The Bible

> Links to more INDEPTH articles: Questions About GOD I Questions About The Bible 

How to approach the Bible - Background:

The Bible is the world’s No. 1 best seller.  No other book even comes close to that.  It has sold many millions of copies throughout its history.  Ireland's greatest national treasure is copy of the Bible (gospels) called 'The Book of Kells'. Millions of people have turned to God's Word -the Bible for answers. The Bible has been a source of inspiration & quotations for countless thinkers, rulers and politicians through the years. If you have never read it -let us encourage you to do so now.

How is the Bible arranged?

The Bible is sixty-six separate books inside one book.  The Bible was written during a period of 1,500 years by over 40 different human authors from a variety of backgrounds and occupations.  They include shepherds,  fishermen, a tax collector, a king, a prime minister,  a doctor and a military general. Some  of  the  books  are history, some are poetry, some are about prophecy and some are mainly teaching books.  The Old Testament tells us about the origins of the world and God’s dealings with mankind up until  the  time  of  Jesus Christ;  the New Testament tells us about the life of Christ, why He came to the earth, and how we are to respond to God.

Why should I read the Bible?

Because the Bible is unlike any other book ever written.  Bernard Ramm said, “A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and the committal read.  But somehow the corpse never stays put.  No other book has been so chopped, knifed, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified.

What book on philosophy or religion or psychology in classical or modern times has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible?  With such venom and scepticism? …The Bible is still loved by millions, read by millions, and studied by millions.”

Not only is the Bible unique among other books, but the Bible claims to be the word of God.  Over three thousand times in the Old Testament we read, “Thus says the Lord” or “God said.”  It is God’s word to humanity.  Within its pages we find this glorious and majestic God who has plans for this world and for eternity that could only be described as perfect.  And the Bible has all the answers about the deepest things in life.  What is God like?  What am I like?  Where did I come from?  Why am I here?  Who is Jesus Christ?  What happens to me after I die?  These are compelling reasons why you should read the Bible.

Where should I start reading? At the beginning?

The Bible is a big volume.  While all of it is profitable and useful, it can be difficult to know where to start reading.  Why not start reading in one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)?  These books of the Bible tell us the story of the life of Jesus Christ—what He taught, what He did and why He died on the cross.  These books are filled with extraordinary events.

What if I don’t understand something?
It’s best not to be distracted by something that is not clear right away.  It’s best to just keep reading.  Often the more you read, the more you understand as the Bible explains itself.  Most of it is actually very clear.  Somebody once said, “It’s not the things in the Bible that I don’t understand that concern me.  It’s the things that I do understand!”

Do I read it just like any other book?
   Yes, you can read it like any other book or like the newspaper.  We want to find out what the author’s intention was and take his words at face value.  That’s what we do when we read a newspaper; we can do the same with the Bible.  But pray before you start reading.
Ask God to help you to understand what He is saying.

Here are some questions you could ask yourself as you read:

• What does this tell me about the nature and character of God?
• Does this tell me anything about how unique Jesus Christ was?
• What does this tell me about myself and all the rest of humanity?
• Should what I just read make me concerned about my eternal destiny?
• Is there anything God wants me to do that is revealed in what I just read?

Can reading the Bible change my life?

The Bible is God’s message to us, and through it we learn how we can know God. It has changed the lives of millions of people down through the ages.  Reading the Bible is reading about the God of the Bible.  He has revealed Himself in its pages.
He can change your life completely!  You can know for certain the answers to many questions that people wonder about.
In Psalm 119 verse 8, God’s revelation is said to be “radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
This is telling us that what God says makes sense out of this life.
Why not start reading it today?
It can change your life,


Sample from the Bible
John chapter 3 

Jesus teaches a leader called Nicodemus


Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven —the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

John the Baptist speaks again about Jesus
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Links to further INDEPTH articles: Questions About GOD I Questions About The Bible