What it is, how it came to us, its authority, its purpose, why we should study it, and HOW to study it.

By Frank Brown

FIRST, what is the Bible? And HOW did we get it? It is a collection of 66 small books compiled together into one book. The word BIBLE comes from the Greek Biblia which means "BOOKS", and BIBLOS which means BOOK. It is different from any other book that has ever been written, because in its pages we find ONE claiming to be the Creator of the Universe; one who has a plan for mankind. One who prophesies events thousands of years before they take place. He claims there is no other Elohim beside HIM.
Isaiah 46:9?10: Remember the former things of old: for I am Yahweh, and there is none else; I am Yahweh, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Then He throws out a challenge to false gods: Isa. 41:21?24: (Good News Bible) YAHWEH, the king of Israel, has this to say: you gods of the nations, present your case. Bring the best arguments you have! Come here and predict what will happen, so that we will know it when it takes place. Explain to the court the events of the past, and tell us what they mean. Tell us what the future holds?then we will know that you are Elohim! Do something good, or bring some disaster; fill us with fear and awe! YOU AND ALL YOU DO ARE NOTHING; THOSE WHO WORSHIP YOU ARE DISGUSTING!
In no other book will you find anyone making a claim like this. It was written over a period of about 1600 years, from about 1450 BCE, until about CE 96. Moses wrote the first 5 books, and Malachi wrote the last book in the section we call the Old Testament, in about 400 BCE. The part we call the New Testament, was written from about CE 45 to CE 96. It was written by holy men of old, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
II Peter 1:21, For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of Yah spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures are INSPIRED. II Timothy 3:16, All scripture is given by inspiration of YAH, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
There were probably about 40 human writers, but only ONE Author ? the Heavenly Father, Yahweh, who inspired these men to write what HE wanted written. What was needful for us to know. What we couldn't find out from any other source. In its pages are revealed a way of life whereby mankind, if he would only live that way, could have a joyful and successful life here in the flesh, and then be given eternal life in the Kingdom of Yah, when Yahshua the Messiah, returns and resurrects His saints.
During the period before the New Testament was written, the Old Testament was the only scriptures in existence. The Messiah quoted from them a lot. He said Moses wrote of Him. John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
Peter preached his famous sermon on the day of Pentecost, proclaiming the Savior, Yahshua, and quoted extensively from the Old Testament to show that Yahshua was the promised Messiah, Acts 2:14?36. Stephen, in the 7th chapter of Acts, verses 2 through 53, preached an impassioned and inspired sermon about Yahshua out of the Old Testament, beginning way back in Genesis, and was stoned to death by the furious religious leaders for his trouble. In the 8th chapter of Acts is the story of Philip's meeting with the Ethiopian eunuch. This eunuch, who was the treasurer of Ethiopia, was reading from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, Acts 8:30, and v. 35 says Philip began at the same scripture and preached unto him Yahshua.
In the Bible itself, it is referred to as "the Holy Scriptures" twice, in Rom. 1:2, and II Timothy 3:15, which says: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yahshua. As simply "the scriptures" 20 times. An example is Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Or Luke 24:27, speaking of Yahshua: And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. It is called the oracles or oracles of Yah 4 times, and simply "the word" numerous times.
The Old Testament was preserved by the Jews. Romans 3:1?2: What advantage then hath the Jew? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of Yahweh. And the New Testament was preserved by the spiritual Jews, the true believers down through the ages, the church or assembly.
What is its purpose? It says of itself, II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: It tells us how to lead happy, productive lives, if we obey it. It also says, in II Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in The Messiah Yahshua. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of The Messiah: for it is the power of Yahweh unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
But it won't do any of these things for us if we don't study it ? if we don't really know what it says and teaches. It never occurs to most people to question their beliefs, or to study doctrine. We've assumed that our beliefs come out of the Bible. That's what we have always been told. So it ends up, that we search the scriptures to find support for what we already believe. No one likes to be reproved or corrected. Taking correction, and admitting that we are wrong, is probably one of the hardest things a person has to do ? so most don't!
Revelation 12:9 speaks of that old serpent the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: Could we be deceived? No, you say? then who are the people Yahshua was referring to in Matthew 7:21-24 where He said: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
That is the key: Hear His sayings, and DO them! He left us an example that we should do as He did. In John 13:15, Yahshua is speaking to His disciples, and says to them, For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. I Peter 2:21, For even hereunto were ye called: because The Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Now a few words on HOW to study the Bible: Why should it be so hard to understand the Bible? Why can't we just read it like a textbook? Well, I just mentioned one reason: Most everyone tries to find Biblical support for what they already believe. There are over 400 different denominations calling themselves Christian, all claiming to get their religion out of the Bible, yet they are all a little different in belief and practice. They bicker and squabble among themselves over this doctrine or that, and can't agree on what the scriptures mean. You have to believe, AND obey. Belief alone is not enough. The apostle James wrote in James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one Elohim; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and tremble. We must also obey. Hebrews 5:9, speaking of Yahshua says, And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; So, if you want to argue with the scriptures, and try to reason around them, you will never understand.
Another reason the Bible is hard for us to understand, is because Christianity in general, has rejected the Old Testament as being "done away" or of no use for us today. But I cannot emphasize this point strongly enough: you will never understand the true plan of salvation if you reject two thirds of the Word of Yahweh. You cannot understand the New Testament without a working knowledge of the Old. It's like trying to work a jigsaw puzzle with two-thirds of the pieces missing.
The final reason I'll give why the Bible is hard to understand, overlaps a little bit with the last one. By not understanding the Old Testament, we don't know anything about the customs extant back then, the author's intent when he wrote, the practices of the Jews, or MOST importantly, the language. If we understood the Hebrew language, their culture, AND, if we had the original scriptures, then we would understand a lot better. But because we don't have these things, then some outside help is needed to really understand the Bible. That brings me to the final point:
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE; Remember what I just said: if the Bible was written like a textbook, understanding would be NO PROBLEM; if we had the original scriptures AND an understanding of the times and customs when written, NO PROBLEM. That would be all we would need. BUT? because we have rejected the Old Testament; because we don't understand mid?east customs; because there are translation difficulties; and because of our own preconceived notions about what it says, SOME STUDY AIDS ARE NECESSARY. I RECOMMEND YOU GET THE FOLLOWING BOOKS FOR YOUR STUDY LIBRARY, AS AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. You probably have some of them already. First, the King James Version of the Bible. That should be your basic study bible. Then get at least one other translation, such as the Good News Bible, the New English Bible, New KJV, Moffatt, Goodspeed, or something similar. Then get a good concordance. This is an absolute must! I use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance myself. It has every word in the Bible listed in alphabetic order, and each word is numbered and keyed to a Hebrew and Greek dictionary, which shows what the word was translated from, and its meaning. Then you should have at least one good Bible commentary or dictionary. A Bible encyclopedia can also be helpful.
I hope you have enjoyed and found helpful this discussion about the Bible. I want to invite your comments and/or any questions you may have about the Bible, or any of its many different subjects and doctrines. (Adapted from a 1991 radio address) >fb<

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