The Holy Bible
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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The Bible is not an amulet, a charm, a fetish, or a book that will work wonders by its very presence.
It is the book that reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts binding, its histories true, and its decisions immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. The Bible contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.
Christ is its grand subject, our good is its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your feet in righteousness and true holiness. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully, meditatively, searchingly, devotionally, and study it constantly, perseveringly, and industriously. Read it through and through until it becomes part of your being and generates faith that will move mountains.
The Bible is a mine of wealth, the source of health, and a world of pleasure. It is given to you in this life, will be opened at the judgment, and will stand forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the least to the greatest of labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.
― Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, by Finis Jennings Dake―
Where did it come from?
The Bible could be described as not just a book, but a library of books; 66 of them written by 40 different people over a period of 1400 years. It comes in two major parts referred to as the Old and New Testaments – ‘testament’ meaning ‘a witness’.
The Old Testament contains 39 books, covering 2000 years of Israel’s history and records how the Israelites, as God’s people, learnt to know and experience God for themselves.
I hold one single sentence out of God’s word to be of more certainty, and of more power, than all the discoveries of all the learned men of all the ages
― Charles Spurgeon ―
The New Testament contains 27 books, covers only a few years of history and focuses on the life of God’s Son Jesus Christ, His disciples, His Church and future world events.
Unlike other books, the books of the Bible are not located chronological (in date order), but instead are grouped together canonically (in differing types of literature).
Though the Bible is made up of many books, it has only one author: God. As you read it, you are encountering the will, thoughts and feelings of God Himself communicated through revelation, inspiration and illumination.
What is inside?
The Old Testament, originally written in Hebrew, contains history and law books (Genesis to Esther), poetry and wisdom books (Job to Song of Solomon), the major prophets (Isaiah to Daniel) and the minor prophets (Hosea to Malachi).
The New Testament, originally written in Greek and Aramaic, contains four Gospel accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (Matthew to John), 22 letters to individuals and churches on how to behave and deal with issues (Acts to Jude) and a book of prophecy, which talks about Jesus’ return and the end of this world (Revelation).
In 1611 the King of England, James I, authorised by law a translation of the Bible which was to be made available for everyone to read in English, this is known as the King James Version and the Authorised Version respectively. Many years later, other English translations followed such as the Revised Version, and the American Standard Version.
As the English language evolved, more modern versions were created to be more readable for the modern person. For example, the New King James Version, the English Standard Version and the Modern English Version: These are all ‘word for word’ translations and are used for reading and studying in depth.
English translations that sought to convey the ‘thoughts/feelings’ of the original text rather than a ‘word for word’ translation also followed. Examples of Bibles that are paraphrased translations are the Good News Bible, the New Living Translation, the New English Bible, the Voice and the Message: these are used for personal reading, but not for study.
How do we read it?
Many today are content to read the Bible in a way in which the Word of God is subject to them, rather than that they are subject to the Word. They study the Bible – so they think – but they do not realise that the Bible needs to study us. We need to search the Scriptures, but it is a blessing when we discover that the Scriptures are searching us, teaching us both how matters should go in our lives and how they often do go, which always falls short of how they should go (Romans 7:14-25).
It is as we feed on the Word and meditate on the message it contains that the Spirit of God can vitalize that which we have received, and bring forth through us the word of knowledge that will be as full of power and life as when He, the Spirit of God, moved upon holy men of old and gave them these inspired Scriptures.
― Smith Wigglesworth ―
When God uses His Word to search and change us, we have what theologians called the experiential approach to the Scriptures. In fact, when you come to Scripture truly believing it to be what it claims – the Word of God – and submitting to its scrutiny of all of your life, then you are reading the Bible experientially. “The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple”. (Psalm 119:130)
Where should we start?
We begin by simply praying and opening our Bibles, any of the Gospels are a great place to start.
You are welcome to our Sunday service and Bible Study, or you can find our online teachings here
If you have any questions please get in touch