What Does The Unity Of The Bible Mean?
The unity of the Bible, means two things:
ONE: THE BIBLE IS UNITED IN CONTENT
Even though the Bible was written by many writers over many centuries, there are no contradictions. One author does not contradict any of the others. The Bible includes discussion of hundreds of controversial subjects. (A controversial subject is one that creates different opinions when mentioned). Yet the writers of the Bible spoke on such subjects with harmony from the first book of Genesis through the last book of Revelation. This was possible because there was really only one author: God. The writers only recorded the message under His direction and inspiration. For this reason, the content of the Bible is united.
TWO: THE BIBLE IS UNITED IN THEME
Some people think the Bible is a collection of 66 separate books on different subjects. They do not realize that the Bible is united by a major theme. From beginning to end, the Bible reveals God’s special purpose which is summarized in the book of Ephesians: “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself; That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him; In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.“- Ephesians 1:9-11.
In other words, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of sinful mankind. Jesus explained how the Old Testament centered on Him: “And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all hings must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me.” – Luke 24:44. With this introduction Jesus then opened their understanding to the Scriptures, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” -Luke 24:45.
What was the key Jesus gave them to understanding the Scriptures? The fact that its major theme focused on Him: “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” -Luke 24:46-48.
The Old and New Testaments both tell the story of Jesus. The Old Testament prepares us for His dissension into the world and the New Testament tells what He did while He was here. This unites the Bible in one major theme, a Saviour, and that Saviour is God in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” – Hebrews 9:12-15.
THE DIVERSITY OF THE BIBLE
When we speak of the “diversity” of the Bible we mean that the Bible has variety. It records different ways in which God dealt with people and the different ways in which they responded to Him. The Bible is written in different moods. Some portions express joy while others reflect sorrow. The Bible includes different types of writing. It contains history, poetry, prophecy, letters, adventure, parables, miracles, and love stories. Because of its variety, the Bible has been further divided into major groups of books.
OLD TESTAMENT DIVISIONS
The books of the Old Testament are divided into four major groups: Law, history, poetry and prophecy.
THE BOOKS OF THE LAW
There are five books of law. The names of these books are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy. These books record the creation of man and the world by God and the early history of man. They tell how God raised up the nation of Israel as a people through which He could reveal Himself to the nations of the world. These books record the laws of God. The best known parts are the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:3-17, the greatest of all commandments is, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.“- Deuteronomy 6:5. The second greatest commandment is, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” -Leviticus 19:18
THE BOOKS OF HISTORY
There are twelve books of history. The names of the books of history are: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, & Esther. These books cover a thousand year history of God’s people, Israel. Naturally they do not tell everything that happened, but they record the major events and show the results of both following and ignoring God’s law.
THE BOOKS OF POETRY
There are five books of poetry. The names of the books of poetry are: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. These books are the worship books of God’s people, Israel, which are actually all believers. They still are used in worship by believers today.
THE BOOKS OF PROPHECY
The books of prophecy are divided into two groups which are called Major and Minor prophetical books. This does not mean the Major Prophets are more important than the Minor Prophets. The title is simply used because the Major Prophets books are longer books than the Minor Prophets. There are seventeen books of prophecy. The names of the Major Prophet books are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, & Daniel. The names of the Minor Prophet books are: Hosea, Nahum, Joel, Habakkuk, Amos, Zephaniah, Obadiah, Haggai, Jonah, Zechariah, Micah, & Malachi. These books are prophetic messages from God to His people about future events. Many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled, but some remain to be fulfilled in the future.
NEW TESTAMENT DIVISIONS
The New Testament has also been divided into four groups: Gospels, History, Letters, and Prophecy.
There are four books in the Gospels. The names of these books are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John. These books tell about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Their purpose is to teach you that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. “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 20:31.
THE BOOK OF HISTORY
There is one book of history in the New Testament, the book of Acts. This book tells how the church began and fulfilled Christ’s commission to spread the Gospel throughout the world.
THE EPISTLES (LETTERS)
There are twenty-one epistles also known as letters. The names of these letters are: Romans, Titus, I and II Corinthians, Philemon, Galatians, Hebrews, Ephesians, James, Philippians, I and II Peter, Colossians, I, II, and III John, I and II Thessalonians, Jude, & I and II Timothy. The letters are addressed to all believers. and their purpose is to guide them in living through Christ and help them understand what He commanded.
THE BOOK OF PROPHECY
Revelation is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament. It tells of the final victory of Jesus and His people. Its purpose is to encourage you to keep living as a Christian until the end of time. Its message is summarized in Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”