As you read the Bible and listen to messages at Living Word, you will hear a number of words and phrases used to describe the Bible. Here are some of those words and phrases defined.
The Bible comes from the Greek word biblios, which means book. The Bible is one big book that has 66 books in it. Often, you will see the adjective Sacred or Holy in front of the word Bible, as in The Holy Bible or The Holy Book.
Scripture (see Luke 4:21) is the Greek word graphe, or writings. In Deuteronomy 18:18-19, an instruction is given to the future kings of Israel. When a new person becomes king, they are to receive a copy of the Law and write a new copy on a scroll. This new copy will become the king’s personal property. The king will now have the writings of the Law as the guide to being the kind of king God wants. By the way, the scrolls were also called books (see Nehemiah 8 for many references).
The Law and the Prophets were often said in the same phrase. Other times you would hear someone refer to the Law or to the Prophets independently. Jesus said he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17).
The Law is the Torah (Jewish name) or the first five books of the Old Testament (also called the Books of Moses, since Moses is considered to be the author). They are called the Law, because large parts of these books have the laws (moral, civil, and ceremonial) that were given to Moses.
The Prophets are the 17 books that make up about one-third of the Old Testament. These are the stories of warning for the failures and sins of the people, the coming judgments on them, and the long-range promises of hope for God’s people. Even though the nation will sin greatly, God will not forsake them, and he will do a new thing to restore his people.
The Wisdom Literature refers to Proverbs, Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Technically, Psalms and Song of Songs are more poetry then wisdom literature, but we will refer to all five of these books with this language. We have a great series planned on this part of the Bible that will begin after Easter. You are going to love it!
Old and New Testaments. A testament is a person’s will, creed, and belief system, and it is evidence and proof of a person’s will. You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “A person’s last will and testament.” Testament is the word used to describe the two main parts of the Bible. There is the Old Testament, or as many Bible teachers prefer, The First Testament of what God willed and declared. Then there is the New or Second Testament from God, which is the updated, upgraded, clarified, and fulfilled Testament. The Tyndale translation was the first to use this division of the books of the Bible.
Revelation. No, not the final book in the Bible, but the concept of revelation. It means we did not discover the truth in the Bible. We did not invent it. It was given to us from God. He revealed what was hidden. All the Bible is the revelation of God of the things he wanted us to know. Paul wanted his audience to know that his writings were revelation from God (Galatians 1:12; Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:3). Of course, you should also refer to Revelation 1:1.
The Word of God (132 times) or God’s Word is taken from a few places and ideas. Most important is that of John 1:1 and Jesus as the Word. This comes from the frequent language of God speaking. And the phrase “the word of the Lord” (used about 350 times) is a prefix to saying what the Lord has spoken. Read Hebrews 4:12 for one of the most famous uses of this phrase. When we were young (much younger) we would ask each other, “Are you in the Word?” Meaning, “Are you reading your Bible?
And last, but certainly not least, The Gospel or the Good News. The Gospel comes from the Greek word euangelion. The little -eu- means good or well. The angelion is messenger. This is also the word which gives us the word angel. An angel is a messenger of God. Euangelion is a good message and an evangelist is a messenger of good news. The first evangelists were the angels in Luke 2:10-14. While the Gospel is a core message, I prefer to see the entire Bible as the Good News of God.
These are some of the words about the Bible which are found in the Bible. They are words we use a lot around Living Word. They are words with which you should be familiar.
P.S. And by the way, are you “in the Word” this week? And what “Word” are you into?
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