The Bible: A Book of Books by One Divine Author

“The Bible is a diverse collection of different writings.  It contains sixty-six books written by about forty human authors over nearly 2,000 years.  It has two main sections (Old Testament and New Testament) written in two main languages (Hebrew and Greek, respectively), and includes a mixture of types of literature.  Although the Bible contains a great variety of material, written by many human authors over a long period of time, it holds together as a unity.  Fundamentally, it is just one book written by one author with one main subject.  …  Christians should have no qualms about accepting that the Bible was written by people.  Its books were written by a variety of authors at different times in history and bear the marks of the personalities and eras that produced them.  But God ensured by his Spirit that everything they wrote was exactly what he wanted them to write. … It is God’s Word: he is the ultimate author. The Bible obviously covers a great deal of ground.  But there is one supreme subject that binds it all together: Jesus Christ and the salvation God offers through him.  That is true not just of the New Testament but of the Old as well.  Jesus, speaing of the Old Testament, said, ‘These are the Scriptures that testify about me’ (John 5:39).  …  Many Christians have an idea that God decided to send Jesus to earth only after his first plan failed; his original idea (Plan A) was to give people an opportunity to become his people by obeying his law.  But they failed, so he scratched his head and came up with another idea (Plan B): to save people by grace through the death of Jesus.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  God had always planned to send Jesus.  The whole Bible points to him from beginning to end.  In the Old Testament, God points forward to him and promises his coming in the future.  In the New Testament, God proclaims him to be the one who fulfills all those promises. … The fact that the Bible is one book should have big implications for the way we read it. … With the exception of some of the Proverbs, the Bible does not contain isolated sayings.  I should be wary about dipping into it at random and extracting individual verses without any regard for their context.  I am almost bound to misunderstand the Bible if I read it that way.  Each verse needs to be understood in the context of the chapter in which it appears, and each chapter in light of the book as a whole.  And there is a wider context we must consider as well:  the whole Bible.”

— Vaughan Roberts, God’s Big Picture, InterVarsity Press, 2002, selections form pp 14-18.

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