Monday, August 3, 2009



“Grandma, why doesn’t my Bible, the one with gold-edged pages, look like your Bible? Yours is big and thick with really thin pages. Mine is easy reading. Yours has complicated words.”

“The Bible Storybook I gave you on your baptism day is not really a word-for-word Bible. It has many stories retold from the Bible with pictures that an artist imagined in his mind would go with the stories. Mine is a copy of the real Bible with the words translated into English from the earliest manuscripts in which it was written.”

“Is that a real picture of God in the first story about Adam and Eve in my Storybook? The man with gray hair and a long beard in a white gown sort of floating out of the sky?”

“No. God isn’t a man so he doesn’t look like a person. God is a spirit and no one has ever seen him so no one can take his picture. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t real. God is the most real thing in the whole universe.”

“Who created him?”

“No one. God always was and always will be. That’s what we mean when we say God is eternal. He existed before anything else and created everything that is anywhere.”

“You said that the Bible is God’s word. How did he write it? What language did he use?”

“The Bible is the Word of God in human words. Some of it was written in Hebrew, some in Aramaic, and Greek. It was written by dozens of people over more than a thousand years. It is like a whole library of books, but it is also one book, with one Author—God—telling one story about how God revealed himself to mankind.”

“Did God dictate the words in the Bible to the human authors?”

“No, Jeffrey, God made use of their individual skills and styles and literary techniques and inspired them to put God’s thoughts into human words. God acted in the people and through them to reveal all that he wanted people to know.”

“I guess not all the stories in your big Bible are in my Storybook.”

“You’re right. The writer who selected the stories picked some important events and characters to show the whole plan God had from the beginning of the world to save people on the earth so they could be with him in heaven forever. Part of the Bible is about what happened in that certain part of the world in the thousands of years before Jesus was born. The last part is about Jesus and how God worked miracles and healings through him and how he was put to death by the people who wouldn’t accept him as God’s son.”

“In what part of the world did all those things in the Bible take place?”

“Some of the ancient countries way back then had different names like Persia or Babylon which are modern day Iran and Iraq, but some still have the same like Israel and Egypt and Lebanon. The Bible events took place in the countries of the Near East and North Africa and Northward to Italy, Greece, and parts of what is now Europe. Of course this was long before America was discovered.”

“You said God explained his plan to save the world to ‘God’s people’. Who were ‘God’s people’?”

“God picked out one ethnic culture, the Jewish people, to show his plan of salvation in the beginning and keep them separate from some of the wicked countries around them. But with the coming of Jesus, his plan included all the peoples of the world, which was God’s original intention from the time he created mankind. Jesus gave his life so that all the world’s people could be offered salvation and the forgiveness of sins.”

“In the front of my Bible Storybook it says the stories are divided up into Old Testament and New Testament. What does “testament” mean?”

“That’s an old English word that means “covenant” or a solemn agreement between families, groups of people, or nations. The way the word is used here means an agreement between God and his people at certain stages of their learning.”

“What’s the Old Testament mostly about?”

“There are four main divisions: THE LAW tells about the beginnings of everything and the Ten Commandments and rules for life and worship in those ancient times; HISTORY tells about the Jewish people and their wars and conquests and kingdoms; the WISDOM books are moral instructions and personal virtues; PROPHECY is a record of God’s judgment on those who do wrong and his promised blessings on those who follow God’s ways.”

“Whew! That is a lot to remember! Can we wait and learn what’s in the New Testament next time? I’d like to know how anybody figured out what, out of all the many other things people wrote, should be put in the Bible….”

“Yes, let’s wait. You can’t learn everything all in one day, Jeffrey. The New Testament is really exciting about the life of Jesus and the story of the beginning of the Church.”


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