What is the Bible?

The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors, in three different languages, on three different continents, over approximately 1600 years.  The Bible claims to be inspired and inerrant.  This means that came from God and that it is without error in everything it addresses (2 Tim. 3:16).

The Bible contains many different styles of writing such as poetry (Psalms), History (Genesis, Matthew), parables, prophecy, as well as fiction. In this latter instance we turn to the following account that didn't really happen, but is used as an illustration.

Ezekiel 23:1-4, "The word of the Lord came to me again saying, 2 “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother; 3 and they played the harlot in Egypt.  They played the harlot in their youth; there their breasts were pressed, and there their virgin bosom was handled.  4 “And their names were Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister.  And they became Mine, and they bore sons and daughters.  And as for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah." 

The Bible is the source of the Christian religion in that it contains the words of God and how the Christian is to apply the words of God to his life.  Basically, the Bible describes the origin of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:18-25) along with his fall into sin and out of fellowship with God (Gen. 3:1-19).  It then describes how God called out a special people to Himself, the Israelites.  He promised the Israelites a future Messiah who would restore mankind's relationship with God.  Therefore, it is the inspired account of the work of God in history bringing to fruition His prophetic declarations concerning Jesus.  Jesus was born of the Virgin, died on the cross, and paid for sins, just as was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New.  In short, the Bible points to Jesus, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me," (John 5:39).

Furthermore, the Bible teaches us that forgiveness of sins is found in Jesus alone, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12). Yet, some say that it is nothing more than fairy tales.  But this cannot be for it contains confirmation in archaeology regarding people, places, and events. In fact, archaeology routinely demonstrates the accuracy of the biblical records concerning locations and events recorded in the Bible. In addition, it contains great wisdom and truth that has changed the lives of millions as well as shaped nations.

The Jewish Book

The Jewish Bible only has 39 books in it.  The Christian Bible has 66 since Christians include the New Testament books. The Roman Catholic Church added several apocryphal books in 1546 in response to the Protestant Reformation.  But, those additional books are not inspired.

Authority of the Bible

Because the Bible is inspired from God, it is automatically authoritative. This means that it is the final authority in everything. It addresses and is the rule of conduct and worship for Christians.  Those who would reject the final authority of the Bible position, often are led into false religious beliefs such as Mormonism, job is what this is, and certain false doctrines found in Roman Catholicism.

The Bible represents the word of God in written form that rightfully has the place of authority to which all true believers must submit.

The Message of the Bible

The message of the Bible is about Jesus (John 5:39). It concerns the historical narrative of how God worked through history, through Israel, and finally through Christians to bring about the Revelation of Scripture. The Bible contains various truths, wisdom sayings, and the final revelation of Jesus who is God in flesh. The message of the Bible can best be summed up by saying that it's about Jesus, how he lived, what he did on the cross, and how he will return to claim his church.

The Old Testament Books of the Bible

  1. Pentateuch - 5 books:
    1. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  2. Historical Books - 12 books:
    1. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.
  3. Poetical - 5 books:
    1. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
  4. Prophetical - 17 books:
    1. Major Prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel;
    2. Minor Prophets - Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

The New Testament Books of the Bible

  1. Historical Books -  5 books:
    1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts
  2. Pauline Epistles - 13 books:
    1. Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians. 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
  3. Non-Pauline Epistles - 9 books:
    1. Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation
      1. Note:  Some authors attribute Hebrews to Paul.




About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.