The Bible

The Bible is a central source of authority for all Christian and reveals many important teachings. Christians often turn to the Bible to seek guidance and understand the history of their faith.

The Bible is a collection of books. There are 37 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.

Nature of the Bible

The first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament, which begins with God’s Creation of the universe and humanity. The Old Testament was written before the incarnation of Jesus. It begins with the five Books of God’s Law, which Jewish people call the Torah. These books are believed to contain the laws God sent to the Jewish people via Moses. The Old Testament, as a whole, describes the history of the Jewish people prior to Jesus.

The second part of the Bible is called the New Testament. It opens with the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) which describe the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. At the very start of the New Testament is Matthew’s description of the birth of Jesus. Following on from the gospels is the book called the Acts of the Apostles (sometimes just referred to as ‘Acts’). The New Testament also contains the letters of the early Church leaders to the early Christians, such as St Paul’s letters. It ends with the Book of Revelation, which tells Christians about the end of the world.

Role of the Bible

This stained-glass window in Saint Gummarus Church in Belgium depicts the Sermon on the Mount

  • The Bible records the teachings of Jesus during his life. These teachings give Christians guidance and instructions on how to live their life. The Sermon on the Mount is an example of a collection of such teachings.
  • The Bible tells Christians about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. All of these events have significance, and in particular they are linked to the idea of salvation.
  • Christianity teaches that it is through Jesus’ life and death that humans can be saved from sin. The Old Testament contains the Ten Commandments, which are believed to be instructions sent directly from God that tell humans how to live.

Significance of the Bible

  • The Bible shows Christians what God is like. This is important for Christians in building a relationship with God.
  • The Bible can play an important part in worship both in private and public settings.
  • In private worship, people can use the Bible to seek guidance on how to manage problems in their life.
  • In public worship, the Bible brings people together and creates a sense of community and shared practice.