The Bible is the most printed book in the world. But do people really know
“What Kind of Book Is the Bible?”
The following is an abridged transcription of a sermon spoken by Pr Huang Chih Chieh on 12 Dec 2009 during the Evangelistic Service in Adam Road church. Read on to find out what kind of book is the bible …
“What kind of book is the Bible?” There is something interesting about the services here. Whenever someone shares something on the pulpit or when they discuss about the truth, that person will always be holding the bible, and he will say, “Let’s refer to the bible.” You may ask:
- Why must I carry the bible?
- Must I read the bible?
- Can I believe every word in the Bible?
- Must I believe the Bible?
- What is the relationship between the bible and me?
- Whenever you quote the bible, how do I know if the verses were true or fabricated?
So we will spend some time here to understand this book. The bible that we have is the book which has been translated in the most number of languages in the world. There are 2,355 different translations. What other book can be translated into so many different languages?
The reason for the translations is that this book is not written for people of a single location to read, but written for all mankind to read. And all mankind has an interest in this book, which is why they want to translate it into one’s own language so that he can read it.
But why is the bible so attractive?
It looks plain right? There are no pictures in the cover, so why are many people interested?
Some people treat the bible as a piece of literature work. There was once a student who studied literature and I asked him, “During your studies in the university, do you read the bible?” The student replied, “Oh this bible? It has been highly recommended by our professor!” I asked again, “Is your professor a Christian?”, to which he answered, “No, he said this bible is a very good literature book!”
This is the understanding of some people about the bible. It is true, what is written in the bible is beautifully written; it is a very good literature book. There are others who treat the bible as a novel, because it teaches a person what to do to be a good person. This book has influenced many people in the world, including Abraham Lincoln who after reading Micah 6:8, decided to put an end to slavery.
Yet, there are people who treat the bible as some tools for exorcism. Yes, the bible can bring peace to man, but we should not use it as talisman; not for such purpose.
So what kind of book is the bible?
Actually this bible is divided into the New Testament and the Old Testament. The Old Testament contains 39 books and the New Testament contains 27 books, all in all there are 66 books.
Recordings in the Old Testament were before Christ prior to the very beginning when God created the universe and everything else in it.
The New Testament records of Jesus and His birth into the world up till the events which will take place when the world comes to an end.
So the bible has a definite relationship with us. Every book will have its particular theme. The theme of the entire bible is the Salvation grace of Life. The bible tells us the salvation grace of life for all mankind. It tells us where our life comes from and where mankind should be going? What good should a man do in this life so that he can have hope? How should you live your life so that you can be pleasing to others, and pleasing to God? These are the fundamental contents of the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New King James Version)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
It tells us here about the scripture, the bible, and that it is inspired by God. In it, there are teachings on how man ought to return to God. Our modern day societies have many negative influences which we will be impacted by. How should we correct our ways so that our entire family will receive blessings, and that in this life we can have true joy? The bible is beneficial to man that it equips him to be complete.
When a man is complete, he is able to bring benefits to others and edify the world. This is the theme of the Bible. There are a few directions that we are supposed to know. The bible concerns our life and it tells us how man came about? What is the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father? Without this book, we will definitely not be able to find the originator of life. The bible tells us where life originated from, as well as much of the common history of mankind. Our Heavenly Father inspired many people and motivated them to write all things recorded in the bible so that we may know what happened in the past.
Genesis 1:1 (New King James Version)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“In the beginning”, is the beginning of time. “God created the heavens and the earth,” refers to God, our Heavenly Father. The entire universe was created by God, our Heavenly Father. Not only did He create the entire universe, He also created everything that we see today; the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the beasts on earth, all the stars and whatever you see in heaven including the sun and the moon. And then He created man.
Genesis 1:26 (New King James Version)
God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Man is created personally by God, and in His likeness. So man is an honorable being. Why can man have dominion over the face of the earth? It is not coincidental but God, when He created the entire universe He made it so. It is therefore a man’s honour to have dominion over the earth.
Next, you will say, “What was the language in which Adam and Eve communicated in? Was it English or Chinese or French?” No one really knows what language Adam and Eve spoke in, but at the very beginning, man only had one language and that is true. You may wonder why then there are so many different languages today since man come from the same ancestors. In the beginning, there was only one language until something happened…
Genesis 11:1 (New King James Version)
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.”
Our ancestors wanted to build a tower that would extend to heaven. God was displeased and hence He created a confusion in their language that they were not able to understand each other and unable to complete the building of the tower.
The Bible tells us the early history of man that we can understand the relationship we have with God. God treats us as His children. For as long as He is willing, He will not withhold anything from us. If we wish to know what our relationship with our Father is like, we have to read the Bible.
“Is what is written in the Bible in line with science? There are many scriptures and therefore there will be many legends and myths. Many are not substantiated. Is the bible like that?”
If the facts in the Bible were plucked out of the blue and untrue, our faith would have been in vain. But let me testify here that the facts in the bible are in accordance to scientific evidence – from the very first book to the very last book. Genesis, the first book written around 1500BC when God inspired Moses to write and the last book Revelation where God revealed prophesies to John.
The time difference between the first book to the last book (excluding the book of Job) is about 1600 years. If we added the book of Job (which occurred before the time of the Patriarch, written at about 2000BC), the actual time difference should be about 2100 years. The duration to complete writing the entire bible is about 2000 years. The bible was also written in different languages; Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. Also note that the authors of the bible lived in different locations with different social status – some were kings while others were shepherds. Most of them did not even know each other but miraculously, from the very first book to the very last book, it seems as though there was only one author.
The line of thought was continuous which is amazing. The facts written do not contradict one another. In fact, they compliment one another. Why is this so? The answer is simple. The bible is inspired by God. It is a book which is systematic in its information and the contents are definitely written for a purpose. There are no nonsense facts in it. We learnt from the book of Job that air has weight. It was only until the time of Galileo that we realised that air is something important, much later in 3000 years. That means Galileo wrote this in 3000 years but the bible already recorded that air has weight before that.
Isaiah 40:22 (New King James Version)
“It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”
God sits above the circle (original word means sphere) of the earth. This is strange, Isaiah was a man who lives in 700BC, how could he have known that the earth was a sphere, a ball? There was no science or satellite then that enabled them to see the earth was round. It was only in the year 1475 when man verified that the earth was a sphere. In the 16th century in Poland, some one theorized it and it was accepted.
There was a huge difference in time but who would have told Isaiah. It is clear that God inspired him to write the recordings in the bible. Even now, the bible still surpasses science. The Bible records that Jesus walked on water, but we can never prove that man can walk on water and God can cause a man to resurrect from death. But if Science cannot prove this, does it mean that it doesn’t exist? Can you use scientific methods to prove your love for someone? Love cannot be proven by science. If we cannot prove love with science, does it exist? Of course it does! And there are so many facts that science cannot verify. But in the bible there are many recordings that are substantiated. Though science cannot prove them, it is a problem of science; it is not a problem of God.
If your father had gone to work and your friend asked, “Where is your dad?” to which you replied, “He has gone to work.” If your friend asked for a proof and you cannot prove it. Does that mean that your father has not gone to work? Does the problem lie in the fact that your father did not go to work or it lies in your failure to prove it? Sometimes we should have humility to look at things in the world.
Every day, science discovers new things. However, science did prove the recordings in the bible are correct including the fact that the earth is hung in a vacuum. The bible has already recorded what science can prove only recently. Is it because the ones who wrote the bible were powerful? No. It is because God had inspired them for He created the universe. How can He not know since He created everything in the universe?
The bible does not contradict science. What is written does not contradict what we can understand. However some teachings are beyond human wisdom and we need to accept them in faith. The bible is also a book of prophecy, and all the prophesies will be fulfilled. Now there is only one prophecy that is not yet fulfilled as the time has not come yet, and that is the time when the world will end.
2 Peter 3:10 (New King James Version)
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
What kind of book is the Bible: It is the True and Believable
Whatever is written in the bible is true and believable. It tells us the destruction of the earth, and what is going to happen in the future. In Genesis 15, God prophesied that Abraham would have many descendants and the land which his children would inherit. In Exodus 12, after 430 years have passed, it is recorded that the people of Israel (Abraham’s descendants) departed from Egypt. Why was it so accurate? Our Heavenly Father, the True God controls history. In the bible there were countless of prophecies on the rise and fall of empires.
One may say, “What has the future got to do with me? Whatever happens to people in the past is history and I don’t care.” It is true, perhaps there is no direct relation, but we ought to know that the prophesies recorded in the bible have been fulfilled and it is only prophecy has yet been fulfilled but it too will come to pass! Can anyone say that all the prophecies will come to pass except for one?
Perhaps 10 years ago, you would not believe the earth will be destroyed but now you may have a different view. This world will be destroyed. In fact, many scientists are proving the imminent destruction although they may not have the full understanding. According to the Bible, God will destroy the entire universe, not just the earth. We should ponder over our own life.
The recordings in the bible will definitely come to pass! Perhaps you do not believe this right now. But if you reflected on all the previous prophecies that have been fulfilled, then the likelihood of this prophecy being fulfilled is very high. The bible is accurate in its predictions because everything written in it is true and every word written is to teach us how we can be saved in the future. We must prepare for our life, and the bible teaches us how to make this preparation.
God will prepare for us a kingdom and this kingdom is forever. The bible tells us God wants to give us eternal life. This world will come to an end, but God tell us that all who seek the root of their being and return to the Heavenly Father belong to His household and He has prepared for them an eternal life.
John 5:39 (New King James Version)
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Why do we read the bible? It is for our lives for it teaches us the way to escape from the final calamities to have an eternal life. What proof do we have to claim this? The proof is in the bible. The bible has revealed the relationship we have with the Heavenly Father. The fact that the bible is translated into more than 2000 different languages is not a coincidence. There are many people who are aware of the truth that if they do not read the bible, they do not have a future.
The bible can give us hope and eternal life. It can give us peace and a blissful family, as long as we are willing to obey what its teachings. Do you feel that you have a relationship with the bible? If it concerns our lives, we must be very serious about it because this is a question which concerns our very life.
What happens to us eternally in the future?
Now that you have read this… don’t you think that the Bible is special?
When you seriously read the Bible and discover What Kind of Book Is The Bible, you will treasure it as if you had found a great treasure. And this treasure is an everlasting one… the treasure of eternal life.