In some cultures and religions it is forbidden to read the Bible. The authorities do not want their people knowing what it says. Perhaps they do not know what it says. So I thought I would provide a brief contents page by telling briefly their subject matter.
The Bible is in essence a book of Covenants between God and mankind, God and the Jews, God and the House of David (fulfilled in Christ) and ultimately God and believers in Jesus from all people.
- The Torah: The Bible starts with five books of the Jewish Law, or Torah in Hebrew, literally teaching. Starting with the Book of Genesis, or Beginnings, this book itself starts with a summary of the account of God’s creation of the Cosmos and the Earth. Nowadays, this passage is startling for its accuracy compared to the scientific account of the evolution of the universe. Its divides creation into six days. Days two to six of creation each start half way through the previous day and the events of that day match the time line of the scientific account. The Torah then covers the a story showing who mankind are and our moral and spiritual problem, and then tells the story of God’s interactions with the original ancestors of the Israelite people, their subsequent enslavement in Egypt and their dramatic rescue by God, who called Moses to lead them and give them the Teaching, containing both God’s moral law as well as the law specific to Israelite worship and identity.
- The History: Then the Bible goes on to tell the story of the Israelites, how they conquered the land, were governed by judges before they rebelled and wanted a king. Their second king, David established Israel as a Kingdom and a nation. The Bible goes on to describe their turning away from God and their decline, eventually to be taken into exile by the Babylonians, before their return seventy years or so later to re-inhabit part of their promised land.
- The Prophets: During this time a number of prophets were send by God to the Jewish people, to remind them of God’s ways, to tell them where they were going wrong and to promise what God would do, including send a Messiah to them, foretold from Moses onwards. All this happened to instruct all the nations, for Israel and their ways serve as an example and a warning to all nations.
- Psalms and Wisdom: The Book of Psalms is 150 worship songs, many prophetic, some exploring the real heartache of being human is difficult circumstances. The Books of Proverbs contains sayings that summarise what it is to be wise. The Book of Ecclesiastes is a book written exploring what is the condition of a man who does not know God. The Song of Songs is a drama about a love story, which shows the nature of love, including divine love. The Book of Job is a novel about a man who suffers unjustly and puts God on trial for it, exploring the problem of suffering. These books make up the Hebrew Scriptures, also known as the Old Testament.
- The New Testament: This consists of four biographies of Jesus, known as the four Gospels. The Book of Acts is the history of the Apostles and the early Church and how God’s spirit empowered the Christians to serve God. Then comes many of the apostolic letters that have been preserved, including most of those of St Paul. Finally, the Book of Revelation is a book of prophecy, written by John, one of the apostles, which foretells the future and shows the church what is must do before Christ comes again. It ends with a description of the promised eternity with God and his Christ.
So the Bible starts at the beginning of all things and ends with the promised eternity with God, and describes the key episodes of His activity as He works to create a people for Himself.
Its most seditious message, if you can call it that, is that the highest authority on this Earth is not national governments, but God himself, Christ being the King of kings and Lord of lords, before whom one day all will bow and confess as lord. Therefore, even national government, as well as all men and women and all human institutions, including religious ones, need to refer to God’s word as the source of what it is to be truly good or bad. To not do is to bring injury, if not disaster, upon themselves and others.
What the Bible is not is a source book of all truth. Its scope is specific and limited, but it does offer advice on finding all truth: The Holy Spirit of God would lead us into all truth, and that our role is to ‘test everything, keep what is good’ and finally ‘get wisdom, get knowledge and get understanding’.
So, my advice to those who ban the Bible is this: you are missing out, to your own hurt.
To those who have a Bible, I say: read, learn and inwardly digest it, seeking out its treasures of truth and wisdom and the God who inspired its content.
God bless you all,
President – Jesus Christ for Muslims