Facts On The Bible

W. Terry Varner
August 31, 2014

Some simple facts that many may or may not know about the Bible. Sometimes facts like the following can help us appreciate the Bible, the writers, and the translators of the Bible.

The English word Bible is not in the text of the English Bible. The word Bible comes from the Greek word biblos meaning “a scroll or little book.” The material used for making scrolls or pages came from the outer bark of the papyrus plant which grows along the side of Nile River in Egypt. From about the 11th century BC onward, the bark of the papyrus plant was peeled, dried, glued, and sanded in order to make writing materials.

Jerome (ca. AD 340-420), the translator of the Latin Vulgate, referred to the Bible as The Divine Library (Bibliotheca Divine). The Bible is a library. It contains 66 divine books from God. Over the centuries the Bible was referred to as “The Book of books.” Finally, the term Bible came to be used to designate both the Old and New Testaments.

Terms Referring to the Bible. Various terms are found within the pages of the Bible by which it refers to itself. These are descriptive in nature and are vital to our understanding of the Bible as the Word of God. The following terms are suggestive of two important insights: 1) how the divine record looks upon itself, and 2) how we are to consider the divine record. Some of the terms are:

  • The Scripture or The Scriptures (John 5:39; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Acts 8:32, 35; 2 Tim. 3:16).
  • The Holy Scriptures (Rom. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:15).
  • The Oracles of God (Rom. 3:2; 1 Peter 4:11).
  • The Word, the Word of the Lord, the Word of God, or the Word of Truth (Matt. 4:4; Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Peter 1:25).
  • The Truth (John 8:32; 17:17).
  • The Law (John 10:34; 12:34; 15:25; 1 Cor. 14:21).
  • The Law and the Prophets (Matt. 22:40; Luke 16:16).
  • The Book (Heb. 10:7).
  • The Commandments of the Lord (1Cor. 14:37; 1 John 5:3).

The Theme of Both Testaments: All books have a theme. In some books it is difficult to know exactly what theme the author intends. But, it is not difficult to know what God intended as the theme of the Bible—the Lord Jesus Christ!

An old axiom is: “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament Revealed.” Each Testament is incomplete without the other. This is why it is important for God’s children to understand the Old Testament. The Old Testament anticipates Christ. The New Testament is the realization of Christ. The salvation God promises and prepares for in the Old Testament is provided and proclaimed in the New Testament. What the Old Testament states implicitly about Christ, the New Testament states explicitly about Christ.

The Old Testament portrays Christ as the theme of its four sections: (1) The Law portrays the foundation of the coming Christ. (2) History portrays the preparation for the coming Christ. (3) Poetry portrays the aspiration of the coming Christ. (4) Prophecy portrays the expectations for the coming Christ.

The New Testament portrays Christ as the theme of its four sections: (1) The Gospels portray the appearance of Christ. (2) History (Acts of Apostles) portrays the propagation of Christ. (3) The Letters portray the application of Christ. (4) Prophecy portrays the consummation of Christ. No wonder John stated the claim of the prophets as: “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).