It is hard to do the Bible justice in a few pages. In this review, I’ll only attempt to provide an outline. In particular I’ll discuss
-the major themes of the book,
-its major division, and
-the types of literature you’ll find in it.
The primary theme of the Bible is the relationship between God and man. It’s a broken relationship. The authors of the various books address this in many ways. A couple of metaphors they use that I find particularly compelling are that of a marriage or a parent-child relationship. In these analogies, mankind is depicted as a cheating wife or a child who has run away to a destructive life. God is depicted as the faithful, loving husband or father who is reaching out to redeem, rescue and reconcile the one he loves.
God’s character is on display throughout the Bible. He is just and righteous, and his character is the foundation of morality. He also has great love and mercy. Fortunately, all of these traits are perfectly harmonized in God and shown to man in Jesus Christ. For those who have faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit works from within to recreate this character in them.
The major divisions of the Bible are the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was written before the coming of Christ. It describes the fall of mankind into sin and God’s work to reconcile mankind to Himself with a focus on how this occurs in the formation (and eventual fall) of ancient Israel. The New Testament describes the coming of Christ and the establishment of the church, which is a fulfillment of the promises of God described in the Old Testament.
The major division of the Old Testament are
The historical books describe the history of man as a moral being, beginning with the fall into sin, and the God’s plan to save man worked out over time. As this plan unfolds, the history increasingly focuses on the Israelite kingdom. The writing are a set of poetic books. The prophets focus on a period of time leading to the ultimate decline of ancient Israel and predict the coming for Christ.
The New Testament can be roughly divided into
-the gospels, and
The gospels describe the life of Christ and (in the related book of Acts) the establishment of the church. The epistles are message to the church that often deal with the practicalities of living the life Christ called his believers to live.
TYPES OF LITERATURE
The Bible is an assembly of many books, and there are many types of literature in each book. While the highly symbolic language of parts of the Bible get a lot of attention in some circles, most of it is written in a straightforward style. For instance, a lot of the Old Testament is historical narrative and a lot of the New Testament is letters from the apostles to the churches. Poetry is also commonly used. When reading the Bible, it’s important to know if the part your reading is a narration of events, a parable, a poem, or some other literary form.