One of the easiest and most practical places to start when it comes to understanding what the Bible is about is this:
It is one big book… made up of lots of other books.
In all… there are 66 smaller books, compiled in thousands of pages to make the one book, we call the Bible.
It was written over a period of some 1,500 years, from around 1450 BC when the ‘teaching’ of a guy named Moses were gathered into one place… to about 100 AD… about 70 years after Jesus past on.
During that whole time, over 40 authors contributed stories, poems, histories, family trees, letters, and prophecies. These writers came from all walks of life…
Many of the individual books in the Bible that made it into the final compilation weren’t even written down immediately. Back then, the main method of the communication of ‘stories’ was through orally passing them from one generation to the next. Meaning: sitting around together and telling stories.
Eventually somebody wrote it down.
These people came from a part of the world today called The Middle East… where English was not the main language. These people spoke Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek. They didn’t have the internet, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Wikipedia. They didn’t have keyboards to type on… they had word of mouth, scrolls, rocks and chisels…
And that is one of my main points when it comes to the Bible… somebody wrote something down.
Truth be told… even though the youngest book in the Bible was written around 100AD… it was a couple hundred years after that, that the final collection of books that we can get our hands on today, was officially compiled a couple hundred years after that.
So… somebody wrote something down… and then somebody (or somebodies) got their hands in the mix to decide which books were in… and which books were out.
And then… to confuse matters even more… if you were to go to a bookstore that sells Bibles today, you would find that there are a whole plethora of different ‘translations’… just in the english language (remember that it was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). So… what that means is that after the final collection of books that make up the Bible was put in place… the right English words had to be figured out that would best relate the message of a culture that existed some 2000+ years ago… so we could begin to understand what it says. To date, there are over 100 different version just in english.
Well… english isn’t the only language spoken on the planet today… so guess what?
More ‘somebodies’ are needed to get their hands in the mix to translate this collection of book into other languages… so that everyone can have a chance to have the Bible accessible to them.
Over 2,800 languages around the world have at least a start in having the Bible readable to their culture. Of these, 513 have a complete Bible, another 1,294 have the New Testament. 1,010 others have at least one book of the Bible.
I could go on and on about some of the complexities at play here… but I won’t.
It’s a big book… and it’s made a big impact.
People have been a part of it for thousands of years… whether it was in the form of sitting around the fire and listening to its stories… or actually writing it all down so that others may read it…
People have been a part of telling the story of God’s relationship to everything and everybody…
Which raises some interesting questions: If the Bible is the story of God’s relationship to everything and everybody… are God’s hands in the mix of what the Bible is, and how it came to be? How should we read the Bible so that we can accurately know what this relationship looks like? What does God want us to know about… God?
We’ll start to unpack that later.