Most of us would agree that the Bible provides quite a lot of reading material – some of which may seem overwhelming and unclear at times. Here are a few facts about the Bible which will help you navigate through your reading time with a frame of reference and better understanding.
First, you’ll find that the Bible is separated into two sections:
The Old Testament is a compilation of writings beginning with the creation of the world, the history of the people of Israel – including their defeat as a nation, the resulting captivity by their enemies, and ultimately their return to occupy Jerusalem once again a few hundred years prior to Christ’s birth. The Old Testament is also God’s law to the people of Israel.
The New Testament is a compilation of writings beginning just prior to the birth of Jesus, continuing with His life and ministry, His death and resurrection as our Savior, and ultimately the establishment and expansion of His Church throughout the world. The message of freedom in Christ by grace as revealed in the New Testament fulfills and replaces the need for the rituals imposed in the Old Testament.
Second, and generally speaking, there are three types of writings you’ll find throughout the Old and New Testaments in the Bible:
Historical Account – writings which tell a true story and give an important historical perspective of people and important events.
Instructional Writings – books and verses which provide instruction on many aspects of Christian living, church organization and personal and family matters without specifically providing some historical account of events.
Inspirational Writings – poetic, artistic writing designed to encourage, uplift and express emotion from the author to the reader.
The New Testament writings which provide a Historical Account of the life and ministry of Jesus are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four books are also referred to as the Gospels. The book of Acts is another historical book in the New Testament which chronicles the establishment and expansion of the Christian church after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The New Testament books which represent Instructional Writings are Romans through Jude. These are actual letters from church leaders giving advice and instruction to other Christians and churches throughout the world.
The Old Testament book of Psalms is a great example of Inspirational Writings. Below is an inspiration from a Psalm which assures us of the blessings God gives to the one who is investing God’s Word into their life regularly.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3
To plant the seed of God’s Word into our lives, we need to make reading the Bible a part of our daily routine. As the seed of God’s Word blossoms in your life, His blessings will become more evident. You will receive strength from His Word to sustain you, even through seasons of drought and difficulty.