To impress the necessity of the title upon the reader, once again this meaningful statement is fitting: "It is impossible to obey God if one doesn't know what He says!" When you place this fact alongside the plain scripture found in Hebrews 11:6, there should be no question concerning the above title.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)
These statements cover the needs of salvation: Faith (belief) and obedience. Faith does not mean a belief without knowing and understanding God and His word. A vague idea is inadequate. So, it is vitally important that we learn the story which is laid out in the Old and New Testaments, as well as the facts concerning that story. It is not possible to give all of this in one article, however, our efforts will be given towards a 'synopsis' of them which can aid the student in reading and understanding the scriptures themselves.
The Bible, including the Old and New Testaments, contains the revelation of God to his creation, the creation itself and periods following the creation. All the periods combined were to bring about God's plan to furnish mankind a means of gaining forgiveness for his sins. God knew in advance that man would sin and there was no possible way that he could cleanse himself from those sins. A sinless life offered for all mankind was the only solution.
For a period of some 1650 years after the creation, the world population grew rapidly. This period of time was a part of what is referred to as the Patriarchal dispensation where the law of God was given to the heads of households and they were to pass the laws on to their offspring. But during this period, man had strayed so far from God that only eight souls could be found worthy of saving and God destroyed the inhabitants with a global flood, with the exception of Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives.
After the flood, God charged Noah that he and his family must replenish the earth. The did indeed scatter themselves widely and the world population again grew, and once again left following after God and worshipped idols. A just man named Abraham found favor in God's sight and He chose him to be the father of those who would furnish the lineage to the coming messiah. Through his son Isaac and Isaac's son Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel, came the twelve sons which would become the twelve tribes of Israel, or the Israelite nation...the Jews. This nation became subjects of Egypt for a number of years and finally God miraculously freed them.
Some 900 years after the flood, God gave the Israelites the Old Testament law through Moses. The law was intended only for the descendents of Jacob, the Jews, and remained so throughout their generations. A relative small number of other people were accepted as proselytes into the law. God promised his watch care over the Israelites so long as they obeyed and worshipped him according to His law. But they also were led astray time after time. He accepted their cries of repentance after misfortune beset them and rescued them a number of times but eventually they were taken into captivity but not totally destroyed until Jesus came and brought the perfect law of Liberty to all mankind. This ushered in the Christian age and the Jewish age was totally destroyed when Jesus returned in the form of the Roman army and demolished Jerusalem and the Jewish temple along with all their records.
The remainder of the Bible is a record of the teachings of Jesus and his inspired writers, laying out the requirements of living the Christian life. It is each Christians responsibility to study God's word and strive to live according to its dictates. The last books of the New Testament were written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Now to cover some of the imperative facts described for us in the New Testament. Although atheists, agnostics and other such men who have denied that the Bible is the word of God since it was written, none have been able to present one item from the early manuscripts as being inaccurate. Not one, even though they had made many hundreds of accusations. No other book has ever been able to withstand such scrutiny.
Its accuracy and extraordinary harmony and compatibility with the different writers are far too great to be considered coincidence or to have involved complicity. It was written
over a period of time of about 1500 years, 66 writings by approximately 40 different men, most of whom did not know each other. It was also written from three different continents, Asia, Africa and Europe.
One of the prime differences in the Holy Bible and any other book, religious or otherwise, is that the Bible claims to be the words of God Himself...inspired of God through His chosen men to whom He gave inspiration. None of the other religious books claim to be the inspired word of God. The writers of the books of the Bible claim over 2500 times that they are inspired of God. The claim that the scriptures are the word of God, is found some 3800 times. (Stats from Bible Charts.Org) One of the primary criteria of the ancient writings to be added to the biblical canon was that they claim inspiration.
Often the atheists, skeptics will make the remark that, "Anyone could write a Bible." The fact of the matter is, no one could write a Bible, nor could any group of writers write a Bible even partially comparable to the Holy Bible. If they could have done so, they surely would have attempted to do it. It has consistently been the world wide best seller of all books since it was first printed and continues to be so today. It is read and re-read by millions ever day and is taught in many thousands of meeting houses of Christian weekly. No, no one can write something even to feebly compare to this great and everlasting book which has suffered defamation since its beginning, efforts to have it destroyed from the face of the earth, and more. Yet it increases in popularity. Jesus rightfully prophesied concerning his words:
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”. (Matthew 24:34 KJV)