Appendix 1: The Holy Bible
The holy books or holy scriptures of the Christians are known as The Holy Bible. The English word “Bible” is derived from the Greek word “biblion”, meaning “book”. The Bible contains sixty-six separate books and is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. “Testament” means “covenant” or “agreement”, in the case of the Bible the solemn covenants made between God and people, especially the Old Covenant through Moses and the New Covenant through Jesus the Messiah. Christians consider the Scriptures to be God-inspired writings and, therefore, the written Word of God.
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
The Old Testament, the Bible of the Jews and the first part of the Bible for Christians, consists of thirty-nine books originally written in the Hebrew language, a few small portions in the Aramaic language. Under God’s inspiration many different authors wrote these books over a period of about a thousand years.
The first five books, the Scriptures of Moses, are called the Torah (Tawrat). The Torah includes the account of God’s creation, God’s dealings with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Jacob’s sons and through his sons the initial history of the Children of Israel. It focuses on God’s deliverance of the Children of Israel through Moses from the Pharaoh in Egypt and on God’s covenant with the Children of Israel at Mt. Sinai.
The Old Testament also contains historical books that tell of the lives of great persons such as Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon and others. It also includes books of poetry, wisdom and praise, such as the Psalms of David and the Proverbs of Solomon. It concludes with a series of books authored under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit by various prophets, such as Isaiah, Daniel, Jonah and many others.
The New Testament contains twenty-seven books, all originally written in Greek and under God’s inspiration shortly after Jesus the Messiah ascended into heaven. The whole of the New Testament (or New Covenant) focuses on the Gospel (Good News, Injil) of Jesus, Jesus Himself being God’s Good News for the world.
The first four books of the New Testament are Gospel accounts about the life and ministry of Jesus: the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They explain how Jesus fulfills God’s promises through the Old Testament prophets to send His Messiah as Saviour and Redeemer for all people; in other words, how Jesus Himself is virtually God’s new covenant with humanity and how He seals this covenant with His blood. The remaining books inform us about the spread of God’s Good News, the growth of the Church in various parts of the world and the continual conflicts it encountered with the forces of evil. Like the Gospel accounts these books constantly remind us to be ready for the Second Coming of the Messiah and God’s final Judgement.
Muslim readers may recognize the Old Testament as the Tawrat of Musa, the Zabur of Dawud and the Saha’if al-Anbiya’ (the Books of the Prophets). Similarly, they may recognize the New Testament as the Injil of ‘Isa al-Masih. The word “Injil” is simply the Arabicized form of the Greek/English word “Evangel”, which means “Good News”. First and foremost, Jesus Himself is the Injil, God’s Good News, God’s eternal Word coming forth from Himself and sent from above into this world, as the New Testament so eloquently proclaims!
It should also be noted that the New Testament does not cancel or abrogate the Old Testament; rather, the New Testament fulfils the promises that God had made through His prophets in the Old Testament. Both Testaments are and continue to be God’s Word. Praise God, today the Holy Bible can be read by almost all the people in the world in their mother language!
We trust this book will encourage you to obtain your copy of the Holy Bible.