Read an Excerpt
What the Bible Is All About
Bible Handbook for Kids
By Frances Blankenbaker
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Gospel Light
All rights reserved.
Part One: Old Testament
Think promise — the word "testament" means a promise. The entire Old Testament is the story of the parts of a wonderful promise God made! There are five sections in the Old Testament and that promise is found in every section!
The first five books are called the books of Law or the books of Moses. These books tell about the creation of the world and how God chose a family that grew into a nation — Israel — to help fulfill His promise. It tells how God freed Israel from slavery, cared for them through 40 years in a desert and gave them His laws. (That didn't mean they always obeyed!)
Right from the start, people disobeyed Him, causing one problem after another. But also right from the start, God promised a way to make things right again.
The next 12 books are called the books of History. They tell the story of God's nation, Israel, and start at the time the Israelites entered the land God had promised.
When the Israelites obeyed Him, God defeated their enemies. But more often, God's people disobeyed and got in serious trouble! There were a few kings and queens who did right — but many who didn't! The disobedience led to fighting; the fighting led to Israel splitting in two, and both halves ended up captured by enemies who sent many away to foreign lands. The books of History end at the time some of those people returned to the land of Israel.
In the very middle of the Bible there are five books called Poetry. These poems and songs were written by many different people — including David, king of Israel, and his son Solomon. This poetry describes the greatness of God and the beauty of His creation, gives wise advice and answers many hard questions. The books of Poetry also give more promises of the great leader God would send His people!
SECTIONS 4 & 5:
During the years we read about in the books of History, God sent many messengers, called prophets, to His people. These prophets spoke or wrote what God wanted His people to know. They gave many warnings to obey God and many more promises about the great King and Savior who was coming!
The first five books of prophecy are called the "Major Prophets" because these books are longer than the "Minor Prophets," 12 smaller books that complete the Old Testament.CHAPTER 2
Part Two: The New Testament
The New Testament tells how God's promise came true and how God's keeping of His promise changes everything!
The word "gospel" means "good news." The four Gospels tell the good news — about the King and Savior God promised who really did come!
They tell about Jesus' birth, life and teachings — and how many of God's promises came true when Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. More of God's promises came true when Jesus came back to life!
The Acts of the Apostles tells what God's Holy Spirit did through people who took the good news about Jesus to the rest of the world! It tells how Peter, Philip and then Paul spread the good news, sharing God's promise with everyone — and causing such a stir that people said they were turning the world upside down!
The Bible ends with Letters. Thirteen are from Paul — most written to churches and a few written to people Paul knew. These letters encouraged and taught those people more about Jesus. Those letters still teach us how God's promise changes our lives!
Eight letters were written by other leaders in the early church and were sent from church to church.
The last book of the Bible is a letter, too. It's addressed to seven churches. It tells of a prophecy (or revelation) given to Jesus' disciple John about the future. A lot of this book may be hard to understand, but the great, big promise here is clear: Jesus will come back to Earth, and everyone will know He really is the King of kings and Lord of lords!
How You Can Be a Part of God's Big Story
Exploring the Bible is more than just discovering exciting stories or meeting interesting people. It's even more than uncovering interesting information about God and Jesus. Exploring the Bible leads to the amazing discovery that God has acted throughout history so that you can become His child.
Some people claim that everyone is already God's child. They say that because God created people, He's obviously everyone's heavenly Father. People who say that are only partly right. They miss some very important information that everyone needs to know. By exploring the Bible, we discover the rest of God's big story. Here are the highlights.
God knew you before you were born.
God knew all about you even before you were born! (See Jeremiah 1:5.)
God made you.
God didn't just create the first two people and then let nature take over. God made you to be a special, unique person. (See Psalm 139:13-14.)
God knows you today.
God knows who you are. God knows what you are doing and even what you are thinking! He knows when you want to do things your own way instead of His way. You can't fool Him, nor do you have to try to impress Him. He knows you at your best and at your worst. (See Psalm 139:1-3.)
God wants you to become His child.
Since He made you and knows you, God wants you to know what He is like. He doesn't only want you to know facts about Him, He wants you to get to know Him as a loving and good Father. He wants you to live as His child.
You know what it's like to be part of your own family. You know about ways that family members love and care for each other. You also know that family members sometimes don't get along with each other. God's family, the family He wants you to join, does not depend on imperfect people. It is held together by God's perfect love, the love that has been shown to us by Jesus.
How do you become God's child?
There are a few important things you need to know and then some steps you need to take. Then God will do what He promised, making you a part of His family!
Do you know that the God who made the universe loves you?
He loves you so much, He wants you to be His child!
God's Word (the Bible) says, "God is love." 1 John 4:8
But, do you know that you and I, and all the other people in the world, have done wrong things —
* like lying and stealing
* and disobeying God
* and being selfish
* and hurting others?
In the Bible, the word for doing wrong is "sin." God says that you and I have sinned.
Our sin is what keeps us from experiencing God's great love for us.
The Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
So God sent His Son, Jesus, to Earth. He did this to show how much He loves you. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9
Did you know that Jesus took the punishment for your sin?
Jesus died on a cross. He did this to take the punishment for all the wrong things people have done.
The Bible says: "Christ died for our sins." 1 Corinthians 15:3
Do you know that God is ready to forgive you right now?
If you admit that you've done wrong things and if you believe that Jesus died and came back to life for you, God will forgive all your sin.
God's Word says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins." 1 John 1:9
Do you know that when God forgives you, you become His child?
God wants you to be in His family!
God's Word says, "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
Do you know that when you become a part of God's family, God gives you an awesome gift — eternal life?
This means Jesus will be with you now and forever!
The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
How to ask to be God's child:
You can talk to God in your own words. But here are some words to help you get started!
I'm sorry for the wrong things I've done. I have disobeyed.
I'm glad Jesus died for me and came back to life again! I'm glad Jesus wants me to live with Him forever in heaven.
Please forgive me and make me part of Your family. Help me follow You by loving others.
Thank You for loving me and accepting me into Your family. Thank You for Your promise to always be with me.
Welcome to God's Family
To remind yourself — and everyone else who looks at this book — that you have become a child of God, fill in this certificate.
I want everyone to know that on
became a child of God by asking Jesus to forgive my sin and to be with me forever.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1
Did you know that you can talk to God anytime?
Talking to God is called praying. You can pray out loud or just with your thoughts. It's great to talk to God when
* you're angry, sad or worried;
* you're happy, glad or thankful;
* you've done wrong and are sorry;
* you need anything at all!
God loves you. He wants to hear from you. He always listens.
Did you know that you can get to know God better?
God gave us a wonderful book. It's called the Bible. It tells about God and what He wants us to do. A good place to start reading the Bible is the book of Mark. It's the second book in the New Testament.
You can grow as God's child — you never stop growing in God's family!
One way to grow is to show His love to others! That is what God's Word says to do.
"Be kind ... to one another, forgiving each other." Ephesians 4:32
When you are kind to people, you are showing them God's love.
Then they are glad to learn that God loves them! You can tell them what you know about Jesus.
Talk to God every day. Read His words to you in the Bible. Do the things it says to do!
Spend time with other people who are part of God's family.
God will help you do this — all you have to do is ask Him! God loves you and He is GLAD to have you in His family!
Let's Look at the Books of Law
The first five books of the Old Testament are called the books of the Law. They tell about creation, the entrance of sin into the world and the early years of the nation through whom God would send the Savior.
What is "the Law"?
Most of us think of "the Law" as the Ten Commandments God gave Moses on Mt. Sinai. But Leviticus and Deuteronomy record many other instructions God gave to Moses at the same time. These first five books are often called "the Pentateuch," which means "five volumes." They all make up what Israel recognized as the Law.
Why did God give Israel the Law?
The Law was given to show God's holiness and people's sinfulness. The Law made Israel different from all the other nations and marked them as God's chosen people. The Law also prepared Israel for the coming of the Savior by showing that a sacrifice was necessary for forgiveness.
What does the New Testament say about the Law?
1. Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law, not to do away with it (Matthew 5:17). He is the only person who has ever kept the Law perfectly.
2. The Law shows us our sin and points us to Christ (Romans 7:7; Galatians 3:24). God gave the Law so that we could see our own sinfulness. Then He sent His Son, Jesus, to perfectly fulfill the Law and die as the payment for our sin.
Let's Look at Genesis
Luke 24:27 and John 5:46 tell us that Moses wrote part of the Old Testament. Guided by the Holy Spirit of God, Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible.
"Genesis" means "beginnings." Genesis tells us about the beginning of everything except God. God was always there. Genesis tells us about the beginning of:
* the world (Genesis 1:1-25)
* people (Genesis 1:26 — 2:25)
* sin in the world (Genesis 3:1-7)
* God's promise of salvation (Genesis 3:8-24)
* living as a family (Genesis 4:1-15)
* civilization (Genesis 4:16 — 9:29)
* the nations and languages of the world (Genesis 10 — 11)
* the Hebrew people — the nation of Israel (Genesis 12 — 50)
* The creation of the world (Genesis 1,2)
* Sin in the world (Genesis 3,4)
* Noah and the flood (Genesis 5 — 9)
* The beginning of nations and languages (Genesis 10,11)
* Abraham's family: God's people in the land God gave them (Genesis 12 — 38)
* Joseph: God's people going to Egypt (Genesis 39 — 50)
Genesis is the first book of the Bible. It is the first of five Bible books called the Books of the Law.
Connecting to Jesus in Genesis
God's First Promise to Send a Savior
Near the very beginning of this book, chapter 3, we see the sin of the first people. The woman was tempted by the serpent to eat of the fruit of the tree. "She took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it" (Genesis 3:6). When the first man and woman were tempted by the serpent — Satan — they sinned. They did not do as God had told them.
God said that Satan would be crushed by a child born to this woman. This promise came true many years later when Jesus died on the cross. Genesis 3:15 is the first promise of the coming Savior.
God Chose a People Through Whom the Savior Would Come
God promised that the Savior would come through Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), Isaac (Genesis 17:19-20), Jacob (Genesis 28:10-14), Judah (Genesis 49:10) and (hundreds of years later) David (2 Samuel 7:5-17). Matthew 1:1 says that Jesus Christ is from the family of Abraham and David — just as God promised.
As you read through the book of Genesis, look for these names: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah. These are people in the family from which Jesus came. Imagine, God had already planned to send a Savior to die for us. He loved His people very much even at the beginning of the world!
Pictures of the Coming Savior
Genesis has some exciting stories that are like pictures of what Jesus came to be. Adam and Eve's son Abel was killed, even though he had done nothing against his brother. Jesus also was killed, and He did nothing wrong at all. Noah's ark saved his family; Jesus is like the ark, saving from sin all who are in God's family. Joseph gives another picture of Jesus. Joseph was mistreated, and unfairly put into prison, yet he did not try to "get even." He forgave his brothers and saved them from famine. Jesus also forgave those who mistreated him. He offers salvation from the punishment for sin.
Excerpted from What the Bible Is All About by Frances Blankenbaker. Copyright © 2011 Gospel Light. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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