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GP 2: Basic Facts About Life’s Most Reliable Guide

The Most Influential Book of All Time

Here are names of some of the most influential authors and books of all time. Some you will recognize, others you might not. See if you can match the following authors to the book titles below: J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dan Brown, Mao Zedong, Lew Wallace, Dr. Benjamin Spock, J.D. Salinger:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ______________________
The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care _____________________
Quotations from… ______________________
The Client _________________
The Catcher in the Rye __________________
The Davinci Code ______________________
The Lord of the Rings _____________________
Ben Hur ____________________
Here are the answers:[1]

These authors and books represent some the most printed and influential books in history. Their influence on modern society is undeniable. Yet if you total up their numbers and try and measure their influence it will amount to but a portion of the overall influence of one book: The Bible. In fact, if you look at “The 21 Best-selling Books of All Time” you will notice not only that the Bible is #1 on the list. You will also see that more than half the books listed either directly reference the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ or make some reference to a Christ-like savior. The Bible is simply the most influential literature ever.

The Bible is the most read and most influential book in all of history. It continues to be at the top of international “best seller” lists every year. It is the most quoted book in the world. Most of the greatest personalities in history have had something to say about the Bible and Christ. Here are what some famous people have said, from Abraham Lincoln to Elton John:[2]

Purpose of this Interactive Blog

The purpose of this interactive blog is to introduce you to some to basic facts about the Bible. Becoming familiar with these facts will help you better understand how Life’s Most Reliable Guide, the Bible, can guide you to the best life ever.

The “Books” of the Bible

How Many Are There?

Remember that the Bible is not a single document but a collection of ancient texts written over a period of time. There are narrative stories, legal documents, poetry, prophecies, and personal letters. The Bible is composed of 66 pieces of literature commonly referred to as “books.” When someone refers to a “book” of the Bible this is what they mean. These 66 books were written by approximately 40 different authors over a period of 1500 years.

How are they grouped?

Bibles today are divided into two sections, the Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament is about the time before Jesus was born and the New Testament is about the time after Jesus was born. The Old Testament books were written over a period of hundreds of years and compiled into a single collection around 280 B.C. The New Testament books were written within a short time following the death and coming back to life of Christ. The current arrangement of Old and New Testaments was organized in 1486 A.D.

Here is the list of the books of the Bible in order of appearance[3]

Here are the 66 books of the Bible in a song!

For Fun, Test Your Knowledge of These Biblical Writers

Match the following Biblical writers to the occupations below (* A person can be listed in more than one category): Moses, Paul, Amos, Solomon, Samuel, Luke, Matthew, Peter, David, Joshua.
Fisherman ___________________
Warriors ___________________
Kings _______________________
Doctor _______________________
Tax Collector __________________
Judge _____________________
Shepherds __________________
Farmer ___________________
Religious Leader _________________
Here are the answers:[4]

What are the original languages of the Bible?

The Old Testament was written originally in the Hebrew language, with a few brief sections in Aramaic, a language similar to Hebrew. The New Testament was written in the common Greek language in use from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. Every time the Bible is introduced to a culture that speaks or reads a language other than Hebrew or Greek, the Bible must be translated from those original languages to the new language. Here is a link to an online Bible source featuring more than two dozen different English versions and dozens of versions in other languages.

How is the Bible documented in history?

The Bible is the best-documented book in history. With 4,500 ancient Greek manuscripts available to translators, we can trust our English translations for the true word of God. Our English translations, especially the New American Standard version, The New International version, and some others are reliable and accurate. In 1947 a shepherd boy near the Dead Sea in the West Bank area of Israel discovered ancient scrolls that turned out to be one of the most significant archeological finds in history. The scrolls, now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, are the earliest versions of most of the books of the Bible. Here is a short Science institute video has to say about the importance of the discovery of these documents.

Why Are the Words of Jesus Red?

The question is often asked why the words of Christ are printed in red letters. This began in 1900 and was first thought up by Dr. Louis Klopsch. At the time he was editor of the Christian Herald magazine. He reasoned that the words of Christ should be in red to remind us of the blood which Jesus spoke about in Luke 22:20,[5] thus the introduction of the red-letter edition of the Bible.

The Bible and Tradition

Tradition is a powerful thing. It governs many parts of our lives. Schools have traditions. Religious groups have traditions. We have traditions in our families. Here is one of the great American traditions: Fall football.

What are some of your family traditions? Do they compare to some of these listed on the Facebook page “What’s Your Odd or Funny Family Tradition?”

While traditions can be good, sometimes traditions become a problem when they are made more important than people. This is especially a problem when it comes to religion.

Tradition and Life’s Most Reliable Guide

How is the word “tradition” used in the New Testament?

In Colossians 2:8, 16-17[6] Christians are cautioned about some traditions. In verse 8 the letter writer writes, “See to it that no one takes you ___________ through __________ and _____________ _____________, which depends on human _________________ and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” The Bible teaches that when a person comes to Christ they are free and do not need to “earn” salvation through the observance of special days and acceptable eating and drinking habits.

Yet in 2 Thessalonians 2:15[7] Christians are encouraged to hold on tight to some traditions. In this verse the word “teachings” is the same as “traditions” in other translations.

According to these verses, how do you determine which “traditions” or “teachings” we are supposed to follow? We are to follow only the teachings and traditions that uplift the person of Christ. Because as Colossians 2:17[8] says, all these other things are but “a shadow of the things that were to come.” But “the reality, however, is found in ___________.”

This point becomes even clearer if you read the entire passage in Colossians 2:6-23.[9] Christ is who saves us and sets us free. How exciting!

The Value and Purpose of Scripture

What is the value and purpose of the Scriptures?

The value and purpose of Scripture is to set people free to live the best life possible as disciples of Christ. This is what Jesus said was the “Good News” that he brought to the world.

In John 8:31-32[10] Jesus said, “If you hold to my ______________, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the _______________, and the ______________ will set you ____________.” The word “hold” means the same as “obey” or “follow.” The value and purpose of why we read Life’s Most Reliable Guide is so that we can become Christ’s _____________.[11] We become disciples only if we _______________[12] Jesus’ teachings. The result is that Christ sets us _______________.[13]

What is a disciple?

The Greek word for disciple, MATHATAS, means to be a learner and follower of a teacher and their teachings. You don’t have to be a Christian to state what is true. Here in this video a religious man who practices a faith different from Christianity gives a good definition of what it means to be a disciple.

Jesus said his word is truth for his disciples and that this truth will set us free. But what is it we are set free from? The answer is we are set free from sin and death.

How do we Live as Disciples?

In 1 Timothy 4:16[14] Paul told Timothy: “Watch your ___________ and ____________ closely.”

What does this mean to you, to “watch your life and doctrine closely”?

The bottom line is that you must read the the Words of God in order to know how God wants you to live. Read Hebrews 4:12-13[15] and complete the following sentences:

The Word of God: “is living and ___________________.” “Sharper than _______________________, it ________________ even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” “judges the __________________ and __________________
of the heart.” “Nothing in all creation is _________________ from God’s sight.”

Now Go Do Something!

List one valuable insight you have gained from each of these sections.

The Books of the Bible ________________________________________

The Bible and Traditions__________________________________

The Scriptures’ Value and Purpose _________________________________

My spiritual goal based on this lesson is:_________________________________________

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: J.K. Rowling
    The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care: Dr. Benjamin Spock
    Quotations from: Mao Zedong
    The Client: John Grisham
    The Catcher in the Rye: J.D. Salinger
    The Davinci Code: Dan Brown
    The Lord of the Rings: J.R.R. Tolkien
    Ben Hur: Lew Wallace
  2. Abraham Lincoln – “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man.”

    Daniel Webster – “If there is anything in my thought or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me early love for the Scriptures.”

    George Washington – “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

    John Quincy Adams – “So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year.”

    Sir Isaac Newton – “All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more the truths contained in the sacred Scriptures.”

    Napoleon – “The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it.”

    Mark Twain – “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”

    Elton John – “From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book. But the reality is that organised religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.”

  3. Old Testament Books


    1&2 Samuel
    1&2 Kings
    1&2 Chronicles

    Song of Songs


    New Testament Books



    Personal Letters
    1 & 2 Corinthians
    1 & 2 Thessalonians
    1 & 2 Timothy
    1 & 2 Peter
    1, 2 & 3 John


  4. Fisherman: Peter
    Warriors: David and Joshua
    Kings: Solomon and David
    Doctor: Luke
    Tax Collector: Matthew
    Judge: Samuel
    Shepherds: Moses and David
    Farmer: Amon
    Religious Leader: Paul
  5. “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
  6. “8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ. 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
  7. “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings[c] we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”
  8. “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
  9. ” 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted

    and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

  10. “31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””
  11. Disciples
  12. Follow/Obey
  13. Free
  14. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
  15. ” 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
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