The Bible is the world's best-selling book. In New Zealand alone, Bible Society sells and distributes more than 60,000 every year. But what is the Bible? Is it one book, or a collection of many? And what do Christians believe about the Bible? Here are some basics...
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
- 2 Timothy 3:16.
The Bible is a collection of ancient writings which Christians believe to be God’s revelation to the human race. Although exactly how God ‘breathed’ the words remains a mystery, Christians universally agree that God guided the writers as they penned or scribed his words.
The Bible contains 66 books and is split into two parts; the Old and New Testaments. For Protestant Christians, the Old Testament (before Jesus) contains 39 books and the New Testament (during and after Jesus’ life) contains 27 books. Roman Catholics include a number of additional books in their Old Testament (commonly referred to as the Apocrypha) and some additional material in books accepted by Protestants (such as in Daniel and Esther).
“The New Testament” is a term that signifies the new agreement between God and all the people of the world by which all can come to God through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
There are several different types of writings included in the Bible. The Old Testament is made up of 17 historical books, 5 books of poetry and wisdom and 17 prophetic books. The New Testament is made up of four Gospels, one history book, 21 letters and one prophetic book.
To help you understand the Bible story, check out our summaries.