The Bible

How does the Bible fit together, part 2

There are four major and twelve minor prophets, and their time coincides with that of the kings. They were sent by God to ensure that Israel was faithful to God and kept His ways and commandments and lived in love and obedience towards Him and each other. The prophets also foretell much about future events and especially concerning Jesus the Messiah.

Jeremiah speaks of a new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah when He would put His law on their minds, write it in their hearts, they would be His people and they would be His God (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Hebrews 8:1-6 comments on this and explains that the Lord Jesus is the great High Priest and is the Mediator of a better covenant with better promises. Hebrews writes extensively about the priesthood and especially the book of Leviticus. The different books in the Bible are not assembled randomly but fit together perfectly like a jigsaw. They often reference other books within the Bible, quote them directly or in parts, or cite specific events such as the creation, the Exodus or mention the fulfilment of prophecy.

Prophecy from these books tells us about many events in incredibly precise detail concerning the birth of the Lord Jesus, His miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension. Biblical prophecy is akin to history written in advance and the Bible is unique in being able to describe future events in stunning detail accurately so that the Messiah could be recognised when He came.

The four gospels cover the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus though are written with different audiences in mind. Like the books of Kings and Chronicles they are not repeating the same material. Jesus performed miracles and even His birth was miraculous. He fulfilled prophecy. He lived a perfect sinless life and is the only One who can forgive sins. According to the scriptures, He died on the cross, to make atonement for sins and to reconcile us to God. He also rose again, and His resurrection is the guarantee of the resurrection and everlasting life with Him for those who trust in Him.

The rest of the New Testament takes the form of letters and were written by the apostles. Like the rest of Scripture they were inspired by the Holy Spirit and instruct us about how to live and to please God. The Holy Spirit is a Person of the Godhead and came at Pentecost (Shavuot) in Acts Chapter 2, was present at creation (Genesis 1:2), convicts people of sin and teaches the followers of the Lord Jesus and guides them into all truth (John 14:26; 16:13).

The greatest commandment Jesus taught was to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and strength and the second is like it; to love our neighbour as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Jesus was of course quoting from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18). Similarly, the first four of the Ten Commandments are about loving God and the remaining six our neighbour. If we read it carefully, it becomes evident that the Lord’s prayer follows the same format.

Paul wrote much of the New Testament, though he had a dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. He formerly went out of his way to persecute Christians though when He met the Lord Jesus His life suddenly took on a complete U turn.  That reminds us that heaven is not for ‘good people’ but for those who have turned to God, received His forgiveness and trust in Him.

The Bible ends with the book of Revelation and only makes sense if it is read within the context of the rest of the Bible. Like Genesis it ends with the Tree of Life and God is in the centre.

How should we interpret the Bible?

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