We begin our teaching on foundations of our faith with the Bible, as it is the source of our faith.
Many people feel as if they have no compass for their lives. They are asking themselves questions. Where am I going? Am I lost? Will I ever find the right way? God has heard our questions and He has already given us a Book to guide our lives. Before searching for the answers, let's look together at the great Book. We will see how it was written and how it was given to us.
This lesson will help you describe the origin and structure of the Bible and understand how and why the Bible was given to us.
The Origin and Structure of the Bible
The Holy Bible, made up of 66 books, is like a small library that God has given us. The first part of the Bible-the Old Testament-contains 39 books. The second part-the New Testament-contains 27 books.
Over a period of 1600 years approximately 40 men were involved in writing these books. The Bible tells us that these men were holy men of God. They were kings and peasants, poets and merchants, military and religious leaders. They were from different backgrounds, different cities, and of different interests.
The books of the Bible cover many different subjects, like history, prophecy, and poetry. It has songs and wise sayings called proverbs. It contains stories to interest the young and the old. Yet it all fits together because it has one central theme-the relationship between God and man.
The Purpose of the Bible
Perhaps you noticed what may seem to be a contradiction in the first part of this lesson. It says that God gave us the Bible, but it also says that men wrote it. How can this be?
The forty men who wrote the Bible were divinely inspired. This means that the Holy Spirit put in the authors' minds the thoughts that God wanted them to write. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God.” This verse also tells why the Bible was given for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and giving instruction.
God has given us instructions for right living because He desires our highest good. He knows that when we do not live according to His principles we hurt ourselves. Our minds, our bodies, and especially our spirits suffer. The best way to avoid hurting ourselves is to follow His Word closely. Through it we get to know Him personally; we understand that His ways are best for us.
Like a chart or a guide book, His Word was written for us to turn to for help and strength. How wonderful that we can have His personal instructions to us always at our side!
Take the quiz
Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read on this page. Click on the correct answer(s).
The Bible consists of ________ books written by ________ men of different backgrounds.
a) 40, 66
b) 60, 46
c) 66, 40
d) 46, 60
The Bible was written over a period of _______ years.
When we say that the Bible is divinely inspired we emphasize that __________.
a) it tells us about God.
b) God gave the authors the thoughts they should write.
b) it contains valuable religious history.
The authors wrote on the same theme and did not contradict each other because _________.
a) God was the real author and they wrote the thoughts He gave them.
b) each one left instructions for the following writers.
Select all of the TRUE reasons why God has given us the Bible.
a) He wants our highest good.
b) He wanted to give instructions for right living.
c) He wanted us to realize that He is too great for us to know Him.
d) He wants to establish His relationship with us.