Bible Sunday 25th October 2009 John 5:36b-47
What is the name for a collection of books? Library. The Greek word biblios, from which we get the word Bible, means "library".
The Bible contains 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. So the Bible is not one book; it is a library of sixty-six books that were written over a period of more than 1,500 years by many different authors. These authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit in their thinking and writing. So the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It also has the human touch from its authors.
What we now know as the Bible was decided by various church Councils around the end of the fourth century.
The Bible is filled with many kinds or types of language. It has been divided up into the following Law, History, Wisdom, Poetry, Gospel, Epistles, Prophecy, and Apocalyptic Literature. We shall look at some of these, but also other types of literature. From this we can see that the Bible is an exciting and varied read!
( I am printing and cutting out each of these then pasting them into unmarked exercise books which I will give out to members of the congregation and each will read out the heading and the Bible verse(s) )
1) Love letter to us...
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
In today's gospel, John 5:36-47, Jesus said that the Bible pointed to him and that he can give lie to those who follow him.
Some people spend time in researching their family history. This was very important to the Jewish people.
1 Chronicles is an example.
Matthew 1:1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram...
Stories. Jesus told some brilliant, memorable stories that had meaning to them...
Luke 10:30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.
There are historical books in the Old Testament. Exodus is an example.
Some consider the gospels to be a special type of history, and the start of the gospel of Luke shows how the author researched his data...
Luke 1:1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
The Bible is full of wise sayings and some books, such as Proverbs are known as wisdom literature...
Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Many New Testament books are actually letters, also called Epistles, to people or to a church or churches.
2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers
A lot of the poetry may not read like our poetry because it was first written in Hebrew, but here is one example from Lamentations...
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!
How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
2 Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
Some Psalms were used as songs as the people marched together up to Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.
3 May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.
God gave laws to his people to tell them how he wanted them to live. This includes the ten commandments...
Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 13 "You shall not murder. 14 "You shall not commit adultery. 15 "You shall not steal. 16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. 17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
We may buy a map or guide book if we are visiting somewhere. If we want to follow God's way it helps to know what the Bible says.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
11. Adventure and suspense- Jonah
Jonah 1:3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.:4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." 7 Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" 9 He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." 10 This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) 11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?" 12 "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you."
The Bible is a fantastic collection of books. Not just because it is so varied but also because it is so constant. It tells of God's love for people over thousands of years. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Bible and what it means for us today.
Let us be encouraged by those who have read the Bible over the last two or three years. Perhaps God is calling some of us here today to try and read the Bible by 24th October 2010.