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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The Bible - The Book of Books

The word bible is derived from the Koine word βιβλια (an ancient Greek language prevalent in the period from 300 BC to 300 AD) and means books.


The Bible is a book made up of smaller books divided into two parts - the Old Testament and the New Testament.


The Bible - The Book of Books

The author of the Bible

 

The Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years. The Old Testament was written approximately in the interval of 1400 BC. to 400 BC It is written mostly in ancient Hebrew, with a few small parts of it written in Aramaic. The New Testament was written from about AD 45. to 95 AD. The language of the New Testament is Koine.

The Bible was written by about 40 men, different in age, education, profession and social status - kings, priests, fishermen, shepherds, farmers, civil servants, doctor, Pharisee, tax collector, general, scribe, etc.

Although written by so many different people, the contents of the Bible are inspired by God. The Bible itself reveals to us that it is inspired by God and the words in it are the words of God.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly prepared for every good work." Second Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy 3:16-17

How did people write the books of the Bible?


"Know this first of all, that no prophecy in the Scriptures is a prophet's private interpretation of God's will, for no prophecy ever came from the will of man, but (holy) men spoke from God, moved by the Holy Spirit." The Second Epistle of the Apostle Peter 1:20-21

This text explains to us that men wrote the books of the Bible through the supernatural inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit of God (the Third Person of the Holy Trinity).

Written by the hands of many men, but inspired by God, the Bible has one author, and He is God Himself!

That is why it is unique and different from all other books.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians wrote:

"We thank God unceasingly that when you received the word of God's message through us, you received it not as the word of men, but as the word of God, as it really is, which is active among you who believe." The first letter of the Apostle Paul to Thessalonians 2:13

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Only the divinely inspired (canonical) books in the Bible are considered the Word of God!

 

Biblical canon (Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments)

The collection of divinely inspired books, recognized already in the first centuries of Christianity by church councils, is called the Bible Canon, Holy Canon, Holy Scripture and includes 66 books - 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.


The Bible - The Book of Books

The process of defining the biblical canon was begun by Jewish scholars and rabbis and later completed by the early Christian church towards the end of the fourth century.

After inspiring people to write the books of the Bible, God also guided people to recognize the divinely inspired books.

The canon of Jewish Scripture (Tanach) consists of 24 books.

The Old Testament canon of Christian Bibles includes all the books of the Hebrew Scriptures, but divided into smaller books - 39 in total, conventionally divided into four main sections.

The first section is the Pentateuch, which consists of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The second section is called Historical Books and includes 12 writings: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Book of Kings, Second Book of Kings, Third Book of Kings, Fourth Book of Kings, First Book of Chronicles, Second Book of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.

The third section is the poetic books (books of wisdom) and contains Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs.

The fourth section is called Prophetic Books and contains five major prophetic books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) and 12 minor ones (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi).

The number of books in the Old Testament differs in Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Bibles.

Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Bibles include non-canonical books in the Old Testament.

Only the canonical books are included in the Old Testament of the Protestant Bible.

Non-canonical books are not accepted as divinely inspired and are not part of the Holy Scriptures.

In the fourth century, church councils identified 27 books of the New Testament, which are conventionally divided into four sections.


The Bible - The Book of Books

The first section is the Gospels, which consists of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The second section includes the historical book Acts of the Apostles.

The third section is the Epistles and it includes: The Epistle of the Apostle James, The First and Second Epistles of the Apostle Peter, The First, Second and Third Epistles of the Apostle John, The Epistle of Jude, 13 Epistles of the Apostle Paul (Epistle to the Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, First and Second Thessalonians, First and Second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon), and Hebrews.

The fourth section includes the prophetic book Revelation of John.

Each of the books in the Bible, with the exception of 5, are divided into chapters and verses. The five books that have only 1 chapter divided into verses each are: Obadiah, Epistle to Philemon, Second Council and Third Council Epistle of the Apostle John and Council Epistle of Jude.

Chapters were introduced into the Bible in 1238 by Cardinal Hugo de Caro. The verses were added in 1551 by Robertus Stephanus.

 

The unity of the Bible

The unity of the biblical content is also unique. Although it consists of 66 books of different genres (historical narratives, poetry, prophecy, etc.), written on three continents, in three different languages, over 1,500 years, by more than 40 men, the Bible is one whole from beginning to end and there are no contradictions in it.

The Bible is a progressive revelation given to men by God.

The Old Testament lays the foundation for the teachings and events found in the New Testament.

The New Testament can only be fully understood when viewed as the fulfillment of the prophecies, laws, sacrificial system, covenants, and promises in the Old Testament.

If we only had the New Testament, we would not know about the prophecies and promises given to the Israelites about the Messiah (Christ).

The New Testament presents the Messiah as recounting the life and redemptive work of Jesus Christ and how we are to respond to His gift of eternal life.

The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles tell of many fulfilled prophecies that were recorded in the Old Testament hundreds, even thousands, of years before. In the birth, life, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus we find the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies  – e.g. the prophecies that Jesus is a descendant of Abraham, a descendant of David, born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem, a prophet, a high priest, anointed with the Holy Spirit, hated by the Jews, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, tortured and pierced, judged with criminals, praying for his murderers, forsaken by God, not one of his bones was broken, buried in a rich man's grave, resurrected, ascended to heaven, and many more.

Jesus Christ said:

“Do not think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota or one tittle will by any means pass from the law until all is fulfilled." The Holy Gospel of Matthew 5:17-18

After His resurrection, Jesus Christ said to His disciples:

"These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all that was written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them:

"Thus it is written that Christ should suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." The Holy Gospel of Luke 24:44 -47


The Bible - The Book of Books

Both testaments reveal to us the same God and His plan of salvation.

God is most holy! In His presence there is no sin.

"...Holy, holy, holy Lord of hosts! His glory fills the whole earth.” Isaiah 6:3

"...Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who shall be." Revelation of John 4:8

The Holy God created people in His image and likeness.

"And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him. Male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them:

"Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Genesis 1:27-28

But men did not persevere in the state of holiness and righteousness in which they were created. They sinned and God separated them from Himself because of sin.

Since the covenant made with the first man as the representative of the human race did not apply to him alone, but also to his posterity, all men descended from him by natural birth sinned in him and fell with him into that first transgression.

"... Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." The Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans 5:12


"As it is written:

"There is not one righteous. There is no one sane, no one to seek God. They all deviated, together they became depraved. There is no one who does good, not even one."

"Their throat is an open grave. They flatter each other with their tongues."

"Aspid poison is under their lips." "Their mouths are full of slander and slander."

“Their feet are in a hurry to shed blood. Desolation and destruction are in their ways. And they do not know the way of peace"

"There is no fear of God before their eyes." The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans 3:10-18

"Your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, and He will not hear." Isaiah 59:2

Sin is any disobedience or transgression of any law of God, given as a guiding rule for rational creatures.

"Whosoever committeth sin committeth iniquity: for sin is iniquity." The First Epistle of the Apostle John 3:4

Sinfulness proceeds only from creatures, not from God, who, being all holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the source of sin or condone it in any way.

"Let no one who is tempted say, 'God tempts me,' for God is not tempted by evil, and He tempts no one." But he who is tempted is drawn away and deceived by his own passion, and then passion conceives and gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully developed, gives birth to death." The Epistle of James 1:13-15

God is righteous. He hates and is angry with sin and sinners.

"God is a righteous judge. Yes! God, Who is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalms 7:11

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth through unrighteousness." The Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans 1:18

"For You are not a God who delights in iniquity. The impure shall not dwell with Thee, neither shall the proud stand in Thy sight. You hate all who do iniquity. You will cut off those who speak lies. The Lord abhors a bloodthirsty and treacherous man.” Psalms 5:4-6

“…His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Psalms 11:5

"The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off their descendants from the earth." Psalms 34:16


The Bible - The Book of Books

God is just and must judge and punish sin and sinners.

“... His works are perfect, for all His ways are right, He is a God of faithfulness, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Righteous and righteous is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4

“The righteous God watches over the house of the wicked, He destroys the wicked to destruction.” Proverbs 21:12

“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29

"For if God spared not the angels also when they sinned, but cast them into the darkness of the deepest pits, and delivered them up to be judged, and if he spared not the old world, but spared Noah, the preacher of righteousness, with seven more souls , when He brought a flood upon the wicked world, so also, if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ruin, and reduced them to ashes, and set them up as an example to those who would do wickedness, but delivered the righteous Lot, whom He had afflicted with the depraved life of the wicked (for this righteous man, living among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day, seeing and listening to their lawless deeds), the Lord knows how to deliver the pious from affliction, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment. " The Second Epistle of the Apostle Peter 2:4-9

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans 6:23

 

God is merciful and according to His will has chosen sinners to bring to Himself through forgiveness, which they receive only through faith in the atoning sacrifice of God's Son, whom God sent to Earth and punished Him in their place for their sins.

"... But because you are a God who loves to forgive, gracious and merciful, long-suffering and abundant in mercy, you did not forsake them." Nehemiah 9:17

"And we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth." Second Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians 2:13

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Holy Gospel of John 3:16

"He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. On Him came the chastisement that brings our peace, and by His stripes we are healed. We have all gone astray like sheep, we have turned aside each in our own way. And the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all... The Lord pleased him to be beaten, delivered Him over to sorrow. Isaiah 53:5-6, 10

"Who was delivered for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification." The Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans 4:25

 

The sinful person is reconciled with the Holy God, justified and saved from His wrath, judgment and eternal punishment only by God's grace through faith in His Son - the Lord Jesus Christ - the Only Mediator between God and man.

"However, God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)... For by grace you have been saved through faith and not of yourselves - it is a gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast." The letter of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians 2:4-5,8-9

"No creature shall be justified before Him by the works required by the law, for by the law comes only the knowledge of sin." And now, and independently of the law, the righteousness of God has appeared, to which the law and the prophets testify, i.e. the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all [and to all] who believe, for there is no difference. Because all have sinned and do not deserve to be glorified by God, but by His goodness they are justified freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set up as a propitiation through His blood through faith. This he did to show his righteousness in forgiving the sins committed before, when God was long-suffering to show, I say his righteousness at the present time, that it might be known that he is righteous and that he justifies him who believes in Jesus." The letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans 3:20-26

"All things are of God, who reconciled us to Himself through [Jesus] Christ and gave us to serve as reconciliation, that is, God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to men, and entrusting us the message of reconciliation. And so on Christ's side we are ambassadors, as if God were begging through us: we beg you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God, who for us made Him who knew no sin to be sinful, so that through Him we might become righteous before God. The Second Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians 5:18-21

"To him all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name." Acts 10:43

"In Him we have our redemption, the forgiveness of sins... Because the Father was pleased to instill in Him the perfect fullness and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself - both earthly and heavenly, by making peace through Him with the blood shed on His cross . And you, who were once alienated and by disposition enemies in your evil deeds, has now reconciled through His death in His fleshly body, that He may present you to Himself holy, blameless and blameless." The Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians 1:14, 19 -22

"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." The Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans 5:1

"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12


The Bible - The Book of Books

God calls people to repentance and turning away from their sins

Both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ began their ministries with a call to repentance:

"In those days John the Baptist came and preached in the Judean wilderness, saying:

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The Holy Gospel from Matthew 3:1-2

"And after John had been handed over to the authorities, Jesus came into Galilee and preached the gospel of God, saying:

"The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel." The Holy Gospel from Mark 1:14-15

After the ascension of Christ, the apostles preached:

"Therefore repent and turn, that your sins may be blotted out, that refreshing times may come from the face of the Lord, and that he may send you Christ Jesus, who was appointed for you." Acts 3:19-20

"God therefore, keeping no note of the times of ignorance, now commands all men everywhere to repent, for he has appointed a day when he will judge the universe in righteousness by the Man whom he has appointed, of which he has given assurance to all , having raised Him from the dead.”

Acts 17:30-31

God has given authority to His Son to judge all


The Lord Jesus Christ said:

“For neither does the Father judge anyone, but has given the Son to judge all, that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever listens to My teaching and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. For as the Father has life in Himself, He has also given the Son to have life in Himself and has given Him authority to execute destiny, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out: those who have done good will rise to life, and those who have done evil will rise to condemnation.” The Holy Gospel from John 5:22-29

"Whoever believes in Him is not condemned; whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Holy Gospel of John 3:18

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever does not listen to the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”  Holy Gospel of John  3:36

Jesus Christ declared:

"... If you do not believe that I am what I say, you will die in your sins." Holy Gospel of John 8:24

"Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, having nothing to do with sin, for the salvation of those who wait for him." Hebrews 9:28

“And wait for his Son from heaven, the same Jesus, whom he raised from the dead, who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  The First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians 1:10


The Bible - The Book of Books

The New Testament ends with the prophetic book Revelation of John, in which are recorded prophecies about the return of the Son of God to judge the unbelieving world, to save those who believe in Him and to establish His eternal kingdom.

Why did God give us the Bible?

"The human race has been given two books by the Creator. In one, He has shown His greatness, and in the other, His will. The first is the visible world, which He created so that man, beholding the majesty, beauty, and harmony of His works, might recognize His omnipotence. The second is the book of the Holy Scriptures. In it is set forth God's purpose for our salvation."

Mikhail Lomonosov – scientist, encyclopedist and writer

Although the insight from nature and the works of creation and providence so reveal the goodness, wisdom, and power of God that there is no excuse left for men, yet they are not sufficient to give us that knowledge of God and His will, which is necessary for our salvation.

God gave us the Bible to teach us first of all what we should believe about God and what God requires of us. It is God's revelation to us - it reveals to us what God is, who the persons in the Trinity are, what His decrees are and how they are carried out. In the Bible, God reveals to us not only Himself, but also His will for us and His plan for our salvation through faith in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In his gospel, the apostle John, a student and eyewitness to the miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, writes:

"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. And these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” The Holy Gospel of John 20:30-31

Not only the gospel of John, but the entire Bible was written so that we would believe in the Son of God and by believing, receive salvation.

“The scriptures are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. " The Second Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy 3:15

"Jesus Christ, whom you love without having seen Him, in whom, believing without now seeing Him, you rejoice with unspeakable and glorious joy, receiving the result of your faith the salvation of your souls."  The First Epistle of the Apostle Peter 1 :9

"For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a man believes and is justified, and with the mouth he confesses and is saved." The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans 10:9-10


"Wherefore, putting away all impurity and overflowing malice, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:21

In both testaments we find everything we need to know about eternal life and how to live godly lives.

“To the physical person, the Bible can be the most boring book in the world. To the Christian it is the book of life, the manual of the soul, the textbook of salvation, the most precious thing in the whole universe.”

Martin Lloyd-Jones

The Bible is not a book to be read once. It is a book for daily study and application in life.

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it." The Holy Gospel of Luke 11:28

"Be ye also doers of the word, and not hearers only, lying to yourselves." The Epistle of James 1:22

Jesus preached:

"Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and rushed upon that house, but it did not fall, because it was founded on the rock.

And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish person who built his house on sand. And the rain fell, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and rushed upon that house, and it fell, and its fall was great.'

The Holy Gospel from Matthew 7:24-27

The indestructibility of the Bible

Because of its claims to be the Word of God, the Bible has repeatedly been subjected to attempts to destroy it. It has withstood and outlived all those who have attacked it, and continues to this day to be the most published and most widely distributed book in the world.

The Apostle Peter wrote in his first epistle:

"For every creature is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and its flower fades, but the Word of God endures forever, and this is the word that has been preached to you.” The First Epistle of the Apostle Peter 1:24,25

The Lord Jesus Christ said:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not." The Holy Gospel of Mark 13:31

The biblical quotes used are from: https://biblia.bg/

The 1940 translation is cited.

The photos were taken of the Bible or the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament XXII revised edition of the Bulgarian Bible Society.

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