RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
We are delighted to share with you our library of resources. You can use the filter feature below to find topics most relevant to your curriculum.
An Overview of the Bible
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; it is a library of books made up of two different sections: The Old Testament and The New Testament.
The Old Testament is made up of 39 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 verses. This library of books was written over a long period of time by about 40 different authors.
It includes many genres of writing, including history, prophecy, poetry, 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.
The Bible is the number one, best-selling book in the world. The United Bible Societies stated that the Bible, in whole or part, has been translated into more than 3,324 languages, including sign language. Other versions include a 'street' translation, Black Country, and even a Manga Bible.
The Old Testament
Mostly written in the Hebrew language, many people see the Old Testament as one of the greatest collections of books, 39 in total. 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 of Judaism, where they are known as the Torah. The Old Testament includes a number of genres: history, law, poetry, proverbs, drama, and prophecy. These show how great God is, and how important God’s people are to Him.
The New Testament
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 'The Book of 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 of the day, 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 wrong things. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, so they were evicted from the Garden of Eden. No longer would they be so close to God. This event was known as the Fall.
However, God still loved the people, and most of the Bible is the story of how God showed that love by trying to rebuild his relationship with them. The Bible tells this story, of how he sent prophets, judges, leaders, kings and finally Jesus, in his attempt to reconnect with people.
This story of God's love starts in the Old Testament and continues all the way through the New Testament. Christians believe that one day, through the death of Jesus, God and all people will be best friends again - just like they were at the beginning - and at this time there will be no more wars, illnesses, or sadness.
The Kingdom of God will once again be on earth.