Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

General Information about the Bible

Here is some information about the Bible that will be useful to those unfamiliar with it – how it originated, what its message is, what it says about itself and so on.

The Origin of the Bible

The Bible begins by describing how God created the universe. This account includes the following statement:-
"These are the generations (records) of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah-God made the earth and the heavens." – Genesis 2:4
Thus, the Bible began to be written at the time of creation, by God Himself.

A few chapters later, we read:-
"This is the book of the generations of Adam." – Genesis 5:1
What follows is a record of Adam, the first human, and his descendants. Adam evidently prepared this record. His mutation-free genes ensured that he was mentally and physically more capable than the average person today. His long lifespan furnished enough time to invent writing. Adam's tenth descendant was Noah. Adam lived long enough to know Noah's father, Lamech.

Genesis 6:9 says: "These are the records of Noah:..." These records make the next few chapters in the Bible. Noah's 11th, 12th and 13th descendants were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob respectively. We find similar headings in Genesis about their records.Thus, the first few chapters of the Bible are records maintained by the first few humans on our planet. It was Moses, however, who compiled all these records into Genesis in about 1500 BC.
Jacob was the ancestor of all Israelis. God told Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would choose their descendants to be a nation through which He would work. Indeed, the nation of Israel has provided some of the most stunning evidence for God.
After Jacob's death in around 1800 BC, Israel became a nation, and God chose various individuals from Israel to write down the Bible. In around 1450 BC, Moses compiled the above records into Genesis, and also wrote the next four books of the Bible. The last contributor to the Old Testament (the part of the Bible written before Jesus Christ) was Malachi, who wrote about 400 BC.

Most of the New Testament was written by the apostles, that is, Jesus' disciples who spent three years with him. The other contributor to the New Testament was Paul. He was a contemporary of the apostles. He spent the early part of his life persecuting Christians, but became the greatest exponent of Christian teaching after his experience with God (recorded in Acts 9:1 onward). The Bible was completed around 95 AD.

What the Bible says about itself

Although the Bible had many human authors, God inspired their writings so that they were perfect. We read about this in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:19-21, Psalm 19:7, etc.

Divine inspiration however, does not imply mechanical dictation (although sometimes, such as in Exodus 20:1 onwards, mechanical dictation was used). The personalities of the writers come across through their writings. An example of this is seen in how different Biblical authors reported on the sinlessness of Jesus.
The Bible also claims to be complete, and God has promised to preserve it. As you can see from the message of the Bible given below, the Bible addresses all humans, and claims to be the final authority on God. It is incompatible with any other religious book. Detailed study of Biblical Authority

Historical Outline of the Bible

The following are the dates of some of the important events and people mentioned in the Bible.

  • 4000 BC: Adam, the first man (Genesis 1-5)
  • 2400 BC: Noah's Flood (Genesis 6-9)
  • 2200 BC:  The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11)
  • 2000 BC: Abraham (Genesis 12 onward)
  • 1500 BC: The Exodus (Exodus 1 onward)
  • 1000 BC: David (1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles)
  •   722 BC: Northern Israel goes into exile (2 Kings 17)
  •   587 BC: Judah goes into exile (2 Kings 25, 2 Chronicles 36)
  •   537 BC: Jews allowed to return from exile (Ezra 1) and rebuild their Temple
  •   400 BC: Old Testament completed
  •       4 BC: The Lord Jesus is born (Matthew 2)
  •     32 AD: The Lord Jesus dies and rises again; the church is formed (John 20, Acts 1-2)
  •     95 AD: New Testament completed 

How are the dates of Biblical events determined?

The message of the Bible

The central person in the Bible is Jesus Christ. It is divided into two parts: The Old Testament (or Agreement) and The New Testament. In the Old Testament, Jesus Christ is in the background. Many things mentioned in it are symbols of realities mentioned in the New Testament, which records Jesus’ coming to this world and its implications. Each testament is made up of several books. The Bible can be thought of as God’s message to man (outlined here).

The Books of the Bible

If the Bible is new to you, you may find it helpful to read the books listed in blue first.

The Old Testament:-

 Book Author Time of writing Place of writingNature 
 Genesis Moses 1500 BC
 History (4000-1700 BC)
 Exodus Moses 1500 BC Jordan History (1541-1540 BC)
 Leviticus Moses 1500 BC Jordan Jewish Law
 Numbers Moses 1500 BC Jordan History (1540-1502 BC)
 Deuteronomy Moses 1500 BC Jordan Instruction
 Joshua Joshua 1400 BC
 Mt Ephraim, Israel
 History (1501-1450 BC)
 Judges Unknown 1400-1000 BC
 Israel History (1450-1100 BC)
 Ruth Unknown 1100 BC
 Israel History (~1200 BC)
 1 Samuel Unknown 931-722 B.C Israel History (1100-1011 BC)
 2 Samuel Unknown 931-722 B.C Israel History (1011-971 BC)
 1 Kings
 Unknown ~ 550 BC
 Israel History (971-853 BC)
 2 Kings
 Unknown ~ 550 BC
 Israel History (853-587 BC)
 1 Chronicles
 Unknown 500-400 BC
 Israel History (1011-971 BC)
 2 Chronicles
 Unknown 500-400 BC
 Israel History (971-587 BC)
 Ezra Ezra 450-444 B.C Israel History (537-450 BC)
 Nehemiah Nehemiah 430-420 B.C Israel History (445-430 BC)
 Esther Unknown ~400 BC
 Israel History (485-465 BC)
 Job Unknown 2000-1800 B.C East of Israel
 History (~2100 BC)
 Psalms David, others
 1020-430 BC
 Israel Songs
 Proverbs Solomon, others
 950-600 BC
 Jerusalem, Israel  Instruction
 Ecclesiastes Solomon 950 BC
 Jerusalem, Israel Instruction
 Song of Solomon
 Solomon 950 BC
 Jerusalem, Israel
 Poem on love
 Isaiah Isaiah 740-680 BC  Jerusalem, Israel Prophecy
 Jeremiah Isaiah 627-580 BC
 Israel, Egypt
 Lamentations Jeremiah 586 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Ezekiel Ezekiel 592-570 BC
 Babylon (Iraq)
 Daniel Daniel 605-536 BC
 Babylon (Iraq)
 Hosea Hosea
 755-710 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Joel Joel 835 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Amos Amos 760-753 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Obadiah Obadiah 890 or 540 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Jonah Jonah 760 BC
 Israel History (~800 BC)
 Micah Micah 735-710 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Nahum Nahum 660 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Habakkuk Habakkuk 607 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Zephaniah Zephaniah 630 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Haggai Haggai 520 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Zechariah Zechariah 520-470 BC
 Israel Prophecy
 Malachi Malachi 435-425 BC
 Israel Prophecy

The New Testament:-

 Book Author
 Time of writing
 Place of writing
 Matthew Matthew 50-68 AD Israel/Syria Biography of Jesus
 Mark Mark 55-68 AD
 Biography of Jesus
 Luke Luke 58-63 AD
 Biography of Jesus
 John John 66-98 AD
 Ephesus (Turkey)
 Biography of Jesus
 Acts Luke 63-64 AD
 History (32-60 AD)
 Romans Paul 57AD Corinth Instruction
 1 Corinthians Paul 57 AD
 Ephesus (Turkey)
 2 Corinthians
 Paul 57 AD
 Macedonia (Greece)
 Galatians Paul 48-57 AD
 Antioch (Syria)
 Ephesians Paul 60-63 AD
 Philippians Paul 60-63 AD
 Rome Instruction
 Colossians Paul 60-63 AD
 Rome Instruction
 1 Thessalonians
 Paul 51-52 AD
 Corinth (Italy)
 2 Thessalonians Paul 51-52 AD
 Corinth (Italy)
 1 Timothy
 Paul 62-66 AD
 Macedonia (Greece) 
 2 Timothy Paul 66-67 AD
 Titus Paul 63-66 AD
 Macedonia (Greece)
 Philemon Paul 60-63 AD  Rome
 Hebrews Unknown 64-68 AD
 James (Jacob)
 Jacob 46-49 AD
 1 Peter
 Peter 63-64 AD
 Babylon (Iraq) Instruction
 2 Peter
 Peter 64-68 AD
 1 John
 John 90 AD
 Ephesus (Turkey)
 2 John
 John 90 AD
 Ephesus (Turkey)
 3 John
 John 90 AD Ephesus (Turkey)
 Jude (Judas) Judas 66-80 AD
 Revelation John 95 AD
 The isle of Patmos