By Mike DuBose
As an introduction, let’s examine some basic information about Christian beliefs as outlined in the Bible. The Guinness Book of Records verifies that the Bible, the holy scripture of the Christian religion which has been translated in hundreds of languages, is the world’s bestselling and most widely distributed book. More than 7 billion copies have been disseminated worldwide. In fact, the United Bible Societies reported 184 million full Bibles were distributed between 2015-2019 which set a new record, 25% of which were downloaded on the Internet. Reports suggest that as many as 1 million copies are now being distributed annually!
The word Bible in Latin means books or scrolls, so it is a collection of writings assembled together. The Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years, beginning with the creation of the world in Genesis. Today’s Protestant version contains 66 books written by 40 divinely-inspired authors separated into the Old and New Testaments. Wikipedia noted, “The Bible has done more to shape literature, history, entertainment, and culture than any book written.” According to the World History Encyclopedia, “The Common thread in all the collected Biblical works is the existence of an all-powerful Deity who is the Creator of the universe and has an interest in the personal lives and final fate of human beings.” The Book includes a wide range of stories, prophecies, hymns, poetry, proverbs, parables, laws, history, and sayings that are intended to serve as spiritual guidance on how God desires us to live. Biblical writers (fishermen, shepherds, farmers, doctors, prophets, priests, musicians, royalty, and ordinary people) came from diverse backgrounds and cultures using different writing styles in developing these books.
The Old Testament, similar to the Hebrew Bible, has its origins in the ancient religion of Judaism. It contains 39 books from Genesis to Malachi completed in 435 BC and documents the history and religion of the Jewish people of Israel. According to sparknotes.com, “The books represent a unified narrative about God and His relationship with humankind…” It appears that the Jews, Jesus, and His disciples were in full agreement with the Old Testament as the spoken word of God. Jesus and the New Testament writers quoted the Old Testament 295 times.
The New Testament focuses on the life and teaching of Jesus, in addition to the early days of Christianity. It contains 27 books written by nine authors and was completed in the late first century by Jesus’ last surviving disciple, John, who wrote the book of Revelation. Jesus’ Apostle, Paul, wrote thirteen of the 27 New Testament books. He, the other apostles, and followers spread Jesus’ teachings which are the foundation and beliefs of the Christian church.
Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God, born to the Virgin Mary. His examples taught mankind how to live a Godly life and He performed many miracles during his lifetime, including raising people from the dead and healing the sick. He was crucified as a human sacrifice for our sins by the Romans, was buried, and then resurrected on the 3rd day after His death. He appeared before hundreds of believers before His ascension into Heaven. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God so that those who believe in Him will have eternal life.
There are 50 versions of the Bible in print today with the top five best sellers being: New International, King James, New Living Translation, English Standard, and New King James. The Bible, believed by Christians to be guided by the Holy Spirit, has taken a fascinating journey of undergoing changes over the years being formed into what it is today. Our next article will focus on remarkable Biblical facts which may surprise you!
Mike DuBose has been an instructor for USC’s graduate school since 1985, when he began his family of companies, and is the author of The Art of Building a Great Business. Visit his nonprofit website www.mikedubose.com for a free copy of his book and additional published business, travel, and personal articles, as well as health articles written with Surb Guram, MD.