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Christians often describe the Bible as ‘God’s Word’ and see it as the most important book ever written. The word Bible comes from a Greek word, biblos, which simply means book. However the Bible is not just one book but it is a library of books made up of 2 different sections  – The Old Testament and The New Testament. The Old Testament is made up of 39 smaller books. The New Testament is made up of 27. To help us read and study the Bible these books are also divided into chapters and each chapter contains many different verses. This library of books was written over a long period of time by about 40 different authors. It includes many different types, or genres, of writing including history, prophecy, poetry, and words of wisdom, laws, proverbs and letters. Although the Bible is more than 3000 years old Christians believe that God is still teaching, helping and guiding them today through the Bible.

Old Testament

OT

Many people see the Old Testament as one of the greatest collections of books, 39 in all, ever written. As well as making up the largest part of the Christian Bible the Old Testament also includes books that are also believed to be special for Jews and Muslims. The amazing stories of the Old Testament heroes, such as Moses, Joseph and David have even been made into films.

The first five books of the Old Testament are known as the Pentateuch. These books are also the most important writings for Judaism, where they are known as the Torah. The Old Testament includes several different kinds of writing – history, law, poetry, proverbs, drama and prophecy. They show how great God is and how important God’s people are to Him.

The Old Testament was mostly written in the Hebrew language, though a small portion was written in Aramaic.

New Testament

NT

The 27 books of the New Testament are important to all Christians. They were first written in the language used throughout the Mediterranean region – Greek. The first four books, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are about Jesus’ life and work. These books are known as the ‘Gospels’ which means ‘Good News.’ The next book is called “Acts” and is also written by Luke. Acts was written for a man called Theophilus and continues telling the story of what happened to the first Christians after Jesus had been taken back up to heaven.

The book of Acts is followed by a large collection of letters written by Christian leaders, to the young churches. They contain lots of teachings about who Jesus was and the important things he said and did. The letters also include some really helpful tips on how to live as followers of Christ. Many of the letters were written at a time when Christians were being persecuted or arrested for their beliefs and so the letters are also a way the writers encouraged others to continue in their faith.

The last book in the Bible is called “Revelation” which was also written as a letter to be sent out to the early churches. The letter is the description of a vision given to John, one of Jesus’ disciples after he had been arrested and sent into exile on the island of Patmos. It is full of mystical code language that would have been understood by the Christians but not by the leaders who were persecuting them.

The Big Story

Although the Bible is made up of many different books, Christians believe that there is one story that runs all through it – like a golden thread. This is the story about God, creation and us! Christians believe that from the time people were first created God wanted to live as friends with them. Sadly things went wrong – people began to make mistakes – they begin to say and do wrongs things. These things hurt and upset other people but they also hurt God. People had stopped being friends with God. However God still loved the people and most of the Bible is the story of how God showed that love. The story of God’s love starts in the Old Testament and continues all the way through the New Testament. Christians also believe that one day God and people will be best friends again and at that time there will be no more wars, illnesses or sadness.

Bible Timeline

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To help you think more about the Bible’s big story you can download and print off the Bible Timeline.

 

 

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