What is the Bible?
The word “Bible”is from a Greek word that means “book.”
What is this “good book”? That question has a two-part
First,the Bible is actually a collection of books–66 of them
to be exact–from the first book,Genesis,to the last,Revelation.
These books cover thousands of years and were written in
either Hebrew,Aramaic or Greek. There are many different
kinds of writing in the Bible: historical narrative, prophecy,
poetry, speeches, letters and so on. From a merely human
perspective,there is no question that the Bible is a masterpiece
Second,the much more important answer to the question,
“What is the Bible?”is this: The Bible is the Word of God.The
Bible is the collection of the thoughts–even the very
words–that God gave to the authors of the Biblical books.The
Bible is a gift God has given to His church.It is not a collection
of ancient fables and myths.The Bible is the sure and certain
means that God the Holy Spirit uses to communicate God’s
Word to us today.
How did we receive the Bible?
The Bible itself explains how we received it.“All Scripture is
God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking,correcting
and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). We read elsewhere that,“Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man,
but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the
Holy Spirit”(2 Pet.1:21).
Because people knew that the Bible was the actual Word of
God, it was copied and re-copied with painstaking care and
attention to detail,letter by letter,word by word.Though today
we no longer possess the actual, original text of the Bible, we
can be certain that the Holy Spirit has preserved the Word of
God for us.Careful study of the many thousands of copies of
the New Testament reveals that though there are minor differences between the various copies,there is no place where any
key teaching of the Bible is contradicted.
Our English Bibles are translations from the original
languages.When we use reliable translations, we can be sure
that we have the true Word of God.Whatever the Word of God
is in Hebrew,Aramaic or Greek, it is also the Word of God in
English,or in any other language,as long as the translation is
faithful to the original languages. Reliable translations include
the King James Version, the New King James Version, the old
Revised Standard Version,the New International Version and
the New American Standard Bible.
reproduced from the LCMS series "What About"