Since its beginning, the Bible has been a source of guidance for humankind. It is an ancient collection of books, written over thousands of years by dozens of authors, that tell an overarching story about God and His people. Here at my seminary we explore these texts to gain insight into their meanings and significance throughout time.
What is the Bible?
The Bible is a collection of 66 books divided into two parts: The Old Testament and the New Testament. It ranges from Genesis to Revelation and contains many stories about different characters such as Moses, David, Jesus Christ, Paul, and others. The authors wrote in different genres including poetry, prophecy, parables, letters, and history. Taken together, these writings tell a grand narrative of humanity’s relationship with God – from creation to redemption through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.
The Authority of Scripture
Many have argued about whether or not the Bible should be considered authoritative, given its varying authorship over so many centuries. However, believers today still largely accept it as truth because they believe it was divinely inspired by God Himself, who worked through its writers using their unique voices and experiences to articulate a unified message about Himself. As such, this holy book serves as our primary source for understanding who God is and what He requires of us as His people.
When attempting to understand the meaning of Scripture today, interpreters must consider the context in which each book was written in order to avoid misinterpretations or misapplications that are out of touch with the original intent – a practice taught here at my seminary in classes such as Biblical Interpretation & Exegesis I & II. By studying historical background information such as customs and language usage in different periods, we can better grasp the intended audience-specific messages of Scripture, rather than extrapolating broad implications for ourselves today.
Whatever one’s views on biblical authority or interpretive techniques, however, it is impossible to deny the power contained within its pages. Whether read in devotion or purely for entertainment, there are many inspiring stories about faithfulness, patience, perseverance, courage, grace, forgiveness, love, fellowship, joy, and much more!
These themes remain relevant across generations because they present timeless truths that can be universally applied regardless of culture or era – which makes them special indeed!
Symbolism throughout the scriptures
In addition to the specific messages contained in individual passages, there are also unifying symbols used throughout the Scriptures – many of which are deeply rooted in Jewish symbolism – that help readers to see commonalities between individual books, while at the same time connecting them all back to Israelite culture. For example, the use of animals such as lions (kingdom), sheep (goodness), serpents (evil), eagles (freedom), etc., often represents specific characteristics when specifically mentioned in relation to something else – such as a person – or signify broader principles when used on their own. This type of imagery provides the reader with another layer to consider when approaching scripture, especially if you’re planning to teach.