A Quick Introduction to the Bible [Brochure]

A Quick Introduction to the Bible by Paul Froese
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Gospel Brochure, 10.5-Point Type
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6 pages
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Full Text of This Product

Dear Friend,

I have been a Christian for many years. I have read and studied the Bible and found it to be everything that it claims to be: truth1, light, guidance2, comfort3, and cleansing4. It is like a sword5 and a hammer6 and it gives sweetness7 and food8.

I want you to experience the Bible’s blessings too. I hope that you will take the time to read your own copy for yourself to hear God’s voice as He speaks with you.

The Bible is a big book. This short introduction to its scope and contents will help you avoid getting lost or confused when you open and read it for what may be the first time. Nothing that I say about the Bible, however, is as important as what the Bible itself has to say. I hope you can use this little introduction to jumpstart your own diligent and systematic reading of the Bible itself, and that as you read it you may begin to reap its benefits.

Unity and Perfection

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Word of God—the Bible—is a complete unit, even though its many books were written over a period of about 1,500 years by many different authors, from Moses to the Apostle John.

The Bible is self-sufficient and self-explaining. A single piece of a large jigsaw puzzle only makes sense when it’s snapped together with all the other pieces of the puzzle. Likewise, the correct understanding of a single Bible verse depends on the larger context of the chapter and book where the verse is found and must be interpreted in the light of the whole Bible9. We should therefore read the entire Bible to see how all its parts fit together in harmony without contradiction.

Also, there is nothing missing or unnecessary in God’s inspired Word. God has spoken, and what He has said is perfect and permanent10, otherwise He would not be God. Due to human error there are recognized mistakes in ancient handwritten copies of the original text and in translations of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts into English. Nonetheless, we have a reliable agreement of the original Word from comparing thousands of ancient and dependable copies. You can easily get a good translation that will give you a correct understanding of what the Bible truly says.

Divisions

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15

The Bible is divided into two main parts called the Old and New Testaments. The first 39 books of the Bible form the Old Testament, while the last 27 books form the New Testament. To rightly interpret the Word of God we must recognize that God addressed different parts of the Bible to different groups of people, though all of it was written for our learning11.

The division between the Old and New Testaments marks the most important distinction in God’s relationships with His people. The Old Testament is mostly written to the tribes of Israel, God’s chosen people on Earth, and shows us how they were tested—and failed—under a perfect, righteous law. The New Testament describes God’s new and closer relationship with humankind based on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and explains how God is saving people for Heaven by grace—not law.

The Old Testament

Genesis, the first Old-Testament book, begins with the history of the creation and formation of Earth. It tells about the creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, and their disobedience—sin—against God. The rest of the Old Testament tells the history of God’s chosen people on Earth, from the time when God called Abraham to move to Canaan away from his homeland and his family, up to the time when the gentiles began ruling over the Jews.

The Old Testament itself has several distinct sections. It begins with the five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) which describe the early history of the people of Israel, their escape from Egypt, their wilderness journey to the promised land of Palestine, and the religious laws that God gave to test them (including the Ten Command-ments). The next nine books tell how the people of Israel entered, conquered, and settled in the promised land. Led by Joshua, they first set foot in Palestine (book of Joshua), then came the times of the judges (book of Judges), followed by the era of the kings, that ended with the deportation of the Jews to Babylon (First Samuel through Second Chronicles). Ruth is a love story from the era of the judges. Ezra and Nehemiah tell of the return of some of the Jews to Jerusalem from their captivity in Persia, describing the renovation of the temple and city wall. Esther is another historical account from this time of gentile rule.

The next five books, Job through Song of Solomon, are mainly poetic. The final books of the Old Testament, Isaiah through Malachi, are pro-phetic and address the people of Israel and the nations around them, both in past and in future settings. In these prophecies God pleads for His people to return unto Him and walk in His ways and warns of judgment if they continue to disobey.

All the histories in the Old Testament are far more than just interesting details. They show that we, like the people of Israel under law, can’t achieve God’s righteous standards in our natural condition. We also learn about God’s characteristics of holiness, love, mercy, grace, and patience, and His power to bless despite human failure.

The New Testament

The New Testament begins chronologically about 400 years after the Old Testament concludes. The first four books, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, tell about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, each from a different perspective.

In Acts, God’s relationship with His people changes. God sets Judaism aside and forms a new and closer collective relationship called “the Church” or “Assembly.” The books from Romans to Jude are letters written by different authors to local Assemblies, to groups of people in certain regions, or to individuals. All of these letters have to do with matters of Christian teachings and morality. They are also the source of foundational Christian themes such as salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and not by our good deeds (e.g. Romans and Galatians); order and discipline in the local church (e.g. First and Second Corinthians and First and Second Timothy); the believer’s present possession of all spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians); and, Christian graces and duties (e.g. Philemon and Second and Third John).

Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, outlines future events (chapter 4 to the end) that will start after God raptures His redeemed ones to heaven. It includes the judgments that lead up to the establishment of Christ’s glorious 1,000-year reign over the earth. These prophesies align with those in the Old Testament and should be studied alongside the Old Testament prophets.

Conclusion

The New Testament completes the revelation of God and describes His relationship with His people as individuals and as gathered together in one body. It also fully reveals God’s dual nature of light12 and love13.

God’s holy nature of light does not allow Him to associate with humans who sin against Him by living contrary to His will, yet God’s love seeks relationship with humankind. In the Old Testament, God could live among the people of Israel as long as they made ritual sacrifices and gave offerings in the temple; these sacrifices foreshadowed the coming of Christ to earth and His offering of Himself as a sacrifice to God on behalf of sinful humans.

In other words, the Old Testament presents the shadow of a distant Object—Jesus Christ—while the New Testament shines full light on that Object in historical fact14.

Jesus Christ has suffered for sin, died under our sin’s penalty, and risen again in proof that He finished the work of redemption15. When you recognize that you do not—and cannot—measure up to God’s perfect standard of righteousness16, you can by faith accept that Jesus suffered the punishment of God against your sin17, that He died as your Substitute, and that His blood, shed on Calvary’s cross, can wash all your sins away18.

When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior from the penalty of your sins, you get peace with God19, a home in Heaven20, the Spirit of God living within you21, eternal life22, and God as your Father23 to provide for all your needs in life. All this you will learn when you read God’s Word. Read it, dear friend, believe it, and live.

Some like to begin a book on page one and read through to the end. If that’s your method, go ahead. Otherwise, I would encourage you to begin reading the Bible in the New Testament, especially the four Gospels and the books of Acts and Romans, since these parts of God’s Word tell how you can be saved and forgiven and how you can know God and live in personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

Once you have taken the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as your Savior, the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within you. He teaches you and helps you to understand the Bible24.

Thank God for the opportunity to sit each day under the warm light of His eternal Word! May God richly bless you as you read it.

P. Froese

1. John 17:17: “Thy word is truth.”

2. Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

3. Romans 15:4: “That we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

4. Psalm 119:9: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

5. Ephesians 6:17: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

6. Jeremiah 23:29: “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

7. Psalm 119:103: “How sweet are thy words unto my taste!”

8. Jeremiah 15:16: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.”

9. 2 Peter 1:20: “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”

10. Psalm 119:89: “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”

11. Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning.”

12. 1 John 1:5: “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

13. 1 John 4:8: “God is love.”

14. Colossians 2:17: “which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ.”

15. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “Christ died for our sins…he was buried…he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

16. Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

17. Isaiah 53:5: “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…with his stripes we are healed.”

18. 1 John 1:7: “the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

19. Romans 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

20. John 14:2: Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”

21. John 17:17: “the Spirit…shall be in you.”

22. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

23. John 16:27: “the Father himself loveth you.”

24. John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things.”