The Bible is the account of God’s action in the world, and his purpose with all creation. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty human authors. It is quite an amazing collection of 66 books with very different styles, all containing the message God desired us to have.
This compilation of booklets contains an astonishing variety of literary styles. It provides many stories about the lives of good and bad people, about battles and journeys, about the life of Jesus, and about early church activity. It comes to us in narratives and dialogues, in proverbs and parables, in songs and allegories, in history and prophecy.
The accounts in the Bible were not generally written down as they occurred. Rather they were told over and over again and handed down through the years, before eventually being written down. Yet the same themes may be found throughout the book. Along with the diversity, there is also remarkable unity throughout.
So what is the Bible? Well, in addition to all the above, the Bible is:
- A guide for living life to the full. It gives us a road map for the perilous journey of life. Or to put it another way, on our voyage through life’s ocean, the Bible is an anchor.
- A storehouse of wonderful stories for children and grownups. Remember Noah and the ark? Joseph’s coat of many colors? Daniel in the lion’s den? Jonah and the fish? The parables of Jesus? These stories emphasize the triumphs and failures of ordinary people.
- A refuge in trouble. People in pain, in suffering, in prison, and in mourning tell how turning to the Bible brought strength in their desperate hour.
- A treasury of insight as to who we are. We are not meaningless robots, but we are magnificent creatures of a God who loves us and gives us a purpose and a destiny.
- A sourcebook for everyday living. We find standards for our conduct, guidelines for knowing right from wrong, and principles to help us in a confused society where so often “anything goes.”