ListenGod is talking to you, are you listening? God isn't speaking audibly of course; He communicates with us through His written message, the Bible. The Bible is a collection of writings that records God's interactions with mankind. The overall theme of the Bible is God's work in the creation and redemption of mankind. The Bible is usually thought of as one book, but is actually a collection of 66 books. The English word "Bible" comes from the Greek word biblos which means a written book, a roll or a scroll.

About the Bible

These books were written by approximately 40 different people spanning a time period of over 1500 years. God used men from many walks of life to record His message to us. These men came from diverse backgrounds. Some were kings while others were humble shepherds. Some were highly educated while others had little formal training.

The Bible was completed nearly 2,000 years ago and is the best preserved literary work of all time with over 24,000 ancient manuscripts known to exist. By comparison, the second best preserved literary work of antiquity is Homer's Iliad, with only 643 preserved manuscripts discovered to date

The books of the Bible are separated into two major sections. The first 39 books are contained within the Old Testament. The remaining 27 books are in the New Testament. The books of the Old Testament were written in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages. The New Testament books were all written in Greek.

The Old Testament books cover the period of time from the creation of the world until about 425 B.C. The Old Testament's primary focus is on God's dealings with the descendants of Abraham (the Israelites). The New Testament books record events in the first century A.D. that pertain to the life of Jesus and the establishment of His group of disciples called "Christians".

Why should I read the Bible?

We should read the Bible because it is literally God's message to mankind. It teaches us all that can be known about God and how to achieve immortality and ultimately be with Him in heaven. We should read the Bible because it contains all that we need to live an abundant life. By reading and studying it, we will know the truth about everything that is important for a Christian to know. When we know the truth, we'll recognize error and false teaching when we are confronted with it. There are many ways by which people are mislead spiritually. It is vital to know what God says so that we won't be lead astray.

The Bible teaches us how to treat and interact with one another. It teaches us how to love ourselves and each other. Reading and studying the Bible is a vital part of growing and maturing spiritually. We should spend time reading it daily because it is in our own best interest.

It's hard to understand, I might not interpret it correctly!

It is true that some parts of the Bible are difficult to grasp. Some of the difficulties are due to cultural differences. Depending on what part of the Bible you are reading, there may be between 3400 and 2000 years between when the Bible was written and us today. The culture in which the Bible was written was very different from most of the cultures that exist today. There is also a difference in writing styles. Ancient writing styles can differ considerably from the kinds of writing we are accustomed to today.

A major problem that we all encounter are our own biases and preconceptions. As hard as we may try, it is very difficult to not view the Bible in light of our own prejudices, misconceptions and modern experiences. It is very probable that at some point, all of us will misconstrue a Bible teaching due to conjecture or a predisposition of what we think a particular passage can or cannot mean.

On the other hand, all that we need to know to have our sins taken away and to live daily as a good disciple are easily understood.

Read it every day

Just start reading and ask God for help. You will probably understand a good deal more than you think you will. As you learn more, you will find that many pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. Be patient and persistent; God will reward your efforts.