Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out




  The Bible
•   The Basics
•   The Old Testament
•   The New Testament
•   Using the Bible
•   Interpreting the Bible
•   Summary
               The Basics
• The Bible is made up of two sections – the
  Old Testament and the New Testament.
• It is a collection of books – a bit like a
• There are 39 books in the Old Testament
  (54 books in the Catholic Old Testament).
• There are 27 books in the New Testament.
            The Old Testament
• The Old Testament is about the Jews and contains
  their beliefs about God and the religion, their
  history and their hopes for the future.
• It has several different types of books:
   – Law e.g. Exodus
   – History e.g. Judges
   – Prophecy – the major prophets e.g. Isaiah and the minor
     prophets e.g. Amos
   – The Writings e.g. Psalms
         The Old Testament
• Christians believe that the Old Testament
  pointed towards the coming of the Messiah
  (anointed one) – Jesus.
• In Roman Catholic Bibles there are extra
  books called the Apocrypha.
           The New Testament
• Christians believe the New Testament is a fulfilment
  of the hopes that are found in the Old Testament.
• There are four different types of books:
   – The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that tell
     about the life of Jesus. ‘Gospel’ means ‘good news’.
   – One history book, Acts, which tells of the first Christians
     and the growth of the Church.
   – The Letters (or Epistles) which were written by St Paul and
     some other early Christians. They help Christians know
     how to live their lives.
   – Revelation, the last book of the Bible is a book of prophecy
     about the end of time.
               Using the Bible
• Christians use the Bible in many different ways,
  for example:
   – To give inspiration, perhaps through praying using
     Bible passages, either alone or with a group.
   – To look for God’s help and to find out how we should
     live our lives, perhaps through Bible Studies.
   – In church services the sermon is usually based on Bible
     passages in some way.
   – The Bible helps Christians to feel part of the wider
     Christian community.
   – The Eucharist and the Lord’s Prayer are both found in
     the Bible.
        Interpreting the Bible
• All Christians believe that the Bible is the
  Word of God in some way. This is why for
  all Christians, the Bible has authority.
• 2 Timothy 3:16 ‘All Scripture is inspired by
• They hope to read the Bible and to hear (in
  some way) the voice of God within it.
• Literalists believe that it is word for word the
  word of God and must be taken literally in all
   – This means that the Bible cannot contain any mistakes.
     Everything in it is true.
   – In some way it was God that wrote the Bible, not
   – If the Bible seems to contradict itself, there must be
     some reason for this.
   – If the Bible seems to contradict science, then scientists
     must be wrong. For example fundamentalists believe
     that the world was created in six days and that Adam
     and Eve were the first humans.
• Fundamentalists are very similar to
  literalists, but they believe that we can
  interpret the words a bit.
  – All the Bible was directly inspired by God and
    so cannot contain errors.
  – The Genesis story is correct, but the word for
    ‘day’ might mean ‘a period of time’.
• Conservatives believe that the Bible is inspired by
  God but written by human writers.
   – It is God’s message in human words.
   – Some of the personal beliefs and interests of the writers
     has come into their books.
   – The Bible is not a science book – there is no problem in
     believing in evolution and seeing the creation story in
     Genesis as poetic.
   – Conservatives look for truths in the message of the
     Bible. Some of these are that God created the world,
     spoke through the prophets, came to earth in Jesus, who
     died and rose from the dead and so on.
• Liberals believe that the writers of the Bible were
  inspired like any good writer.
   – The Bible contains spiritual truths not literal truths.
   – The Bible can help people to come closer to God in
     some way because the writers are sharing their
     experiences of God in some way.
   – Many parts of the Bible are symbolic and poetic.
   – There is a big range of beliefs among liberals.
   – For example, some may believe all Jesus’ miracles are
     symbolic – others may believe that the healing ones
     happened, but things like the walking on water did not.
• The Bible is made up of the Old Testament and the New
  Testament: each has a variety of different types of book.
• The Bible is a central part of Christian worship.
• The Bible has authority for all Christians.
• Literalists believe the words of the Bible are to be taken
• Fundamentalists believe the Bible cannot contain any
• Conservatives believe the Bible is inspired but written by
• Liberals believe the Bible needs to be interpreted in ways
  that are relevant to our personal lives.

To top