Chapter 2: How Is the Bible Organized?

The Bible is a book comprised of sixty-six individual books that are divided into two main sections: the Old Testament with thirty-nine books and the New Testament with twenty-seven. The word testament means covenant. Covenants are solemn agreements that have attached conditions and promises. The Old and the New Testaments constitute two connected covenants, with the old fulfilled by the new. Therefore, what begins in the Old Testament is completed in the New Testament. Both moves humanity forward towards God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose.

Although the books are not entirely in chronological order, the Old Testament begins with the creation account and then moves on through God’s covenant relationship with the community of Israel. The New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus and then moves into Jesus’s covenant relationship with the community of the church.

As a later invention, each of the sixty-six books were subdivided into chapters and verses, in order to make the large volume of material more manageable. Scripture references are noted first by the name of the book, followed by the chapter number and a colon, and lastly by the verse number, as in John 3:16.

Since God used humans to write the Bible, it was written in the language of the people. The Old Testament was written by the Jews in Hebrew with a sprinkling of Aramaic. The New Testament was written by the church in Koine Greek, which was the universal language of their Mediterranean world. Only the original texts are inspired by God. Translators do their best to transmit the message from the original languages into modern languages. Since each translator has wrestled with the text to offer his or her best efforts, it is often beneficial to consult several different translations for a more full-bodied view.

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

 

 

 

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Chapter 2: What Is Unique about the Bible?

There are at least three unique features about the Bible that point to its divine origin. First, it gives real answers to the most important questions of life, such as:

  • Why were humans created?
  • Why does evil exist?
  • What is God doing and what will He do about evil?

Secondly, the Bible is anchored in real time and space. This is no fairy tale. Real people and places are referenced with historical accuracy, which has been confirmed through archaeological evidence. In the March/April 2014 edition of Biblical Archeology Review, fifty biblical character names are listed that were found inscribed at archaeological sites. This makes the Bible a resource for ancient history. 1

Lastly, it gives an accurate portrayal of its heroes. In fact, its display of honesty is totally foreign to any other ancient work. Usually in those accounts, the accomplishments of heroes are exaggerated, and their failures are not included in history. In contrast, biblical heroes smell human with all of the hopes and failures common to humanity. If this were purely a human work, it would have never exposed those failings.

For example, the Bible records that Peter, who was a leader among the disciples, was terrified and perplexed as he stood in the high priest’s courtyard where Jesus was on trial. Afraid for his own life, Peter denied even knowing Jesus to those around him. Yet in spite of this failure, Peter found forgiveness and went on to be a prominent leader in the church.2

 

Notes:

  1. Lawrence Mykytiuk, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review (2014 March/April).
  2. John 18:15–27.

Questions:

Why is it important that the Bible is anchored in real time and space?

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

 

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Chapter 2: Are the Books in the Jewish Apocrypha Inspired by God?

The fifteen Jewish books of the Apocrypha were written during the four hundred years between the writing of the Old and the New Testaments. That time period is called the silent years, because God did not inspire any writings. The Jews have never viewed those writings as inspired, nor did the early church. They are more like a best-selling Christian book. Such a book may have many good things to say, but there is no guarantee that its teachings are accurate. Yet even though the Apocrypha is not inspired and should never be used to determine the official teachings of the church, it does contain wisdom and it gives insight into the silent years of Israel’s history.

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation
Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs
All rights reserved.
Reprinted 2017

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Journeys of the Incredibly Human book

 

My husband, Jeff and I are trying to place a copy of Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation in as many U.S. states and cities as possible, as well as internationally. As you vacation, would you place a book in the hotel room where you stay, leave it at a restaurant, or give it to someone you meet? This past week another copy was left in New Orleans. Remember that even though it’s just one book, God can do a lot with just a little and when He gets it into the right hands, lives are changed. It is like putting a message in a bottle, and then sending it out to sea. Consider  giving a copy with your message inside the cover and see what happens. Then, email me or post here to let me know – the city/state or city/country – so that I can track where the books are placed. So far, we have books placed in five states and eight countries. Will you join us?

2018 Denver Colorado
2015 Weston Florida
2017 Weston Florida
2018 New Orleans Louisiana
2016 Boston Massachusetts
2015 Cleveland Ohio
2015 Medina Ohio
2016 Toronto Canada
2017 Toronto Canada
2017 London England
2017 Northumberland, Felton England
2017 Berlin Germany
2016 Milan Italy
2017 Glasgow Scotland
2018 Madrid Spain
2015 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
2016 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
2017 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
2016 ? Zimbabwe

Join us and spread the egalitarian message of God’s love and purpose for humanity.

Blessings +
Diana

Summary for Book 2 – Incredibly Human: Community Through The Fallen Creation

The series moves forward in Book 2 when the earth becomes a spiritual war zone after God’s enemy leads Adam and Eve astray. It chronicles God’s continuing love and what God has done on humanity’s behalf, as well as pointing forward to what He will do to remedy the human condition, end the war, and fulfill His Eternal Plan and Purpose.

BOOK 2 UPDATE:

Chapter 8  is completed and has been sent to the editors for comments. There are only six more chapters to complete. Then, the book will be in its last phase of development. The projected completion date is still the end of 2019.

Join us and spread the egalitarian message of God’s love and His purpose for humanity

 

My husband, Jeff and I are trying to place a copy of Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation in as many U.S. states and cities as possible, as well as internationally. As you vacation, would you place a book in the hotel room where you stay, leave it at a restaurant, or give it to someone you meet? Our granddaughter, Diana took a book to Spain last week. Even though it’s just one book, God can do a lot with just a little and when He gets it into the right hands, lives can be changed. It is like putting a message in a bottle, and then sending it out to sea. Great idea! Put your message inside the cover of the book and see what happens. Then, email me or post here to let me know – the city/state or city/country – so that I can track where the books are placed. So far, we have books placed in five states and  six countries. Will you join us?

 

Chapter 1, Gave an overview of God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose, the three creations and the days associated with each.

Chapter 2:  Next week starts a new study about the Bible. It will teach how to study the Bible, so that we don’t misunderstand God or His message.

Blessings +

Diana

Chapter 1: What Does It Mean That God Rested on the Seventh Day?

When God rested on the seventh day, He rested from further creating. That means, He is no longer creating new species. Although diversification within each species continues to produce wonderful variations, He has finished with creating new ones.

However, that does not mean that He is not working at all. He continues to work in fulfilling His Eternal Plan and Purpose for humanity. Jesus confirms this by saying, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:17b) Neither has God abandoned His creation. He is still at work sustaining, protecting, healing, and holding it together. The Bible says, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

In addition, God is at work through the Holy Spirit who:

  • Convicts humanity about their need for God: As Jesus said, “When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment, about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned (John 16:8-11).
  • He reveals the truth about Jesus: Jesus also said, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (John 15:26).
  • And, He grants the new birth: The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

 Furthermore, the Holy Spirit continues to work in humanity by filling and sanctifying them with Himself, giving them gifts of ministry, praying for them, and helping them to spiritually grow.5

5Acts 2:1–4, 1 Corinthians 12:1–11, Romans 8:26, and Galatians 5:22–23.

How has God been at work in your life?

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

 

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Chapter 1: What Evidence Is There That the Seventh Day Continues?

Each of the six creation days closed with this repeating text, “And there was evening, and there was morning.”2 By describing the days in that way, God pictures the human workday, and sets the example of work and rest as patterns for humans to follow. After one works, it is evening, and then comes morning again, and the cycle continues. Not only does the statement, “And there was evening, and there was morning,” create a model for the human workday, it also officially signals the completion of each of the first six days.3

Then, suddenly, something new happens,

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Genesis 2:2–3).

Note that the phrase “And there was evening and there was morning” is not repeated for the seventh day, because the seventh day never ended. Its closing is still a future event.4

The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews understood that the seventh day continues on when he wrote:

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: On the seventh day God rested from all his works. And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest” (Hebrews 4:3b-5).

In the context of affirming that God’s day of rest continues, he told the story of the ancient Israelites who were led out of Egyptian slavery by Moses in about 1300 BC. They traveled through the desert and came to the border of the land that God wanted to give to them. They sent out twelve spies, and ten returned with a fearful report that the land was occupied by a fierce people whom they felt were undefeatable. Only two of the spies had faith, Joshua and Caleb, who said that God would help the Israelites to take the land.

However, the people sided with the bad report. Due to their lack of faith, God told them that their generation would never enter the land. Instead, they were forced to wander in the wilderness for forty more years. When those years were completed and that generation died, Joshua and Caleb led the next generation into their promised land.

The author of Hebrews 3:7–4:13 wrote about this ancient story during a difficult time for the church. Under persecution, some of the Christians were becoming discouraged and were backing away from meeting with one another. The writer warned them to not be like the unbelieving Israelites who were poised on the edge of the Promised Land but who never entered it. He encouraged the church to believe in God’s promises and trust Him, because their reward would be the promised kingdom of God.

It would have been scary and difficult for the Israelites to go to war for their land against such a fierce people. Likewise, it was scary and difficult for the early church under persecution. In both cases, they could enter into God’s rest by faith and be assured that He would take care of them. They did not need to worry or try to handle these difficulties on their own. They could have peace knowing that God had things under control. The writer encouraged them,

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his (Hebrews 4:10).

By not trusting God, one generation of the Israelites missed out. The writer of Hebrews was saying to the church, “Persevere! Stay faithful! Don’t miss out on what is ahead.”

It must have been common knowledge to the author that God is still resting.  Of course, that would mean that the seventh day has never ended. In fact, it would mean that the seventh day has lasted over the full expanse of human history.

2 Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

3 Personal communication with Martin Poenie, Ph. D. University of Texas at Austin, 2015.

4 Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998) 64.

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Free Online Bible Study

This is a free online Bible Study taken from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation. The first lesson has already posted under the category, Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation. Follow the blog and you will automatically be alerted to each weekly lesson as it is released usually on Mondays. Also, please feel free to join in the discussion by asking questions and commenting. I would love to hear from you.

I have been asked why the book is called Incredibly Human. Isn’t that a bit vain? Not when you consider that the reason that we are incredible is because of God who:

incredibly made us

incredibly loves us

and who has an incredible future for us.

So, what are you waiting for?

Join the study!