What is the Bible? (Message Outline)

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The response to the first two weeks of the series, “The Bible: Understanding the Best-Selling Book of all Time” has been overwhelming. So many people attending have requested outlines of the messages to assist in note taking, considering the amount of information presented within the weekend worship services.

These notes are not verbatim transcripts of the messages that have been presented. We are simply posting them as a note-taking aid for those that wish to utilize them. These notes are not offered as academic writings, but merely as outlines of the messages presented.

If you would like to see the message in its entirety, you can find it at:

The first week of the series was titled, “What is the Bible?” As you can probably imagine, it is impossible to answer this question comprehensively. This message attempts to answer some of the top questions people ask about the Bible and explore some important statements and questions about the Bible. We hope these notes are helpful to you during the series!

What is the Bible?
The Bible is a gift from God to us.

General revelation – Romans 1 says you can see something visible to understand our invisible God. Revelation about God through creation…when you see the mountains, when you see the ocean, or when you see a baby being born.

Specific revelation – This is the Bible. We have the word of God.

The Word of God as a person – Jesus Christ
John 1: 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Later in verse 14 he says, “The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John is talking about Jesus as the Word of God. So, in the person of Jesus he is communicating to us the nature and the character of God.

The Word of God as Scripture
2 Timothy 3: 16-17 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The Word of God as Christian preaching
1 Peter 1: 20-21 says, “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

The Bible is not a book. It is literally books (66 books).

  • Old Testament – This is the Hebrew Bible also called the first testament. The first testament or covenant between God and Abraham.
  • New Testament – This is the second testament. This is a covenant between God and humanity.

The Old Testament: 39 books

  • Law (Genesis – Deuteronomy)
    • These contain the law…this is also referred to as the Torah.
  • Historical (Joshua – Esther)
    • This is the history of the Nation of Israel.
  • Wisdom (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon)
  • Prophecy (Major: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel / Minor: Hosea-Malachi)
    • These are divided up into two sections, the Major Prophets (4) and the Minor Prophets (12). The distinction is based on the length and scope of the manuscripts.

The New Testament: 27 books

  • The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
    • These are the first four books of the New Testament that focus on the teachings of Jesus and the four eyewitness accounts about Jesus.
  • History (Acts)
    • The book of Acts talks about the history of the early church.
  • Pauline Epistles (Romans – Philemon)
    • Literally letters.
  • General letters (Hebrews – Jude)
  • Apocalyptic (Revelation)

 When was the Bible written?

  • The writing of the Bible spanned almost 1600 years by 40 different authors.
  • We believe that Genesis was written around 1445-1405 B.C. and the last book of the New Testament (Revelation) was written about 90 A.D.
  • The Bible was not written in chronological order.
  • Many believe Job to be the oldest book in the Old Testament and that the earliest book to be penned in the New Testament was either James or Galatians around 45-50 A.D.

How did we get the Bible?
Who wrote the bible? Did God write the Bible? Did people write the Bible?
Yes. The Bible is an example of dual authorship. There is a divine/human nature of God. Jesus was fully divine (fully God) and He was fully human. The Bible has the divine/human authorship of Scripture. God uses men to communicate his word. 2 Timothy 3: 16, tells us that God breathed Scripture, but he didn’t dictate the words to these men.

How can it be both?

  • Revelation – It is a vertical action. God communicates truth to humans so they can relate properly to God.
  • Inspiration – This is a horizontal action. Through the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the scripture writers, humans can communicate God’s truth to each other.

The Bible was written in three different languages:

  • The Old Testament was written in Hebrew
  • The New Testament was written in Greek
  • They both have some Aramaic

When were chapters and verses added?
The Geneva Bible in 1560 was the first time the English Old and New Testament were broken down into chapters and verses.

What is the best English version of the Bible?
The best Bible is the one you read. We would suggest the NIV, ESV, NKJV or the NASV. They are all great translations. Hillside is not the kind of church that promotes that there is only one version of the Bible that a person should read. Whatever Bible you possess, just make sure that you read it and apply it to your life.


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