The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors over a period of 1500 years yet there is a remarkably unity amongst its constituent parts. The purpose of the Bible is to glorify God, to be reconciled to God, to know God and to enjoy relationship with God.
A helpful acronym for the Bible is – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
Genesis speaks of the very beginning and commences with the creation and the fall of humankind. Adam and Eve were the first created beings who sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Since God is absolutely holy and sin had entered the world and affected the whole world, that transgression needed to be paid for so that humans could be in a right relationship with God. The promise of a Messiah who would save people from their sin and enable them to be in a right relationship with God was set out in Genesis 3:15, known as the protoevangelium, or the first gospel and is also the first prophecy in the Bible.
The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses and are referred to as the law, the Pentateuch, or the Torah. Exodus as its name suggests, details Israel coming out of Egyptian slavery, yet it also points towards how there is a need to be freed from the effects of sin akin to slavery. Leviticus explains the laws and the priesthood and how a holy God could be approached on His terms. Numbers and Deuteronomy chronicle further events in the wanderings of the children of Israel from Egypt, through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Moses spoke of a greater Prophet who would be like Him, who is Jesus.
The writings tell us much of Israel’s history. The Judges was a dark time in history when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. 1 and 2 Samuel focus mainly on the life of David. David wanted to build a temple for the Lord though God told him to leave that task to his son Solomon. God made a covenant with David that his kingdom would be established forever. David’s greater Son would be Jesus the Messiah who would be the Saviour of the world.
1 and 2 Kings again do as their name suggests and provide us with a history of the lives of the kings of Israel and Judah. Following Solomon’s reign, Israel was split into a northern kingdom, Israel and a southern one, Judah. 1 and 2 Chronicles cover much the same material as 1 and 2 Kings though are written from a divine editorial on God’s people. Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther are set in the time of the Medo-Persian Empire and Ezra commences from the end of Babylonian captivity.
Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible and deals with issues concerning suffering and why at times the righteous also suffer. Psalms is a collection of songs and is the longest k in the Bible and is in the centre. Many of the Psalms were written by David. Solomon wrote what is known as the wisdom literature including Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.