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Bible FAQs

What is the purpose of the Bible?

To tell the story of God’s interactions with humanity. A history lesson which includes history not yet written but predicted. It is one continuous story of how God grants access by man to Himself. The one theme throughout is the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. His magnificence and wonder can be seen in every book as we see the redemption of mankind unfold.

Reference – Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible Copyright @ 1984 by Oxford University press

How many books are there in the Bible?


39 – Old Testament

27 – New Testament 

When was the Bible written?

Genesis @ 1450 BC. To Revelation @ 95 AD Span of @ 1545 years with an over 400 year gap between the last book of Old Testament (Malachi) & first book of New Testament (Matthew)

Who wrote the Bible?

40+ authors representing various occupations – prince, soldier, priest, farmers – both rich & poor, fishermen, prime minister, scribe, king, cup bearer, prophet, tent maker, tax collector, physician, carpenters and many more. They were all inspired by the Holy Spirit.

What language was the Bible written in?

Hebrew (Old Testament), Aramaic (parts of Ezra, Daniel, and Jeremiah), Greek (New Testament)

How is the Bible organized?

Old & New Testament

Old (39)

Law – (5) Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

History – (12) Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

Poetry –(5) Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

Prophecy – (17)

Major prophets- (5) Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezekiel

Minor prophets- (12) Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

New (27)

Gospels (4)         Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

Early Church (6) Acts, Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians

Epistles (17)    Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Philemon, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, 1 & 2 Peter, James, Hebrews, Jude, 1,2 & 3 John, Revelation

What was the Bible written on?

Whatever object was in use at the time the author wrote it – stone, metal, pottery, wood, tile, vellum, parchment, leather, and papyrus.

How did we get God’s Word? What steps did it take?
  • Revelation –      God revealed facts and truths that they could not otherwise know. God to man. By Hearing
  • Inspiration –     God assures His oral revelations are accurately written down. Man to paper. By the hand
  • Illumination –  God sheds light and understanding upon all who read His Divine Word. Paper to human understanding. Involves the heart.
  • Canonization – Process where God determined the inspired manuscripts would be included in the 66 books of the Bible
  • Preservation – Process where God has worked providentially to keep intact His holy Word.

Reference – Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible Copyright@2011 Tyndale House publishers 

Can we trust Bible translations?


  • The original texts were lost BUT we have overwhelming evidence the texts we have represent accurate copies.
  • There are many of both OT & NT Hebrew & Greek manuscript fragments. There are @ 5300 NT Greek manuscripts alone.
  • The work of scholars over the years put the accuracy at 99% or above.
  • Discovery of the dead Sea scrolls in 1947. Those scrolls dated back to 125 BC. Prior to that the oldest manuscript was from 900 AD. After comparing both, the conclusion was that there were no major differences between texts 1000 years apart. Wow
  • Early church fathers quoting of the NT over 36,000 times.
  • Most of the newer translations (NIV, NASB) actually use older manuscripts than the KJV since the writers of the KJV did not have access to the Dead Sea scrolls and other older manuscripts. The differences in the various translations are minute and do not alter the Gospel message. 

Reference – Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible Copyright@2011 Tyndale House publishers 

Is the Bible supernatural? Really written by God?

Yes.     Here are a few reasons to believe the supernatural claims.

  • Its amazing unity – among so many authors over 1500+ years
  • Its indestructibility
  • Its historical accuracy
  • Its scientific accuracy (every time a new discovery is made it validates the claims of the Bible)
  • Its prophetic accuracy
  • Its universal influence
  • Its care and copy
  • Its amazing circulation (still the #1 best seller of all time)
  • Its absolute honesty
  • Its life transforming power

Reference – Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible Copyright@2011 Tyndale House publishers 

Who can understand the Bible?

 There are many truths in the Bible that are self-evident and that anyone who reads can understand. Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Yet the main truth is spiritual and thus one must be spiritually reborn to fully understand.   One must have a

  • New heart (1 Cor 2:14)
  • Hungry heart (1 Pet 2:2)
  • Obedient heart (Ps 119:98-100)
  • Disciplined heart (Mt 7:7)
  • Teachable heart (Is 50:4)           

 Taken from “How to Understand the Bible”  T Norton Sterrett copyright 1974 by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship                           

Does God intend for the Bible to be understood?

    YES – He compares it to a light, lamp, mirror, seed, water, precious metal, milk, meat, bread, fire, hammer, and sword. His character does not allow Him to be a big cosmic tease. He would not have exhorted us to read and study if we could not fully understand. 

Why study the Bible?
  • God is the Author. We can read the actual words of God.
  • It has the answer to all of life’s questions.
  • Our enemy has read it.
  • We are commanded to by God.
  • We are doing God’s will by studying.
  • The example set by Jesus, Paul, and other Apostles.
  • It is the ultimate proof of our faith.
  • We can apply its principles to our lives and benefit ourselves and others greatly.

Reference – Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible Copyright@2011 Tyndale House publishers 

What are some general principles of Bible study?
  • The Bible is God’s infallible and inerrant Word.
  • The Bible can be understood in its translations.
  • The Bible is unified – there are no contradictions. The OT prepares for the NT and the NT fulfills the OT. Christ is the central theme of the entire Bible.
  • The Bible is its own interpreter.
  • The Bible language is mainly normal human language.
  • The Bible must be understood and accompanied by an obedient response. It’s not a book just to be read but lived.
  • The Bible is best understood through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Reference – How o Understand the Bible  T. Norton Sterrett  Copyright @1974 Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship

How do we get started studying the Bible?
  • KISS- Keep it Simple Socrates. Start simple. If starting out -plan to spend 15-20 minutes a day. Put down any distractions. Make an effort to go to a quiet place  
  • 1st day of month – Read John 1, Proverbs 1 and Psalms 1,31,61, 91 & 121. Then continue to read the corresponding chapters based upon the day of month. Key is to find a plan that works for you.  There are a multitude of reading plans available. Don’t overwhelm yourself so much that you stop reading day 3. If you do stop reading, pick it back up with no guilt. The very Bible you are reading claims Jesus’ forgiveness of our sins. Don’t stop reading due to guilt.
  • Pray before you read / study. Ask Holy Spirit for help and insight.
  • Read casually at first – like any other good book. Don’t feel like you must get every spiritual truth every time you read. I have read the same passages decades apart and gotten distinct truths each time. The Holy Spirit will bring to your mind what you need to hear that day.
  • To go further in depth – Read the same passage again and observe the passage you are reading.
    • Ask questions – what is literary form? Are there repeated words /phrases? Connecting words? Where does it take place? Is there any figurative language? Anything you don’t understand?
  • Take notes.
  • Think / pray and analyze them.
  • Apply the meaning of the passage in your own life.

Some items taken from

How To Understand the Bible  T. Norton Sterrett  Copyright @1974 Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship

What are some general rules of interpretation to guide us in our Bible study?
  • Context – Context – Context. No verse or phrase was ever meant to be understood all by itself. The Bible is a story meant to be understood by understanding its whole. We should not decide the meaning based upon just 1 verse. Some questions to ask – does it seem to contradict any other verses? What do you think it means based upon the chapter and book you are reading? Are there multiple meanings to same verse? Can the verse / passage be connected to any other verse / passage.
  • Interpret according to the correct meaning of the words. Words can change meaning over time. Interpret the meaning based upon the time frame it was written. The same words may have different meanings. Is it a literal or figurative meaning? Different words may also have the same meanings “fine” and “good”. Use a dictionary or concordance if necessary.
  • Interpret according to the grammar. Consult your English teacher for help if necessary. Recognize differences in nouns, verbs, tenses, etc…  be observant. Study the relation of the words to others around it.
  • Interpret according to the author’s purpose. Many authors plainly tell us why they are writing the book – 1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” Read and understand the verses in 1 John with 5:13 in mind.
  • Interpret in the light of the historical, geographical, and cultural background. Remember the Bible is HIS Story. It all takes place over time in different cultures and locations. An expression that is common today was probably not common over 2000 years ago.
  • Interpret each verse / passage considering the overall teaching of the Bible. One verse will never contradict another. This is where you can ask the Holy Spirit, a trusted pastor, friend, or a more mature Christian. Sometimes there can be confusing passages but they can be understood. Don’t give up because it doesn’t come easy. Feed yourself more than milk. There are still several passages that I still struggle to understand after decades of studying. Remember – just because we may not understand every detail – that does not mean there isn’t an answer. It may well be that we don’t get some answers until we get to heaven. God does not keep you out of glory until you fully understand.

Reference – How To Understand the Bible  T. Norton Sterrett  Copyright @1974 Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship

What does it take to “feed” on God’s Word?

     As babies we drank milk and gradually worked our way up to solid foods. The same can be said for Christians. We start by learning some of God’s promises or our Birthday Bible verses. Then we gradually learn more and more of God’s truths and apply it to our lives. As we mature and grow, we will need more and more truth to change us and to become more like Christ. It takes work and creativity, more than just letting someone else feed us. We need to become earnest seekers of God’s truth to be fed properly. We can listen to teachers and pastors, but we ultimately should allow the Holy Spirit to teach us as we read the Bible.

How in the world could this 1500 year novel have been written?

Taken directly from Wilmington’s Guide to Bible -page 691 –

   “Let us imagine a religious novel of 66 chapters that was begun by a single author around the 6th century AD. After the author had completed but 5 chapters he suddenly dies. But during the next 1000 years, up to the 16th century, around 30 amateur “freelance” writers felt compelled to contribute to this unfinished religious novel. Few of those authors shared anything in common. They were different races. They spoke different languages, lived at different times, in different countries, had totally different backgrounds and occupations, and wrote in different styles.

       Let us furthermore imagine that at the completion of the thirty-ninth chapter the writing for some reason suddenly stops. Not one word is therefore added from the sixteenth until the twentieth century. After this long delay it begins once again by eight new authors who add the final 27 chapters.

     With all this in mind, what would be the chances of this religious novel becoming a moral, scientific, prophetic, and historical unity? The answer is obvious – not one in a million. And yet this is the story of the Bible.”

Reference – Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible Copyright@2011 Tyndale House publishers