The Bible: A Table of Contents
The Bible - A Table Of Contents
Is the Bible puzzling to you? As you skip around in it reading verses here and there, do you get confused? Have you ever wondered how the various parts fits together?
Many people have difficulty in understanding the Bible because they do not understand how it is organized. Like any other book there is a logical arrangement to its contents. Here is a brief description of how the Bible is arranged and the purpose of each part.
THE BIBLE - AN OVERVIEW
The Bible contains a collection of books that were written over several hundreds of years. Throughout these many books, there is developed one unifying theme - the plan of God to save mankind from sin. The Bible in essence is an explanation of the relationship between God and mankind. It tells us about two basic facts concerning this relationship:
- Man has damaged his relationship with God by disobeying his Creator.
- God has planned a way for the relationship with man to be healed.
THE BIBLE - THE TWO MAIN SECTIONS
SECTION #1: OLD TESTAMENT
The first part of the Bible explains how that man and God's relationship has been damaged by man's sin. It then tells of God unfolding His plan to solve this problem through a specially chosen race of people. The Old Testament can be divided into four parts.
Part One: ''The Forming Or the Hebrew Nation" (Genesis - Deuteronomy)
The creation and the fall of man into sin are the first events recorded in the Bible. The Scriptures then set out to explain how that God formed a great nation of people called the Hebrews or Israelites. He makes a covenant or agreement with them to be their God if they will obey Him.
Part Two: "The Rise and Fall of the Hebrews" (Joshua - Esther)
The Hebrew nation, called Israel, settles into a homeland and becomes a world power with the blessings of God. Yet, they disobey the commands of God, especially by practicing idolatry. As punishment for their rebellion, part of the Hebrew race is completely destroyed by their enemies while a remnant of them are taken away as slaves. As Old Testament history ends, a small band of Hebrews or Jews return to their homeland from captivity.
Part Three: "The Poetry of the Hebrews" (Job - Song of Solomon)
This is a collection of poetic literature that speaks of man's struggles and joys with life, with his fellow man, and with his God.
Part Four: "The Prophecies of the Hebrews" (Isaiah - Malachi)
These books contain the messages of a collection of preachers that condemned sin and warned of the judgment of God. Most of them worked among the Hebrews but a few preached to other nations. Found throughout these books are references to God's plan to save all people by providing a Savior.
SECTION #2: NEW TESTAMENT
This section of the Bible describes the climax of God's plan to save mankind. It is the record of God sending His Son, Jesus Christ, through the Hebrew people to live on earth and die for the sins of the entire human race. It also contains the history of Christ's first followers and instructions for all who would desire to be a follower of God's Son. It can be divided into three parts.
Part One: "The Biographies of Jesus Christ" (Matthew - John)
These four books are independent yet harmonious accounts of the birth, life, teachings, deeds, miracles, death, and resurrection of the Son of God as He lived as a man.
Part Two: "The History of the First Christians" (Acts)
This book is the record of the early followers of Christ. It traces the establishment and growth of the church that Christ founded.
Part Three: "The Letters" (Romans - Revelation)
This. final part contains a collection of letters written to churches and to individual Christians. They include information, encouragement, and instructions that are needed by Christians of any time period.
Understanding that there is a central theme running throughout the Bible makes it much easier to understand. That theme is that God has planned, since the foundation of the world, to provide His Son to be the Savior of mankind. Jesus Himself commented on this in Luke 24:44-45 "Then He said to them, 'These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.' And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."