The Bible is a collection of historical books, letters, prophecies, poems and songs written by a collection of people. It was all written close to the time of the actual events by people who had all the information or were part of the event themselves. We also believe that all the writers were led by the Spirit of God to help them record everything in an accurate way. By doing this, we are given a glimpse of how God has worked throughout history, what He would like to do in our lives, and what He has planned for the future. But what makes the Bible different from many other books is the fact that everything in the Bible is true.
The word “Testament” means agreement, and it is referring to an agreement between God and humans. The Old Testament was that we had to live life perfectly, but we couldn’t, and this is why God came as Jesus to save us. We are currently a part of the new and final agreement between God and the world: The New Testament or agreement which simply means:
Below is a complete list of all the books in the Bible with a short summary/introduction of each book to give you an idea of what you will be reading. These summaries, along with the timeline and quick reference guide, should help you to understand the bigger picture of what the Bible is trying to tell us.
Old Testament Introduction
In the Old Testament we see God creating everything out of nothing and how He has worked throughout history to fulfil His plan to save all those who are willing to admit that they need saving. The Old Testament is filled with action, romance, comedy and wisdom. It gives us the history of the world up to about 2 and a half thousand years ago. But packed along with all the history, are poems and songs that reveal more about who God really is. While the prophetic writings reveal to us more about things to come and we can see how God is working all things together for good.
New Testament Introduction
The New Testament is where the long awaited Saviour of the world appears about 400 years after the Old Testament ends (About 2000 years ago). It starts with 4 different perspectives of the same story, but written by different people. These stories share with us how Jesus lived and how He paid the price for us. After this we see how the first churches started, and we also get to read some of the letters that were written to some of those specific churches during that time. The New Testament then ends with a book that focusses on how the end of the world will be with God’s judgement, but at the same time reminds us that God has everything under control and has already saved us.
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The Old Testament Books
In Genesis we read how God made everything out of nothing and how the first people rebelled against God, making us all guilty before Him. But God loves us and promised that He would save us when the time was right. We read of how people grew more and more evil up to the point where God flooded the world completely, killing everything and everyone, except for Noah and his family on a big boat. God also saved selected animals along with them. After everything settled again, they started repopulating the world. God then made a promise to Abraham that through his family line, all the nations of the world would be blessed. The book ends with his family settling in Egypt as their new home.
In Exodus, we read how Abraham's family, the Israelites, became slaves under a new Pharaoh (king) many years after moving to Egypt; but God used Moses and miracles to let the Israelites go free. In their escape, God parted the red sea so that they could walk through the sea on dry land, killing the Egyptians that were chasing them when the wall of water that closed behind the Israelites. We also read about how God gave the Israelites the10 Commandments and how the Israelites struggled to trust God, even though He has never let them down.
Song of Solomon
The New Testament Books
The letter to the church in Rome is very clear and easy to read. It explains many of the Christian core beliefs; like why we need to be saved, how we are saved, and what our responsibilities are now.
This letter was written to Titus as a way of guiding him in forming a very young church. Paul instructs him on how to appoint leaders in the church, how to deal with false teachers and how to live godly lives.
This is one of Paul’s letters that is the most personal in nature. He wrote it to a close friend to ask him to forgive and receive back a runaway slave who had become a Christian. Remembering that cultural rules were very different when it was written makes this letter more understandable and helps us use the same principles today.
Peter wrote this letter to remind us that the more a Christian grows in understanding and faith, the stronger they will be against false teachings and in persecution. It also focusses on the fact that Jesus will return to start the final judgement.
This book is unlike any other book in the Bible because it focusses purely on 1 prophecy. A prophecy that Jesus gave to John through an angel. The prophecy is about the end times and how things will happen before God judges everything and everyone. It explains everything that will happen in a very dream like manner, so some things are not as clear as other parts of the Bible. But the one thing we can hold onto is that Jesus is coming to save those that accepted His offer to be saved. The rest of the people, unfortunately and as terrible as it might be, will go to hell with Satan and his evil angels for ever and ever.