What Does the Bible Say About Itself?

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series What Does the Bible Say...

What does the Bible have to say about itself? What does the Bible call itself inside it’s pages? Who wrote the Bible? What are the divisions of the Bible? These are some of the many questions I will be answering today.

According to the Bible, the Bible is called the Holy Scriptures (found in 2 Timothy 3:15) or just the Scriptures (found in John 5:39). The word of God is the spoken word of the Lord, and not the written accounts of how God has interacted with His people over the centuries. This is an important distinction that we should remember. Our word Bible comes from the Greek Biblion which means “book” and it is the book of the church, however, it is never referred to as such inside the pages of the Scriptures.

By the time of Jesus, the Old Testament was pretty much accepted the way we have it today. Jesus often referred to the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament as the “Law and Prophets”, even though it also included books of history and poetry.

The New Testament was not finalized until the Council of Rome in 382 AD (though other denominations took less or more time to accept the books) and multiple factors were used to decide which writings were to be accepted and which were to be rejected from the Scriptures. It has the following divisions: The Gospels, History of the Church, Letters of Paul, Letters of Others, and Prophecy. Altogether there are twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

The writers of the Bible were men who were moved (or God-breathed) by the Holy Spirit to write what they did (Hebrews 1:1-2 and 2 Timothy 3:16). God protected the Scriptures from false doctrine and error, but did not dictate every single word in the Bible. Some of the material was already written (the genealogies of Jesus in the books of Matthew and Luke) and some was edited (Proverbs of Solomon by the men of Hezekiah according to Proverbs 25:1). There are also differing accounts of the same episode, like what was written on the sign above Christ’s head on the cross.

The Holy Scriptures are useful for the following according to Second Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Later in the fourth chapter of the same letter, Paul encourages Timothy (and us today) to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” Clearly the Scriptures are not out-dated today even though many may say they are. They may be out of season but they are still the written account of what God has done and said and His instructions to live a life worthy of our calling.

In concluding this lesson, let us remember the key fact that the Scriptures are just as valid today as they were when they were first written. May we learn more about our God and the plans He has for our lives today.