What is the Bible: A Summary, and Some Important Highlights

Some Stuff They May Not Have Covered in Christianity 101: Part II


Abraham Lincoln called it “the best gift God has ever given man.”

George Washington said “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Ulysses S. Grant: “The Bible is the sheet-anchor of our liberties.”

Lord Tennyson: “Bible reading is an education in itself.”

Sir Isaac Newton: “There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history”. 

~Quotes from Haley’s Bible Handbook

Now, the recommendation of these mere mortals, highly esteemed though they are, is not nearly as important as what God Himself has to say about the Holy Bible.  But some of the greatest minds who ever lived, attribute their wisdom to the Old Book.  Unfortunately, this is a part of our history we have lost.  It is no longer taught.  The “paper trail” of evidence does still exist, for those who care to verify these things.

What is the Bible?

The Bible is History, in that it is His Story.  Gods, that is.

The author of the Bible is God.

The subject matter of the Bible is God.

One of the greatest misconceptions of this day is that Christianity is “all about us”!

The sum of its parts

The Bible is divided by Old Testament and New Testament.

The Old Testament tells the story of a nation:  The Hebrew Nation

The New Testament is the story of a man:  The God-man Jesus

The nation of the Old Testament was founded and nurtured by God for the purpose of bringing into the world the man of the New Testament

In creating the nation, God’s pre-eminent purpose was to bring the Christ into the world, but HIs more immediate purpose was to establish, in a world of rampant idolatry, and as a precursor to the coming of Christ, the fact that there is only One (triune) True Living God

The Old Testament:

  • Consists of Pentateuch, History, Poetry, Major and Minor Prophets
  • Begins at The Beginning, and gives the account of Creation
  • Tells us about an Everlasting Covenant that God made with a man named Adam
  • Tells us about an Unbreakable Promise that God made to a man named Abraham:  That in His seed all Nations would be blessed and
  • Tells us about God’s Everlasting, Unconditional Covenant with the Hebrew Nation via Abraham and His seed (Genesis 12:1-3)
  • Tells us about God’s Conditional Covenant made with the Hebrew Nation (Children of Israel) at Mt. Sinai via Moses (Exodus 19-24)
  • Tells us of an Unbreakable Promise that God made to King David that his family would reign over God’s people forever. (2 Samuel 7)
  • Phrases like “Thus saith the Lord” appear 3800 times!

*Your  correct understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant, and the fact that it is everlasting and unconditional, is absolutely imperative as a foundation for proper understanding of prophecy and the times we now are living in!

The O.T. divided by significant periods:

  • Adam and the antediluvian period (literally before the deluge, or flood) and God’s Universal Dealings with man
  • From the flood to Abraham
  • Patriarchal (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob)
  • The Nation of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt
  • The Exodus
  • The period of the Judges
  • The Kingdom: Saul, David, Solomon
  • Divided Kingdom
  • The Captivity/Exile
  • Persian Period
  • Greek Period
  • Maccabean Period
  • Period of Restoration

The Heart of the Matter

At the heart and at the center of the Bible narrative, is Christ.  Christ is a title, rather than a name.  Other titles for Him, of which there are many, include “Emmanuel (God, with us), and “The Prince of Peace”.

The Bible, ahead of  time:

  • When people were still being “bled” in an effort to alleviate sickness from the body and preserve life, Leviticus 17:11 had already established that life of the flesh is in the blood. 
  • When “science” (falsely so-called) believed the Earth to be flat, (up until Magellan’s circumnavigation in 1500 A.D.) Isaiah said (740-490 BC) “It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth..(40:22)

Like the best “Epic Novel” the Bible narrative spans generations, all of human history, in fact, straight on into the future.  It is “History, written in advance”.  It is probably the best-loved book ever written, and verifiably the best-selling, most-printed.

God created mankind, and placed him in the Garden of Eden.  At that time, God spoke and walked, physically with man in the garden.  Man sinned and fell from what God had originally designed for him to be. The Bible tells us that by one man, Adam, sin entered into , the world.  It is not “genetic” but it is an alteration which every human thus inherited.  Once mankind fell from the perfection he originally lived in, God set into motion a plan for mankind’s ultimate redemption, by calling Abraham as the founder of a specific nation, which would serve as the vehicle for God to accomplish this redemption.  God led Abraham out of Babylon (Cradle of civilization) into Canaan.  Abraham’s descendants eventually migrated to Egypt and multiplied to become a nation unto themselves.

After 400 years in Egypt, God called a man named Moses to lead this nation and people-group out of Egypt and back to Canaan, which land was promised to Abraham and his descendants by God.  Over time, and under the reigns of David and Solomon, the nation became a Mighty Kingdom.  At the close of Solomon’s reign, the Kingdom divided.  The Northern portion, consisted of ten of the twelve tribes, and was called Israel.  That kingdom was strong for about 200 years, and then fell captive to the Assyrians in 721 BC.  The southern kingdom was called Judah, lasted just over three hundred years, and around about 699 BC was captured by Babylon.  A small remnant of those returned to their own land in 536 BC, and re-established their unique life as a nation.  The Old Testament narrative was closed soon after, with  the book of Malachi.

Four hundred years of silence on the part of God, ensued, after the Old Testament was complete, during which time God inspired no new writings to be recorded. But during those 4 centuries,  God was actively preparing the world for the next phase of His plan.  Greece united the civilizations of Asia, Europe and Africa, and one universal language was established.  Rome, without regard to India, and China, made the whole world a single empire, no borders or frontiers, and Rome’s roads made all those areas accessible.  The dispersion of the Jews among all the nations, set the stage for the news of the Gospel of Christ to be spread by way of the Jewish Synagogues, (which served as social and educational centers) and their Scriptures.  Paul routinely went to the local synagogues in His travels, to preach and debate with the proselytes who gathered there (**). The relative world peace and safety of the Pax Romana was a rare lull in world conflict for just such a time, (In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son-Gal. 4:4).  The old religions having broken down, and the new philosophies of the age were beyond the average Joe.  The poet Seneca said men were looking “ad salute” (towards salvation) “for a hand let down to lift them up” (*)

After that four hundred years, God again directly addressed the world, this time with the birth of the anticipated Christ Child.  His birth and life fulfilled over 350 specific prophecies recorded in the Old Testament. 

The New Testament

  • History: (Gospels and Acts)
  • Pauline Epistles (Romans-Philemon)
  • General Epistles (Hebrews-Jude)
  • Prophecy: Revelation

The prophesied Christ had come, and He accomplished the redemptive work which He came to do, that is; having never sinned, He died for (our) Human Sin, and rose from the dead, thereby buying our pardon, and commissioned His disciples (recipients of the gospel) to take the story of His Life, with its redemptive power, and tell it to every nation, to the uttermost parts of the Earth.  They did go out in every direction, throughout the entire inhabited world of that time:  Asia Minor, Greece, the Roman Empire.  With the work of the Redemption having been launched, the New Testament comes to a close, but the redemptive work is still in effect to this day.

The Bible is Indestructible

  • Diocletian ordered, by edict in 303 A.D. for every copy of the Bible to be burned.
  • During the Reformation, the religious authorities forbade reading of the scriptures by the common man under the misguided idea that only the Clergy the church itself, could interpret it.  In 1543, the church authorities in England forbade the use of Tyndale’s translation of the Bible,  burning all but two of  18,000 copies that had been smuggled in.
  • Voltaire, famous French atheist, once said “it took 12 ignorant fishermen to establish the Christian religion and I will show the world how one Frenchman can destroy this religion.  Twenty-five years after his death, The Geneva Bible Society bought Voltaire’s house for use as a warehouse, and the printing presses on which Voltaire’s atheistic books were printed, were put to use printing new copies of the Bible.
  • Translations of the Bible are complete in over 4000 of the worlds 6600 languages

Jesus said in Matthew 24:35 Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.


Further reading:

What is the Abrahamic Covenant?

What is the Mosaic Covenant?

The Promise of David

Resources used:

E-Sword Bible Software 2013 ©Rick Myers

(*) Old Testament Bible History Guidebook 2005 © H. Richard Hester, page 23

(**) Ibid, page 25


Haley’s Bible Handbook Twenty-third Edition © 1962, 1965

Quotes P. 19-20 (Notable Sayings)