||Who wrote the Bible?
||Many people. The Bible is a compilation of many books. Each book has its own author. Moses wrote Genesis through Deuteronomy (~1450 BC). King David (~1000 BC), Solomon (~950 BC) and many others wrote the books within the rest of the Old Testament. Matthew, John, Luke, Paul, Mark, Peter and others wrote the books of the New Testament during the 1st century AD. Only a few of the books of the Bible, like the book of Hebrews, we do not know who the author was. Most books tell you who wrote the book in the book itself.
God did not write the Bible. God did not dictate the Bible. No book of the Bible ever claims to be written by God. No Bible book author claims he is acting as God's stenographer. Every now and then, the authors do quote God, but generally speaking, the authors themselves claim authorship.
||What is the oldest book in the Bible?
||Job. Although Genesis is the first book in the Bible, the book of Job dates back earlier than Moses' books. The language elements and backdrop of Job dates back to 2200 BC. The books of the Bible are not in chronological order.
||What is the youngest book in the Bible?
||Revelation. This book was written by John around 100 AD. John was the only one of the original 12 apostles that was not executed.
||As a story goes, what is the main theme of the Bible?
||God's love for you and me. I know this sounds like a simple and syrupy answer, but it is true. It is what the Bible is about. Each book within the Bible describes events where God and people met. The theme of each book is about how God wants to be with people, wants what is best for them, but how people don't want God. People rather live their own way rather than trust God, even though it means their own strife and death at their own hands. The strife begins in Genesis 3 and continues until the Revelation 21. The last two chapters of Revelation describes the universe set right again . . . even better than it was described in the first two chapters of Genesis.
||Who is Jesus?
||Jesus is God. Jesus claimed to be "I am" in John 8:58. "I am" is the name of God in Ex. 3:14. Jesus is the one who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai some 1450 years prior to Jesus's advent on earth..
||What is God's purpose for people?
||God created men and women to be his eternal companion. It is the underlying motivation why God does what He does. This is from Genesis 1-2:
||God made Adam in the image of God
||God made Adam alone, because God Himself is alone.
||Alone is "not good". Aloneness was the only thing in God's creation that was not good. Alone is not good for Adam. Alone is not good for God. God is lonely. So for Adam, God designed a woman and built her from a piece from Adam. God removed the rib from Adam to make Adam's bride.
As he did for Adam, God is doing the same thing for himself. He is fashioning a bride for himself. Every time a person puts their trust in Jesus, God removes a part of himself, his Holy Spirit, and puts his Spirit inside that person. Each believer in Jesus carries a part of God.
||What does God want from me?
||He wants you to be His companion forever. To be his "bride" (see 6), He wants only what any husband wants. He wants you to trust and love him. That is all. He does not require you to be perfect. No husband expects that. He does not expect you to perform a list of tasks. No husband wants that either. Any good work you do, He wants you to do it because you want to. In response to your love, you will live with him forever in paradise and share in the wealth of heaven.
||Does God's message differ from the Old Testament to the New Testament?
||No. The message is the same in both testaments. God refers to Israel as his bride in the Old Testament. The New Testament repeats the concept of the bride of Christ. As far as salvation goes, the means to it are the same in both testaments. Your simple trust. The way to live forever is "whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life (John 3:16) . The way is the same in the Old Testament: "Abram believed the Lord, and the God credited it to him as righteousness." Ge 15:6
||Why should I believe what is written in the Bible?
||You should believe what is written in the Bible for the same reasons you believe what is written in your history or math books. Apply the same criteria. Ask yourself this: Why do you believe your math book?
||Why is the Bible different, than say Homer's Iliad and Odyssey?
||As opposed to Homer, the authors of the Bible were eyewitnesses of the events they wrote about. Homer did not eyewitness anything for a simple sad reason: Homer was blind. Also, Homer's stories were fiction. Homer was the Bob Hope of ancient Greece. Homer would tell his stories to travelling armies for their entertainment and his profit.
||The resurrection, the virgin birth, these miracles, how can you actually believe that these things actually occurred? Are you nuts?
||No. I am not nuts. On the contrary. It's not wishful thinking either. It is an intellectual deduction. First of all, if there is a God who created everything, I would expect God to be able to do anything, including rise from the dead and heal the wounds of his creation. Those things would easily be among God's capabilities. The question really is: "Do I believe the testimonies of Moses, King Solomon, King David, Dr. Luke, Matthew the IRS agent, a boat load of fishermen, and an assortment of other characters?
I become "jury" as you should do. I read and evaluate their testimonies. There is a lot of information including a great deal of detail. I ask myself questions. Are their stories coherent? Do they agree on the supernatural events? Do they agree on the miniscule details? Do the historical details match up with archaeology? Is there consistency with regards to the personality of God? There ought to be if this God is eternal and has had relationships with people throughout the centuries. Are God's statements about the future convincing to authenticate his divinity? Did the authors believe their story and what were their reputations?
As jury, I have concluded that the witnesses told the truth. Their stories are consistent. Their historical detail is so accurate that archeologists use it to extrapolate yet-unfound artifacts. Just ask the Smithsonian. And what is certainly true, is that the authors believed in their own story for most of them were executed for confessing their story. As for the prophecies about the future, these are pin-point in their detail, coherently written down, and understandable.
If you bring up Nostradamus as a counterpoint, you haven't read Nostradamus nor have you done the slightest comparison between him and Daniel, Zechariah or John. I have read Nostradamus's Quatrains. What a waste of time. They are even far more nebulous than your daily horoscope. By the way, if you didn't know, Nostradamus got his inspiration by reading the candlelit festering sores of his patients. Nostradamus is an interesting study. He was a concerned doctor during the plague years of Europe To make extra money, he'd publish his interpretations of the sores of his patients. His quatrains became the rage of the court life. He is still popular today. As so is the Psychic Network.
||Are there sources other than the Bible where I can verify the story Christ?
||Yes. But this frequently asked question is really unfair. I can likewise ask, "Are there sources other than math books where I can learn math? Are there sources other than history books where I can learn history?" If you want to learn math, you go to mathematicians. If you want to learn about history, you go to historians. If you want to learn about Christ, you go to Christians. So back to the question. There are many sources other than the Bible which verify the story of Jesus. Josephus, a 1st century historian, had this to say in Antiquities of the Jews (18.3.3):
"Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works--a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets and foretold these and then thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."
This excerpt from Antiquities is inconspicuous. It is one paragraph nestled among several other stories about injustices towards the Jews in Jerusalem and Rome. It is a paragraph between other horrific acts of Pilate and an incident in the Temple of Isis in Rome. Josephus reports it sort of like a newspaper column.
Josephus was one of only a few historians living in the first century. He was the only one living in Judah right after Jesus's death and resurrection. He was the only third-party historian in the right spot and the right time. The only historian available to record the event, recorded the event.
||What does the word Christ mean?
||Christ is a title, not Jesus's last name. Christ is a Greek word which means Messiah in Hebrew, and The Anointed One in english. In the Law of Moses, only kings and priests were anointed. To anoint someone was to put olive oil on their heads. The act was the coronation ceremony to King or the inauguration of a priest. In the Law of Moses, no man could be king and priest at the same time. The Hebrews reserved that position for the The Anointed One. This person would be both King and Priest. We learn in the New Testament that Jesus performs the role of the old priests: Jesus pleads our cases to God the Father on our behalf (He 8), and that God the Father has made him king "giving him authority over all heaven and earth" (Mt. 28:18). And by the way, the charge against Jesus on which Pilate convicted him and thus condemned him to the cross, was that "Jesus was King of the Jews." We Christians expect Jesus to come back. This time, Jesus will come as King and will exercise his authority. The first time he came, he suffered on our behalf.
||What is a fundamentalist?
||First of all, all Christians believe in and trust Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and God (John 3:16, 8:58). All Christians share this basic tenament.
A fundamentalist is a Christian because of that belief in Jesus. But a fundamentalist in addition believes in other things which other Christians do not. For example, a fundamentalist believes that the earth is 6000 years old, that evolution does not exist, that the Bible is inerrant, and that women should always be subservient to men: that it is the God-given role of men to lead; not women. These are typical fundamentalist teachings.
Many Christians are not fundamentalists. For example, I am not a fundamentalist. The reason why I am not a fundamentalist is simple. The Bible itself does not support any of these fundamentalist-specific teachings. For your edification, I will tell you how the fundamentalist uses the Bible to arrive at their interpretation. And then I will debunk their interpretation by showing you what the Bible actually says. The Bible is very specific on all these matters.
Where the fundamentalist strays is generally his lack of Bible knowledge, lack of knowing the definitions as the authors defined them, lack of identifying literary genre thus taking entire chapters out of context, lack of knowledge of ancient Hebrew and Greek grammar, and the inability to reason logically like a mathematician. None of these shortcomings are sins really. It is just that not everybody is exposed to ancient literary genres and have a mathematical mind. God has given us strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses are unfortunate. But what is more unfortunate, is that the preachers who teach them don't have the exposure either. So errors propagate.
It may look like I am picking on the fundamentalist. But if you are an atheist or agnostic and reading this, I am really mean to pick on you. You probably have based your rejection of Christ on errors. Do you reject Christ because you believe that "Christians believe the earth is 6000 years old" and to believe that is just stupid? Is this you? If you want to be intellectually honest with yourself, I just ask you to accept or reject Christ based on the facts. Find out what the Bible really says. Your life really does depend on it. The Bible is more reliable than you think. Fundamentalism, and a whole lot of other "isms", really get in the way. You have to have courage to go through with this. It takes humility. It also takes a willingness to learn the facts, in spite of reprecussions from friends when you admit to them your mistakes.