Before we attempt to interpret the Bible correctly, we must first recognize what this book is in the first place. The Bible is God’s Word so that we can truly know Him.
- The Bible is the greatest indication that the Creator desires to communicate with his creation.
- Long ago, God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son (Heb. 1:1-2).
- While the Bible is composed of numerous narratives and multiple messages, it is one unifying story of what God is accomplishing in this world.
- which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures – concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 1:2-3).
- The Bible’s overarching narrative follows creation, corruption, crucifixion, commission, and consummation.
- Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures (Luke 24:27).
- The Bible is composed of two testaments or two covenants.
- The Old Testament
- The OT was written in Hebrew with a few passages written in Aramaic (Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Dan. 2:4b-7:28; Jer. 10:11).
- While the timeline of the narrative is longer, the writing of the OT was between 1400-430 BC.
- There are 39 books in the OT.
- The books are divided into sections: Laws, History, Wisdom, and Prophets.
- The New Testament
- The NT was written in Greek.
- While the timeline of the narrative begins earlier, the writing of the NT was between 45-90 AD.
- There are 27 books in the NT.
- The books are divided into sections: Gospels, Acts, Pauline Letters, General Letters, and Revelation.
- When James, Peter, and John – those recognized as pillars… (Gal. 2:9).
- The Old Testament
- The Old Testament finds its fulfillment in the New Testament.
- …I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people (Jer. 31:31-33).
- In the same way, he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).
- The Bible has a unique quality of possessing dual authorship.
- Today, if you hear his voice (Ps. 95:7).
- Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today if you hear his voice…” (Heb. 3:7).
- Fully God – The quality of foreshadowing and unity could only be accomplished by God.
- Fully Man – The intentionality of human authors does force us to consider each context.
- Fully God/Fully Man – Just like Jesus, the Bible has unique divine and human characteristics.
- Canon means a measuring rod.
- The canon of Scripture refers to the 66 books we believe to be inspired by God.
- Church leaders recognized the authority of a book but never established it.
- The complete canon was finished by 100 AD.
- It was collected and read by the church at large between 100-200 AD.
- The Scriptures were examined between 200-300 AD.
- Church leaders officially agreed on their status between 300-400 AD.
- All NT books must be considered:
- Apostolic – written by an apostle or a close associate
- Catholic – “universally” accepted by the churches
- Orthodox – without contradiction with other books
- Stephen Langton (1150-1228) provided the first chapter breaks in the Bible.
- Robert Estienne (1503-1559) provided the first verse breaks in the Bible.
- The Geneva Bible (1560) is the first English Bible with divisions like we currently have.
- Inerrant – The Bible is truthful in content.
- Infallible – The Bible is accurate in doctrine.
- Inspired – The Bible is breathed out by God.
- The NT has 96-97% accuracy of 6000 documents transcribed.
- The sections in the Bible that have scribal variations do not endanger any doctrine.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.