Posted on Mar 06, 2024 by Mike LeDuke Next article:The Apocrypha

A Book Unlike Any Other

Can you imagine reading a book that was over one thousand pages, written over multiple centuries, by numerous authors, and yet that still held together perfectly? The idea would almost seem to be a dream. How is it that all of these disparate contexts and writings could fit together to tell a unified story? How could these authors and books offer a central message?

But it’s true. The Bible is unlike any other book. It spans many generations, is filled with a multitude of genres, and, without fail, continually directs its readers to the same God, presents the same hope, and details the same gospel, from the very beginning to the end. In this series of posts, we’ll do some exploring of the Bible in order to understand what it is, and what it claims about itself.

First, let’s take the overall picture of the Bible and break it down into some more manageable chunks. The Bible will look different for someone, depending on what religion they follow. Therefore, before one can understand the Bible, they have to understand what Bible they are specifically considering. For Protestant Christians, the Bible has two parts: the “Old Testament,” which is simply older in time (hence the name), and the “New Testament,” which is not as old. The two names can sometimes be misunderstood; Christians will sometimes approach the Old Testament as though “old” means that the Old Testament isn’t as good or is outdated and no longer useful (thus, in some Christian circles, the Old Testament is rarely read). This is a mistake. Even the New Testament itself urges its readers to read the Old Testament: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16,17). When Paul wrote these words, the only “Scripture” in existence was the Old Testament. Thus, the Old Testament, just like the New Testament, had power to change lives. These two halves come together to form the Protestant canon.

Nevertheless, for other Christians, such as Catholics and Orthodox, the Bible has an additional piece. While it might sound surprising that Christians don’t actually agree on what books are in the Bible, this knowledge is helpful because it allows one to have a much fuller sense of the differences between Christian groups. Therefore, in our next post, we’ll take a look at that third portion that Catholics and Orthodox see as canonical, and we’ll attempt to understand why it is that Protestants do not.

— Jason Hensley, PhD