We wish to view the Bible in a manner which is often overlooked. We examine individual verses or passages of scripture. We examine topics from a collection of scriptures. We examine entire books of the Bible and all of these are needed for studies of God’s word, but we wish to back off and get a view of the Bible as a whole.
The word “Bible” is from a Greek word which can also be translated, “book”. Actually, in our commonly used Bibles of today, the Bible is a book made up of sixty-six individual books, written over the space of some fifteen hundred years by about forty different writers. Most of us are aware that the Bible is generally divided into two major sections, the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine of those books and the New Testament, containing the remaining twenty-seven books of the total sixty-six. The major thrust of the Bible is about God, man and the relationship that God wants man to have with Him. Every part of the Bible is somehow linked, either directly or indirectly to God’s desire to save man from sin through His Son, Jesus Christ. There is another way to view the book as a whole that we wish to expound upon in this article. This view contains three sections.
Section one is the entirety of the Old Testament. The message of that Old Testament is that the Christ or Messiah is coming. Many are the Old Testament prophecies that speak of the coming of the Messiah, the one who brings salvation to man. Just after sin entered into the world, God told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). From our view, this side of the cross, we can see this as a prophecy of the coming savior. Many years later the apostle Paul wrote, “Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy Scriptures, Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:2-4).
Section two is the first four books of our New Testament, usually called the four gospel accounts. The message of these books is that Jesus the Messiah has come. Jesus Himself pronounced this to be true. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, she “…saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:25-26). After first finding Jesus, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, “…findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ” (John 1:40-41). The miracles that He worked and the doctrine that He taught was all for the purpose of showing Himself to be the Son of God, the Christ that would bring them salvation. As John came near the close of his gospel account, he wrote, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31).
Section three is the remainder of the New Testament and the message of this section is that Jesus is coming again. Even as Jesus ascended into heaven, while the apostles stood looking steadfastly toward heaven, two men in white apparel said to them, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). The Hebrew writer said, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28). According to the apostle Paul, when He comes, He “…shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:7-9). Paul told Timothy that the Lord Jesus Christ would “…judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (II Tim. 4:1). This second coming and the judgment of man by Christ, determining the eternal fate of each individual is the reason so much scripture is devoted to teaching man how to so live as to be in the proper relationship with God. Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (II Cor. 5:10-11).
The promise of a coming savior for all mankind, the fulfillment of that promise in the person of Jesus the Nazarene and the revelation of what one must do in order to be judged worthy to wear white in heaven is the panoramic view of the entire Bible.
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]