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What Everyone Should Know about the Bible
     

What Everyone Should Know about the Bible

by V. Gilbert Beers
 

In this book, Gil Beers will take you on a guided tour of the entire Bible. He'll give you the big picture—the bird's-eye view of the 66 books of the Bible. He'll point out what everyone should know about the Bible—the Top 100 Bible Stories, the Top 100 Bible People, the Top 100 Bible Quotes, and much more. In no time at all, you'll have a handle on the

Overview

In this book, Gil Beers will take you on a guided tour of the entire Bible. He'll give you the big picture—the bird's-eye view of the 66 books of the Bible. He'll point out what everyone should know about the Bible—the Top 100 Bible Stories, the Top 100 Bible People, the Top 100 Bible Quotes, and much more. In no time at all, you'll have a handle on the bestseller of all time.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780842353076
Publisher:
Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
03/29/2007
Pages:
608
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

What everyone should know about the Bible


By V. GILBERT BEERS

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 V. Gilbert Beers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8423-5307-6

Contents

Finding Your Purpose in Life.......................................................................vii Introduction.......................................................................................xxiii How to Get the Most from This Book.................................................................xvi SCENE 1 Before Time Began The Heavens Before Creation............................................1 SCENE 2 Everything from Nothing God Creates the Universe.........................................9 SCENE 3 The Time of the Ancients From Adam to Noah...............................................21 SCENE 4 The Time of Dispersion From Noah to Abraham..............................................27 SCENE 5 Friends of God The Time of the Patriarchs................................................33 SCENE 6 The Silent Years Between Genesis and Exodus..............................................71 SCENE 7 A Nation of Slaves Israel in Egypt.......................................................75 SCENE 8 The Long Way Home Forty Years of Wandering...............................................97 SCENE 9 Conquest Winning the Land, Losing Their Souls............................................115 SCENE 10 Life without Rules The Time of the Judges...............................................127 SCENE 11 Begging for a King Samuel and the Reign of King Saul....................................145 SCENE 12 A Golden Kingdom The Reign of King David................................................173 SCENE 13 Rich Poverty The Reign of King Solomon..................................................201 SCENE 14 Tarnished Gold The Kingdom Divided......................................................219 SCENE 15 Wasted Opportunity From Division to Captivity...........................................225 SCENE 16 Everything Falls Apart Israel Taken Captive.............................................257 SCENE 17 Life in a Strange Land The Exile and Return to the Land.................................279 SCENE 18 A Time of Silence Between the Old and New Testaments....................................299 SCENE 19 God the Son Jesus Before Bethlehem......................................................303 SCENE 20 Bloodline for the Blood The Genealogies of Jesus........................................309 SCENE 21 Announcing the Birth of the King Preparing for Jesus' Birth 313 SCENE 22 A Majestic, Ordinary Childhood Jesus' Early Years.......................................323 SCENE 23 Locusts and Wild Honey John Prepares the Way............................................331 SCENE 24 Lamb of God Jesus' Early Ministry.......................................................337 SCENE 25 The First Miracles Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem.......................................347 SCENE 26 Jesus and the Twelve Choosing the Disciples.............................................357 SCENE 27 A Prophet in His Own Country Jesus in Galilee Again.....................................363 SCENE 28 The Greatest Stories Ever Told The Parables of Jesus....................................369 SCENE 29 The Creator Transcends His Creation The Miracles of Jesus...............................373 SCENE 30 Reaching the Gentiles Jesus beyond Galilee..............................................383 SCENE 31 A Not-So-Festive Feast Jesus in Jerusalem...............................................391 SCENE 32 Sending the Seventy Jesus in Judea......................................................399 SCENE 33 Are You the Messiah-or Not? Jesus in Bethany............................................405 SCENE 34 Moving toward the Cross Jesus Returns to Jerusalem......................................413 SCENE 35 Lengthening Shadows The Road to the Cross...............................................425 SCENE 36 Last Hours The Upper Room and Gethsemane................................................431 SCENE 37 The Greatest Sacrifice Jesus' Trial, Crucifixion, and Burial............................439 SCENE 38 The Dawn of Hope Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension......................................449 SCENE 39 Ordinary People for Extraordinary Work The Life of the Early Church.....................459 SCENE 40 A Murderer Becomes a Missionary Saul's Conversion.......................................473 SCENE 41 A Fisherman's Greatest Catch Peter's Ministry...........................................481 SCENE 42 To All the World Paul's First Missionary Journey........................................491 SCENE 43 Revisiting the Flock Paul's Second Missionary Journey...................................501 SCENE 44 The Last Great Journey Paul's Third Missionary Journey..................................513 SCENE 45 Paying the Price Paul's Arrest and Trials...............................................523 SCENE 46 Shipwreck and Beyond Paul's Journey to Rome.............................................531 SCENE 47 A Quiet Time Paul's Writings from Rome..................................................543 SCENE 48 Letters That Last Forever The Other Epistles............................................549 SCENE 49 A Glimpse of Tomorrow Revelation and Beyond.............................................557 Index..............................................................................................565 About the Author...................................................................................577

Chapter One

SCENE 1

Before Time Began

The Heavens Before Creation

Characters:

Angels; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit; morning stars; Satan

Time Period:

The time of mystery before Creation

Dates:

Before time began, so there were no dates

Where Scene 1 of the Big Story Can Be Found:

Genesis 21:33; Exodus 33:20; 34:29-30; Deuteronomy 33:27; 1 Chronicles 28:2; Job 38:4-7; Psalm 68:19; 102:24, 26; 110:1; Proverbs 8:22-26; Isaiah 9:6-7; 14:12-15; 66:1; Ezekiel 43:7; Matthew 8:11; John 1:1-4; 10:30; Acts 7:49; Philippians 4:18; 1 Timothy 3:6; Hebrews 1:13; 10:13; 1 Peter 3:12; and Revelation 22:16

In Scene 1, Find the Answers to These Questions:

What happened before Creation ? What was God doing all that time?

How old is God?

What does God look like?

Did Jesus live before he was born at Bethlehem ?

Look for this in Scene 1

> The morning stars may have been angelic beings.

> God has eyes and ears.

> Satan was once an angel.

The Big Story So Far

The time before time began, the vast, sweeping eternity before Creation, is often a mystery to us. We have many questions about this timeless time, and the Bible doesn't tell us much about it. Is pre-Creation a biblical secret? Actually, the Bible tells us more than we realize, but we must look for it.

It is important to understand something of this time, for our understanding reveals the nature of God and what he may have been doing during these eons of timeless time.

Questions You May Be Asking

Where did God come from? How old is he? When did he begin?

How long did God live before he created the universe? When was he born? How did God get started?

Some scientists say that the universe is from four billion to twelve billion years old. If that is true, and we don't know that it is, God has been around infinitely longer than those billions of years. God was already present, long before Creation. Does the Bible tell us how old God is? Is there any hint?

The Bible has significant things to say about this, but not in the opening story in Genesis. In Psalm 102:24, the psalmist, inspired by God, writes, "My God, who lives forever." Note that it does not say "My God who will live forever," which would suggest future eternity but not past eternity.

"Lives forever" means that God had no beginning and will have no end. He has lived from forever, lives now, and will continue to live forever. He was never born and he will never die. He always was and he always will be. That's what the word forever means. It is mind-boggling because our minds are finite and we can't grasp something infinite.

Genesis 21:33 and Deuteronomy 33:27 speak of "the Eternal God" who always was and always will be. Psalm 102:26 addresses God, saying, "You remain forever," and 102:27 continues, "You are always the same; you will live forever." The God who has no end also had no beginning. He always was. He has always existed. Eternal and forever speak of no beginning and no end. God always was and always will be. This is hard for our limited human minds to grasp, but it is not too hard for our trusting souls to accept.

What about Jesus? He was born in Bethlehem about 4 B.C., wasn't he? If he was God, how could he be born, and if he was born, how could he be God?

It's very hard for us as human beings to grasp the Trinity , the Triune God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit . The Bible teaches us that God is one God, but three persons. We will fully understand it when we go to be with him. Until then, we have to settle for more faith based on less knowledge than we would like, but the Bible does tell us some important facts.

John 1:1-4 tells us, "In the beginning the Word [Jesus] already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone." This is a profound and clear statement about Jesus before Creation, and Jesus as God, the Creator of the universe.

Hundreds of years before Jesus came to Bethlehem , Isaiah spoke of him as the coming Messiah. "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus has always been God-God the Son, one person of the Trinity . He always has been and still is the second person of the Trinity. He was there at Creation and long before Creation, and he is the Creator . He is not only called Prince of Peace, but Mighty God and Everlasting Father. Jesus said, "The Father and I are one" (John 10:30).

Jesus' birth at Bethlehem was God coming into a tiny human body that would one day be offered as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. We sometimes call this birth at Bethlehem the Incarnation-God in human form. To die on the cross for our sins required a body, and Jesus came into that body that night in Bethlehem.

What does God look like?

The Bible uses terms for God's appearance that are also used for our own appearance. Does God look like us, or do we look like God? Surely that is unlikely, because he is a spirit who is everywhere at once. So when the Bible speaks of the face of God, the hands of God, or the feet of God, attributes that we have, these are more likely functional attributes rather than physical attributes. However, it is interesting to note how many attributes are common to God and us.

God has a face, but because he is truly holy, we human beings cannot look at his face now. The brilliance of God's face is so intense that we could not bear it. God said this to Moses when Moses went up Mount Sinai, "You may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live" (Exodus 33:20).

God permitted Moses to see his reflected glory, and even that was so brilliant that when Moses went down from the mountain, his own face glowed so much that the people were afraid to come near him (Exodus 34:29-30) and Moses had to put a veil over his face. We would not dare to look at the sun, which is God's creation, for more than a fleeting moment. If we cannot bear to look at one small part of Creation, how could we look directly at the face of God that is infinitely more glorious than the sun?

Does God have hands? God says that he has hands. He said to Moses, "I will ... cover you with my hand," so that Moses would not die by looking into the face of God (Exodus 33:22).

What about feet? God told Ezekiel that he had feet. Ezekiel 43:7 says, "The Lord said to me, 'Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet.'" (Ezekiel 43:7). God also refers to his footstool, which presupposes feet, several times (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:49; Hebrews 1:13; 10:13).

The Bible tells us that God's "everlasting arms" are under us (Deuteronomy 33:27). Other Bible references talk about God's arms, such as Psalm 68:19 and Isaiah 40:11.

Does God have eyes and ears? 1 Peter 3:12 tells us that "The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers." So the Bible tells us that God has eyes and ears, to keep watch over us and to hear us pray. Dozens of Scriptures tell us that our God listens to us.

Can God speak audibly? Most of the time, even in Bible times, he spoke to his people through Scripture or through his prophets. Today, most of us have never heard an audible voice from God. We rely on God's Word in the Bible to hear him speak to us.

However, many times throughout the Bible we read that God spoke audibly to his people. This presupposes a mouth and whatever else it takes for God to talk.

What about a nose or a sense of smell? What about taste? The Bible speaks of "a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God" (Philippians 4:18). That tells us that God has a sense of smell, which suggests a nose.

God prepares feasts in heaven for his people, so we assume that he will dine with us (Matthew 8:11: "Many Gentiles will come from all over the world-from east and west-and sit down ... at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven."). If so, God eats, and even feasts. Jesus, God the Son , ate after he arose from the dead, as well as before his crucifixion (Luke 24:41-42).

Does God look like us? Do we look like him?

Although we are made "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:26-27), we probably do not look exactly like God, and possibly do not look in any way like God. He has our five senses-touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight-but he surely has many more than just five senses. He may have five hundred or five thousand senses, or even more. We, of course, will also have many more than five senses when we go to live with God some day in heaven. Heaven will not be limited to our five senses, for there is much more there to sense and experience. God is all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), and present everywhere (omnipresent).

What was God doing before he created the universe?

Have you ever wondered what God was doing through the long stretch of timeless time before he created our universe? I have. What was he thinking? What was he planning? How long did it take? The Bible opens with the Creation story, but much had already happened before then. God had been busy long, long, long before that. Creation is merely the beginning of the story of our universe and the people who are unique parts of that universe.

How long did it take for God to plan his Creation? Could it have taken millions, or even billions of years?

How long would it take for you to design one snowflake? How about one billion of them, or a billion times a billion? We're told that no two snowflakes are alike, yet there must be multibillions in one acre of snowfall. How about all the snowflakes on the thousands of acres on one mountain? Multiply those billions times all the snow in the world for one day, or for one winter-then for thousands of winters. The number would be staggering. Trillions times trillions times trillions. Yet no two snowflakes are alike! How long would it take to plan countless snowflakes with no two alike?

Let's think next about a sunrise or sunset. I like to photograph them. But I'm standing in one small place at one moment of time in a very large world. Sunrises and sunsets are perpetual-one is happening somewhere in the world at every moment. The sun is always rising and always setting, painting literally billions of sunrise or sunset pictures each day. Multiply that times thousands of years. God is quite an artist, isn't he? How long would it take to plan all of these glorious paintings?

Think of the intricacies of other parts of Creation. Think of the planning needed for every leaf and for the design in each one. What about the billions of flowers and flowering bushes and trees? A billion times a billion leaves or flowers. How long to design each one?

Then, of course, there are stars, planets, and galaxies. Can you imagine planning for a trillion worlds or more? Each has its own unique features. Each needed intricate planning. Have you considered that our vast, seemingly endless universe may be only one small part of God's greater domain?

What about the design of every animal, every butterfly, every seashell? Was God planning all this marvelous stuff for eons of time before he said, "Let it now happen?" Of course he was. God obviously must have had awesome plans before he set to work creating our world. Creating a universe with such intricate uniqueness everywhere is one type of creativity-planning it all is a different type of creativity. The two fit hand in glove.

Then we come to the most complex, intricate marvel of all Creation-you, and billions of others like you. Each of us is different. There are about six billion people in the world today, and about 160 million more are added each year. By the year 2025, it is projected that there will be more than eight billion people alive on earth. How many people have lived since the days of Adam ? Would it be safe to estimate twenty to twenty-five billion? That is a large number of unique Creations!

Each of us has a highly complex body, with miles of nerves and blood vessels, a heart that keeps on beating for almost a century, and more intricate design than the finest anatomy book can possibly explain. What about the DNA, the lifemap for each one of us? DNA is different in each one of us. How long would it take to design billions upon billions of unique DNA maps, unique sets of fingerprints, and unique iris prints for each of us?

How do we know God did his planning before Creation began? The Bible tells us that he did. For example, Proverbs 8:22-26 says, "The Lord formed me [wisdom] from the beginning, before he created anything else. I [wisdom] was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born-before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil."

The plans of God are intimately associated with the wisdom of God, whether plans for the Creation of the universe and us or the daily sustaining of our lives. That wisdom, and those plans, were already there at Creation. So is it unreasonable to think that in God's infinite wisdom and planning, he knew your name and your entire lifemap even before he created the world?

When we come to the last scene and move from the course of the world's history into that timeless time beyond our time, the forever yet to come, we will look back and say, "All we have done here on earth is nothing compared to the infinite detail of the heavens and the new earth." Before the dawn of Creation, God was planning all that, too.

Of course, God had other things to do before the Creation of the world, such as creating millions of angels and looking after all the other celestial beings that we may not yet know about.

Were there any other heavenly creatures there with God before Creation?

In Job 38:4-7, where God speaks of creating the world, he asks Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ... as the morning star s sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" What morning stars? What were they?

The morning star s are possibly other celestial beings. They were present when God created the universe, and they celebrated Creation with the angels. What were these morning stars, the celestial beings, like? Why were they created? What is their purpose?

In Revelation 22:16, Jesus calls himself the morning star. This would suggest that the morning stars may be Christlike beings, like the morning star, though of course much lesser beings than God the Son . They are angelic in nature, but perhaps not angels-Christlike in nature, but not Christ.

Angels were also in the cheering section as God created the universe. They were shouting, perhaps singing, for joy. This wasn't Job speaking. It was God speaking to and through Job, revealing startling truths to Job and to us. There will be more about this celestial cheering section when we get to the time of Creation.

Another being was present in the timeless time before Creation. Satan was the first visitor in Eden , and the first to meet with Adam and Eve . He was on the sidelines when God created the universe, but he wasn't cheering. He was plotting how he might destroy this beautiful work.

Where did Satan come from? Did God create this evil being?

God is a holy God, so he could not and would not create evil or an evil being. Scripture suggests that at first, Satan was one of the angelic heavenly beings created a long time before our universe, but then he rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven.

Many believe that Isaiah 14:12-15 speaks of Satan and his fall. Others believe that these verses are only about the king of Babylon: "How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, 'I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.' Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths." Was Satan one of the original morning star s or some other angelic being? God called him "O shining star, son of the morning." Is that another way of saying "morning star"?

(Continues...)



Excerpted from What everyone should know about the Bible by V. GILBERT BEERS Copyright © 2007 by V. Gilbert Beers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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