Given that God is the ultimate life-force, and that the most powerful life-force is Love, which God is, and that Love is about willing the good of the other, and that Love is about relationships, then it follows naturally that God would wish to reveal Himself to mankind.
We know with the benefit of history, that God choose initially to reveal Himself initially to the Jews, specifically by means of a number of individuals, starting with Abraham, moving to other key individuals such as Moses, David and the prophets ( the major ones being Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel). Finally He revealed Himself most completely in His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This revelation by God of Himself is described in a series of documents, which we call the Bible.
How to read the Bible:
The Bible is not one book – in fact, it comprises of a number of books – 73 in total, as authorised by the Church. The Bible is initially broken up into 2 main parts, the Old and the New Testaments. Christ is the dividing point between the 2 Testaments.
The Old Testament consists of 46 books, and is comprised of the following major parts:
- The Torah / Law / Pentatauch, the first five books, traditionally accepted as written by Moses – includes Genesis and the Ten Commandments
- The historical books, outlining the major events in Jewish history, such as the Passover and their exile in Babylon
- The poetic and wisdom books, such as the psalms, which continue to constitute many of our prayers to God
- The book of the prophets (the major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel)
The issue of Biblical misinterpretation
The issue of violence in the Bible:
The Exodus :Gods and Kings movie
The Book of Daniel
The New Testament consists of 27 books, written in Greek, with 4 major sections, including
- The 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
- The Acts of the Apostles (by Luke)
- The epistles/ letters (mainly by Paul)
- Revelation (by John)
The 4 gospels, while they overlap, also complement each other. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels as they are quite similar, while the Gospel of John, one of the twelve apostles, is significantly different.
The meaning of the Gospels
The gospel of Matthew comes first, as determined by the early Church, and was written by the apostle Matthew for a Jewish audience, proclaiming Christ as the new lawgiver and king, superior to Moses. It was originally written in Hebrew.
The gospel of Mark, who was a disciple of St. Peter, is the shortest gospel and intended for a Roman audience. It focuses on the servant nature of Christ. Historically it is likely that it was the first Gospel actually written, but the Fathers of the church placed Matthew first.
The gospel of Luke,who was a physician and a companion of Paul, was written for a Greek / gentile audience. It focuses on the humanity of Christ. It also provides us with much more information about Mary than the other gospels, emphasising the importance of Mary in God’s plan of salvation for mankind.
The Gospel of John, the beloved apostle, focuses on the deity of Christ and is the last gospel. It was written on the Island of Patmos, close to the year 100, where John was in exile.