Jesus because this is how He has shown his love.
There is no way to reach God except through Jesus. Therefore, Jesus said himself, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"(John 14:6).
So how valuable is the Bible, which makes us know about Jesus?
Time goes by and the age changes. Everything changes. Things that are true today will be wrong tomorrow. Knowledge and ideology can become worthless.
Fame is not permanent, but all the teachings and truths in the Bible are glorious forever.
Peter said, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever"(1 Peter 1:27).
The wealth and the power of human being wither and fall like the flowers. Look at the remains in the Babylon. Look at the coliseum of Rome. The remains of power that made Israel and Christian church endure such hardship. Christianity spreads into the world, and the Bible is known to all the nations. There is nothing that can be compared to the Bible. Voltaire, a French atheist, said, "The bible will be thrown away." Ingersoll, an American skeptic said, "In 10 years later, there will be no one who reads the Bible."
During the French Revolution the Bible was abused and burned, but after four years the Bible helped straighten French society. When England was suffering from poverty and chaos, John Wesley started the Methodist Movement with the Bible and went to different parts of the country and spread the Gospel, which helped reconstruct the country. The fact that the Bible and not politics and education changed the cannibals of Africa and the Pacific islands into pure people is something to keep in mind.
In the Bible it is recorded "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God"(1 Peter 1:23).
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart"(Hebrew 4:12).
The Bible is the word of life, which can inspire our souls and spirits. Anyone who reads the Bible and becomes inspired will be a new man and will taste the sweetness and beauty of the word. A long time ago, a researcher of the Bible was inspired and wrote a poem, "How sweet are your words to my tongue, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"(Psalms 119:103).
We are more inspired and interested as we read and study the deep meaning of the Bible.
I ask that you search for the deep meaning and sweetness and beauty of the word while you are studying these books.