How is the Bible divided?
Simplistically the Bible is the WORD of God – that is, it is preserved and God-breathed to be perfect and to withstand the ages. The King James Bible is divided into two main divisions; Old Testament and New Testament.
The Bible is made up of 66 books – the Old Testament consists of 39 books, broken down into the Pentateuch (first 5 books written by Moses), History of Israel, their Kings, theirs Major Prophets and their Minor Prophets (ending at Malachi). The Old Testament is written TO the Jews (Israel) and about the nation of Israel.
The New Testament is made up of 27 books – starting at Matthew, and covers 4 gospels of Jesus Christ, moving onto the forming of the Church in Acts, to the Pauline Epistles (books that Paul wrote), to the last book that speaks prophetically of things that were, are and yet to come (Revelation). The New Testament is TO the Church and covers our Christian living and understanding of Jesus. Altogether 66 books!
Please note, though the Old Testament is FOR us, but not written to “us”. That is, if I write you a letter about ‘How to Build’ something. Though it’s TO you (it’s got your name on it, and some personal details), you can however pass it on to someone else to gather information or learn from it. The Old Testament is thus, written FOR us to learn, understand God more; but it’s not written TO us, but rather to Israel (God’s Chosen People). That means – when God Promises something or says something, it’s primarily to Israel.
Who Is Israel?
Israel is God’s people, sons of Jacob (Genesis 29) and their descendants – and they are known today, as modern day Jews. In the Old Testament, God had given to them the LAW (that is the Ten Commandments etc) and many either laws (social, civil and moral – Exodus 20-24).
However, despite God working with them through the ages, endearing them with love and mercy to follow after Him and be obedient to His commandments, they rejected Him their Messiah (Jesus Christ), and as such He then put them aside for a TIME (Romans 8-10). God then directed His focus towards the Gentiles (or the non-Jews) – which is us; the Church or the Body of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Anyone who believes Jesus Christ, is now part of that “Body”.
A Key To Understanding the Bible:
Firstly, a Bible believer must distinguish between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and TO whom those Books are written. Why? Because you may take something God said in the Old Testament and believe it for yourself – when it’s NOT meant for you. For example, in Exodus 21-24, we see God give instruction on how one should behave and what laws he or she are to follow. In there it refers too – offering sacrifice to God for sin, it speaks off what one should eat; and how one should repay injustice with death. Clearly reading the context, you can see that it is no written to the Church, but rather for Jews. However we can ‘learn’ some truth from it!
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT to understand, and is the reason why there is so much division in Churches today, and why there are such things as cults.