Description of the holy bible – Part 18
This calendar era is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, with AD counting years from the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of the era. There is no year zero in this scheme, so the year AD1 immediately follows the year 1BC.
Since Jesus Christ existed before He appeared on earth and before Genesis 1:1, nobody can truly define Jesus’ history. John the apostle said:
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (Jn 21:25)
30“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30,31)To understand the life and mission of Jesus more fully, all we need to do is study the Gospels. John tells us that his Gospel records only a few of the many events in Jesus’ life on earth. But the gospel includes everything we need to know to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, through whom we receive eternal life.
Other areas of history
There are numerous other areas of Biblical history: the lives of Biblical characters (from well-known people like Abraham, Moses, and John the Baptist to lesser-known people like Hagar and Jehoshaphat); various events (the call of Abraham; the exodus; the fall of Jerusalem; the return from exile). So much of the Bible is devoted to history (cp. Genesis—Exodus, Joshua—Esther, Matthew—Acts, also various portions of Leviticus-Deuteronomy, the prophets, and Paul’s letters) because biblical faith is largely founded on what God has done in history.
It must be remembered, however, that understanding what happened is not the same as understanding its full meaning. A clear example of this is the empty tomb on Easter morning. This event is not self-explanatory and is subject to more than one explanation. Jesus’ enemies did not deny the fact of the empty tomb, but they gave a different explanation to it than did the writers of the NT. The enemies said Jesus’ body was stolen (Matt. 28:13-15; John 20:13-15). However, the fact of the empty tomb coupled with numerous appearances of the risen Christ over a period of 40 days provided a different interpretation: the tomb was empty because Jesus conquered death and rose triumphantly from the grave. In the study of biblical history, the reader should seek to understand the meaning of historical facts.
The biblical writers did not consider themselves mere reporters of facts, but as authoritative interpreters of those facts. Thus, when reading a historical passage, we should seek to learn “why” the author recorded this historical event. We should not be content with understanding what happened, but must seek to understand what the inspired authors sought to teach by the events they recorded.
Moral Teachings for Living
Another reason people read the Bible is for moral and spiritual guidance. The Bible contains all one needs to know concerning what must be done to be saved and to live a life pleasing to God.
The most helpful principle is to remember how ethical commands relate to the reception of God’s grace and forgiveness.
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