A quick summary of what the
Bible is all about, who wrote it and why.
Who wrote the
The simple answer is: many people. The
Bible is like a small library of 66 books written over a long time (about 1000
years) by very different people (a kings, a shepherd, a civil servant, a wealthy
businessman, a doctor, a fisherman-to name just a few), although all roughly in
the same place, in two different languages!
Where did they come
The first 39 of these books were all
written between about 900 BC and 400 BC by Jews living in what is now Israel.
They are of many different types, some are poetry, some are about history, many
are powerful criticisms of society (what is usually called 'prophecy)... there
is even a love poem! Not all of these books were written down suddenly at one
time. A history book like the Book of Kings, for example, was compiled from many
sources over a long period.
Why were they written at
However, these older 39 books (together
called the Old Testament) all have something in common. They all talk about the
relationship between Man and God; how this relationship was broken by man's
arrogance very early in history, and how the relationship was beginning to be
restored, how Man and God were beginning to get close again - this is a process
that the Bible calls `salvation'.
Throughout the Old Testament this
process is never completed, although many writers are full of hope that one day
it will be completed; so, for example, one `prophet' wrote "For to us a child is
born, and he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting
Father, Prince of Peace."
After those 39 books, there are 27 more
books (a collection called the New Testament) written a little later, in quite a
short period between AD50 and AD95. These new books were suddenly written
because of one man who had lived and died a short time before, Jesus. Jesus was
obviously such a powerful and loved leader that people wanted to write down what
he had said and done, so that these things would not be forgotten. There are 4
books about the life of Jesus, each named after the person who wrote it
(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) - there is also one about what Jesus' followers
did after he died. The other 22 are all letters written by Jesus' followers to
groups of new Christians.
So why were these extra ones
Just like with the Old Testament, the
New Testament is really all about the relationship of Man and God and the
process of `salvation' - the difference is that this time, they write as if the
process was complete. They believed that it was complete because of the life and
death of Jesus, who defeated death itself and so restored Man and God together
again. They also try to tell this story to the whole world, and not only to the
Jews (as was the case in the Old Testament) - so that this gift of `salvation'
is open to everyone in every country in every age.
But why are these particular books so
Jesus himself believed (and so his
followers, even today, also believe) that all these books were not written just
by people, but that they were actually God's own message to the Jews (and later
to all of us as well) - the Bible talks of God in a way that no man could ever
do by himself, and talks about events so amazing that only God could cause them
to happen. Therefore, Christians think of the Bible as the Word of God - not
because the pages and words are special themselves, but because they point to
the completion of the process of `salvation' in Jesus, that he is our way to
If you feel that you would like to
explore this message further, then have a look at "How to Read the Bible" and
have a go!