The sacred Bible
The Bible stories contain a common thread. God creates a perfect world for humans.
The Bible is the sacred text for both Judaism and Christianity, also held in high esteem by Islam. Believers in the Bible consider it to be written under the guidance of God’s spirit. The Bible is a collection of texts. Many people think of the Bible as just the teachings of Jesus Christ. In reality, the Bible was in existence in some form even before Christ and was a big influence on him. It is called the ‘Old Testament’ while the scriptures created after the rise of Christianity are called the ‘New Testament.’
About three-fourths of the Bible is the Old Testament. This is similar to the Hebrew Bible. It consists of 39 books starting with Genesis—origins of the world. These were written over roughly a thousand years. The Old Testament is grouped into four sections—The Pentateuch or the first five books, the History, the Poetry, and the Prophets. In the Hebrew Bible, these texts have the same content, but are organised into three parts collectively called the Tanakh, based on the initial letters of the titles, which are: Torah (teachings), Nevi’im (prophets), and Ketuyim (writings).
The authors of the Old Testament have been called scribes or prophets. Some are known by names such as Moses or David, but most remain unknown.
About one-fourth of the Bible is the New Testament. It consists of 27 books written over 30-40 years by the first generation of Jesus’s followers. The New Testament starts with four books called ‘The Gospels’ that tell the story of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In the fifth book, ‘The Acts of Apostles’, Jesus instructs his followers, called the apostles, to spread his message.
The 13 books called ‘Letters from the Apostles’ are instructions to the local communities of Jesus’s followers called churches. The last book called ‘The Revelation’ is a letter to seven churches that includes prophetic visions, which culminate in the second coming of Jesus.
The Bible stories contain a common thread. God creates a perfect world for humans. The humans foolishly give in to temptation and rebel against God’s wisdom. They are exiled into a wilderness where they start killing each other. They build cities and oppress their fellow men. God calls the humans out of this evil city and builds a new world for them. The humans repeat their mistakes again.
This cycle goes on until the promised messiah arrives. There exist innumerable editions of the Bible, but the most famous one is the ‘King James Bible’. When the Gutenberg press was invented, the Bible was the earliest major book to be published. With more than five billion copies sold, it is the best-selling publication of all time.