An overview of the Bible in less than 1000 words.
Gain insight into the broad sweep of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.
The Bible starts with the account of how God did His work of creation included in this is a lovely garden in which He placed a man and a woman; Adam and Eve, whom He had created. They were allowed to eat all of the fruit from the garden except the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil for if they did they would surely die. They did. And through the temptation of Satan, sin entered the world and they were immediately expelled from God’s presence and the process which would lead to physical death commenced.
However, God desired to have a close and intimate relationship with all mankind for God had cre-ated them in His image. He promised to re-establish this relationship through someone He would send; a Messiah, that is, God’s anointed One (Genesis 3:15). As the Bible unfolds, the nature of this person becomes clearer until He is finally revealed as Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son, at the commencement of the New Testament.
Populating the Earth
After Adam and Eve were expelled, they obeyed God’s direction to be fruitful and multiply and the population grew rapidly. The people became evil to such an extent that every inclination and thoughts of his heart was only evil all of the time (Genesis 6:5) and God brought on a worldwide flood which destroyed all land based creatures. Since Noah was the only righteous man, God saved him and his family and all of the animals on board the ark.
After the flood mankind multiplied and become prideful so God divided them by confusing their language (Genesis 11:7). As the population grew, God chose one man; Abraham through whom He would establish a people for Himself. Abraham’s son was Isaac and his son was Jacob who God renamed Israel and his descendants became known as The Children of Israel. God said He would bless and prosper these people if they kept His laws and worshipped only Him. This is basically the old covenant or testament.
The Nation of Israel
The book of Genesis ends with the Children of Israel, only about 70 people, going to Egypt for food and Jacob dying there. They increase in number dramatically with Jacob’s 12 sons giving rise to the 12 tribes of Israel (God had changed Jacob’s name to Israel) and when God called Moses to lead them out of Egypt 430 years later, they had grown into a nation of about two million people. Their wanderings in the desert during which time God gives them the laws by which they should live including the 10 commandments (Exodus 20) which are incorporated in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Joshua leads them into the Promised Land (Canaan) which they conquered and settled. Here the books of Joshua, Judges, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles describe how the people lived, their cycles of embracing and rejecting God and the role their kings played. During this period the kingdom is divided and after many warnings from God for their rejection of Him through the prophets, the Assyrians take the Northern Kingdom into captivity never to be heard of again. Two hundred and thirty six years later the Southern Kingdom known as Judah, hence its people were named Jews, is taken into captivity by the Babylonians. However, God through His prophets tells them it will only be for seventy years. After this time some of the people return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple which is described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
The prophets through whom God spoke are Isaiah, Jeremiah who wrote Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel, collectively known as the Major prophets because they wrote a lot and the Minor prophets, they wrote less, of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
The books of Ruth, Esther and Job tell particular stories of their times. Psalms are songs and Proverbs are wise sayings both mainly written by King David and his son King Solomon. Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs were written by King Solomon.
From the Old Testament to the New Testament
A period of four hundred years lapses between the Old Testament and New Testaments. The prophets mentioned above gave descriptive information about this future Person (Messiah) who will restore the relationship with mankind that God once had with Adam and Eve. Over sixty clear statements regarding this Person were all completely fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
The New Testament starts with the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which describe Jesus’ birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection. The book of Acts commences with Jesus’ ascension back to heaven, the birth of the church and how the gospel message (good news) was taken to the then known world. The apostle Paul started many churches and wrote the books of Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.
The author of Hebrews is unknown and James, the brother of Jesus wrote the book bearing his name, Peter wrote the books of 1&2 Peter and John wrote 1, 2&3 John as well as the Revelation and his gospel, already mentioned, and another brother of Jesus wrote Jude. The last book, The Revelation, gives an account of what will happen in the future and is written in a dramatic style.
A New Covenant
The New Testament or covenant replaces the former or old one to the extent that it brings in a new relationship between God and mankind. In the New Testament, God does not require anything from mankind except to believe in Jesus and His payment, through His death on the cross, for the forgiveness of sins (John 3:16) for a person to have that original relationship with God re-stored and to be with Him for all eternity.