The Old Testament:
The Bible is divided into two major sections—The Old Testament and the New Testament. The word “testament” means a covenant or agreement. Therefore, the Old Testament was God’s old covenant with mankind, while the New Testament is God’s new agreement with humanity.
There are 39 books in the Old Testament. The original Old Testament documents were written mostly in the Hebrew language (with small parts in Aramaic). Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament (known collectively as the Pentateuch) in approximately 1500 B.C. Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, was written around 450 B.C.
The first book of the Old Testament is named Genesis. Appropriately, its name means “beginning.” Since it records the beginning of the Universe and everything in it. Adam and Eve were the first people God created (on day six of His creative activity). They lived in the beautiful Garden of Eden, where they were free to do many things – except eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (read Genesis 2:16-17).
One day, Satan, who appeared in the form of a serpent, tricked Eve into eating the fruit. Eve took the fruit to Adam and, although he was not tricked (1 Timothy 2:14), he, too, ate the fruit. This is how sin first entered the world. In fact, about 1600 years after Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden, people had become such terrible sinners that the Bible says: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Because of man’s wickedness, God sent a flood that covered the entire Earth. Only Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives were spared, along with seven of every kind of clean animal and two of every kind of unclean animal.
After the Flood, humans began to repopulate the Earth. Most of these people sinned by worshiping many different gods (a concept known as “polytheism”) instead of the one true God. Abraham believed God and did as he was instructed. Some time later, God blessed him and his wife Sarah with a son named Isaac. Isaac then had a son named Jacob, and Jacob (whose name later was changed to Israel) had twelve sons who became the heads of what came to be known as the twelve tribes of Israel.
In time, Jacob and his sons migrated to the land of Egypt, where, unfortunately, they became slaves. Even so, God blessed them and allowed them to multiply greatly during their sojourn in the land of the pharaohs. Eventually, after the Israelites had spent hundreds of years of bondage in Egypt, God sent Moses and his brother Aaron to set the Israelites free. When they left the land of Egypt, God gave them a special law that separated them from all other nations around them. The Pentateuch explains how Abraham became the father of the Jewish nation, how the Jews became the chosen people of God, and how God gave the Old Law to Moses to present to the Jews. The Ten Commandments represented the major rules that the Jews were supposed to follow under the Old Law (although there were many others as well).
When we look at the chart provided (the handout) we can see only 3 generations had passed between Adam and Abraham, (Adam to Methuselah [1st hand account] to Noah [2nd hand account] to Abraham [3rd hand account]) and then to the twelve sons. This is when it is believed the word of God may have been handed down though the various tribes, with each group memorizing sections of the history of mankind.
The rest of the Old Testament records a history of the Jews, including the fact that they begged God for Kings or they could be like the nations around them. Once they had Kings, they were led in the wrong direction spiritually, and eventually returned to worshipping many gods (1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd chronicles). Got sent numerous profits to the Jews to urge him to come back to their creator, but they were a stubborn, rebellious people who refused to listen (Isaiah – Malachi).
Since the Jews misused and ignored the old law, and as many of the prophecy efforts had been in vain. God promised that he would send a new profit, Moses said God: The Lord your God will raise up for you a profit like me from your midst, from your Brethren. Him you shall hear (Deuteronomy 18: 15). This new profit would arrive with a new law; behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31: 31).
the Jews of Old Testament times waited anxiously for a Messiah who was prophesied to be bring Salvation and Institute the new covenant. But he was not supposed to be a strong military leader or powerful political activist. And backed, the prophet Isaiah said he would be despised and rejected by man a man of sorrows acquainted with grief Isaiah 53:3 instead he was to be a savior who would be put to death for the sins of his people in order to satisfy god’s command and demand for justice the prophet Isaiah wrote of this Messiah. I will also give you as a light to the gentiles. That you should be my Salvation to the ends of the earth Isaiah 49: 6 thus, under the new law to be established through his son, Jesus, God would allow people from any nation not just the Jews to be his chosen people
The New Testament
There are 27 books in the New Testament Matthew is the first book, and Revelation is the last book in these 27 books which are divided into 4 major sections.
The Gospel Accounts.
The word gospel means good news the first four books of the New Testament are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. they are known as the gospel accounts, because they tell the story of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. Since the story of Jesus is Good News for a sinful humanity, it is known as the gospel.
This section of the New Testament has only one book; Acts. Acts was written by Luke and tells about the acts of the Apostles, the beginning of the church, and its early history. After Jesus return to heaven, His followers went all over the world preaching the good news of his life, death, and resurrection, because of their preaching, God’s Word spread throughout the whole world and the church that Jesus had promised to build and Matthew 16: 18 spread like wildfire.
Epistle is another word for a letter when the apostles preach the gospel around the world, many churches were started in various cities. The Apostle and other writers needed a way to explain to these churches how to worship and how to live. So, they wrote them letters. For instance, the book of Romans is a letter written to Rome. Sometimes these epistles were written to an individual like 1st and 2nd Timothy. Which are letters written by the Apostle Paul to his helper, Timothy these epistles were written to the people who already were Christians, yet who needed some encouragement. The book of James gave special instructions, and yes, even discipline. The Apostle Paul wrote many of these epistles in the New Testament. In fact, of the 27 books in the New Testament, he wrote 13 epistles which is just under half the entire New Testament.
This section has only one book; Revelation. The reason it is called a prophetic book is because it told the people in the 1st century about things that were going to happen to them in the future. Most of the things discussed in revelation already have occurred. Unfortunately, many people today misused a book to make untrue predictions regarding the end of time.
When reading revelation, it is important to remember 2 things: first use a lot of symbolic language much of which comes from the Old Testament books of Daniel and Ezekiel because of they would understand it while their enemies would not, while nothing in it contradicts the rest of the Bible.
The New Testament was completed about 550 years after Malachi (the last book of the Old Testament). However, the New Testament picks up right where the Old Testament left off.
All the prophets had been telling about the coming a Messiah who would save the world from its sin and established a spiritual Kingdom. The entire Jewish nation was waiting for this Messiah. The four gospel accounts tell the story of Jesus, and prove by his miracles and teachings that he was indeed the prophesied Savior.
The rest of the New Testament outlines the new covenant that Jesus established. No longer would people offer animal sacrifices such as bulls and goats (as they did in the Old Testament) in order to receive forgiveness of their sins.
Under Jesus new covenant, His own death on the cross would be the only sacrifice that could forgive sins. It is very important to understand that the new covenant (New Testament) took the place of the old covenant (Old Testament) and that is why the writer of the book of Hebrews said: “In that He says a new covenant, he has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete in growing old is ready to vanish away (8: 13). The Old Testament is a wonderful set of books that can teach people today many amazing things about God. In fact, the Old Testament prepared the world for Jesus, there coming Messiah. But after Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected. God created a new system and established a new covenant with mankind. The details of that new covenant are found in the New Testament – the only place mankind can go to find Salvation.
Since 1947, the United Bible society has distributed over 9 million bibles and whole or in part. Portions of the Bible are available in 2,900 languages. And the entire New Testament can be read in over 1100 languages. The Bible has been distributed in over 200 different countries. In the United States, it has been the best seller for more years than any book ever produced. Each book of the Bible compliments the others in a single, unified plan. From Genesis to revelation, there is a marvelous unfolding of the general theme of man’s fall from his holy estate, God’s plan for his redemption (as carefully worked out across the centuries), the sinless life and atoning death of Jesus Christ, and the ultimate victory of the Christian system. In essence, then, the Bible is the story of one problem – sin — with one solution, Jesus Christ