1: Section 1
to the Bible
look at a little background to this unique book. What
can we say about it? It is like walking past a building
site when a new office block is being built in a city.
We peer through the gap in the fencing, and all we see
is mud and holes, cranes and scaffolding, noisy activity
with no obvious end-product.
know, of course, that the activity is not really aimless.
Tucked away in an office on the building site are drawers
full of plans and flow charts listing the dates on which
the foundations, walls, roof and services are scheduled
to be completed. If we were good at technical drawing
we could leaf through the plans and visualise the final
appearance of the building, admiring the beauty and
practicality of the design. But at first sight, just
walking by, we may go home and wonder about it, not
understanding what it could possibly be, and doubting
its very need.
at Godís Word is very much like that. We shall never
see things in perspective unless we step inside the
office and look at the plans.
is where this course is designed to help, by opening
up Godís great design, revealed in the Bible.
that analogy in mind, letís look at the building blocks
of the foundation.
Bible is no ordinary book. Look at the two words on its
spine: Holy Bible. The word "holy" means separate, and
"Bible" means book. So the inference is that you have
in your hands a book that is unique when compared with
all others. Millions of copies are sold every year, and
copies have been printed in hundreds of different languages.
Bible comprises sixty-six books, as the chart below
shows. There were forty independent writers involved
in its compilation. These writers had twenty different
occupations, and lived in ten different countries. They
wrote over a 1,600-year time span. The book was originally
written in Hebrew and Greek (with some short sections
in Aramaic). It has a cast of 2,930 characters in 1,551
places. It covers a huge number of different subjects.
Its message is expressed in all literary forms (narrative,
poetry, prose, letters, etc.).
the sixty-six books in the Bible, some are small
and not very easy to find. Turn to the contents
page at the front of the Bible you will be using
for the course. The contents page gives the page
numbers where all the books start.
following may help you to start remembering where at
least some of the books are:
books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers
and Deuteronomy) are at the beginning.
Historical books, including Samuel, Kings and Chronicles,
are placed after the books of Moses and before the
Psalms are roughly in the middle.
Prophets are after the Psalms.
four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are at
the beginning of the New Testament, which starts about
three quarters of the way through the Bible.
would encourage you to learn by heart the order of the
books of the Bible. This will speed up the effectiveness
of your Bible study.
Bible a library of books
of the books of the Bible are divided into chapters.
Each chapter is then divided into verses. This helps
us to find a particular section easily. When we write
Genesis 1 v 2, we mean that the section will be found
in the book of Genesis, chapter 1 and verse 2. One or
two books have only one chapter, so Jude v 4 means the
4th verse of the book of Jude. This is the convention
we will use throughout the course.
are many different translations, but because we are all
different, we may find one more acceptable than another.
If you have the choice, we recommend you select a version
that is comfortable for you. In addition to this, bear
in mind that some versions reflect the original text much
more closely than others. Again, if you have a choice
we would recommend those versions which reflect the original
text as faithfully as they can. Examples of these versions
Authorised Version (also known as the King James Version)
Revised Standard Version
New King James Version
will look at the different types of translation in Session
9 Section 1.
you are considering buying a Bible, look for one with
marginal references. You will see the reason for this
advice later in the course.
versions are translated by people and not God. So it
is best not to rely on one version alone, but to compare
several versions and then use a Concordance to ensure
that the original Greek or Hebrew is translated accurately
into English. We will show you how to use a Concordance
in the "Concordances" section (Session 5, Section 1).
Authorised Version is still a very popular version and
is frequently used in many churches. Because it was
translated in 1611, its language can sometimes appear
old- fashioned and difficult. This problem can largely
be overcome by using the New King James Version, which
is basically the 1611 version with the old-fashioned
words brought up to date.
we quote verses in this course they will be taken from
the New King James Version, unless otherwise stated.
considering the writers, we learn that there were many
different types of people: kings and ordinary people,
doctor and fishermen, princes and shepherds, poets and
labourers, rich and poor, educated and unlearned.
these servants of God were all different types of people,
so their writings were designed to be relevant to all.
Yet there is no discord. Though they were divided
by class, time, country and disposition, there is wonderful
harmony in all that they wrote.
is no contradiction, no disagreement. We will discover
why in the next paragraph......
at these words that people
in the Bible have written
2 Timothy 3 v 16 and 17
2 Samuel 23 v 1 and 2
Jeremiah 30 v 1 and 2
2 Peter 1 v 19 to 21
Bible claims that God is its author.
the first passage you looked at we are told that all
Scripture is "inspired" or "God breathed" as the original
word in Greek means. When we speak, the message comes
through our breath for all to hear. So God has spoken
and the message is in our Bible.
will often read in your Bible the phrases: "Thus says
the Lord....", or "The word of the Lord came to me saying...".
The Bible writers never claim that the message is their
own. They are not wanting to make a name for themselves
or build up their own esteem.
at Isaiah 40 v 6 to 8
Proverbs 30 v 5 to 6
Word is always reliable and it needs no addition from
Importance of Bible Study
we look at the Bible and accept it as Godís Word, then
we also begin to understand the importance of Bible study.
We have a need and a responsibility to find out what it
has to tell us. Letís have a look at a few things that
the Bible says.....
at 2 Timothy 3 v 14 to 17
Bible gives us the information that we need so that
we can understand Godís plan to save us from lasting
at Romans 1 v 16,17
15 v 4
the Bible gives us real hope for the future. It is "the
power of God to salvation"
at Proverbs 13 v 13
the Bible message is fatal in the long term.
at Psalm 119 V 105
1 v 8
Bible gives us direction for daily living.
Word of God gives real meaning to our life.