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What the Bible is about and how to read it

For years Bibles were only printed as heavy black books. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why the image of the Bible often is that it is old and boring. At the same time, it's the most sold book ever. But the Bible is so much more than just a book. It inspired people, pushed them into action and changed the world. You want to know how? Well, people started to read the Bible, they understood a deeper meaning of the text and they changed. And with them, the world around them changed.

Nowadays you can buy Bibles in fancy colors and creative outfits. It doesn’t matter how it looks like, it’s the stories and the texts what it’s all about. For some, the Bible contains just fairy tales from ancient times. For others, they find something very valuable for their life inside the text.

Books in the Bible

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Protestant Version
Books in the Bible

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Catholic Version
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Where does this book come from?

The world of the Bible is a strange one to us. It's Eastern, Jewish, old, different. But it is also human, universal, profound, beautifully symbolic, and filled with familiar emotions. The Bible talks about then, over there, but also about here and us. So, the Bible is an old book from another time and another culture. To understand this book, it’s good to know something more.

First of all, the Bible is not just one book, but it’s a collection of many books. The word ‘Bible’ comes from the Greek ‘Biblija’, which means ‘books’ or ‘library’. The books are written by a variety of people, by kings, prophets, scientists and just common folks. In the books, you will find many different kinds of texts, namely history, biography, laws, and poetry.

Also, the books in the Bible are not written at ones, but in a period of more than 1000 years.

Because the books of the Bible are written in a long period of time, they originate from different cultures. You read from ancient Egypt, Assyria, the Persians, the Greek empire from Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire from Caesar August.

It isn't easy to 'unpack' the Bible, but if you make the effort, a whole new world will open up for you.

ANNO DOMINI

Did you know our agenda is aligned with Jesus? We talk about ‘Anno Domini’ when talking about a certain year. Who is this Jesus who has so much influence throughout our history? Read it »

Two parts of the Bible

The Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament describes a period of more than 3000 (!) years. The New Testament is about a period of fewer than 100 years.

Mark Twain

It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me,
it is the parts that I do understand.

Sir Isaac Newton

I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God,
written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.

The Old Testament

In the Old Testament, you will find a variety of people trying to understand who God is and how to follow him. Sometimes it’s a complicated book because you see different ideas about who God is. Sometimes he is lovely, sometimes he is tough, sometimes he is forgiving, sometimes he punishes. Sometimes he is the only one, sometimes he’s the greatest of many Gods. And all these different people understood God differently, also limited by their own worldview and the culture they lived in.

The New Testament

In the New Testament, everything is circled around Jesus Christ. With him, everything changed. With him, also the idea of who God is changed drastically. One day Jesus explained to his friends: ‘When you have seen me, you have seen the Father’. So, we can only understand God by what we understand from Jesus. That is why the Bible is a very interesting book. Every day you have to wrestle yourself with the book, with your own ideas and convictions and the question of what Jesus showed us. In the end, God showed that he is Love by sending his own son into the World. The God he showed is the God who is love.

YouVersion on all devices

The Bible on Mobile

There was a revolution in Bible use when the Bible became available for more people. The invention of the Book Press in the 15th century helped to spread the Bible rapidly. Soon the Bible became available in more and more translations, also inspired by the conviction of people like Maarten Luther who translated the Bible in German. From then on not only people who did study the ancient languages (Greek, Hebrew, Latin) were able to read the Bible but every man who learned to read.

More and more the Bible is read on mobile devices. Nowadays the YouVersion Bible app is the most downloaded and used Bible app and is installed on approximately 400 million devices. You don't have to carry a heavy book, but the Bible is available in hundreds of languages and many versions of translations, just in a tab or a click. Download the app for free »

How to Read The Bible

Do you want to dive deeper into the Bible and How to Read The Bible? Explore more on the website from The Bible Project, where you find thorough, inspiring and relevant information about the Bible and how to understand the Bible.

Watch the teaser of their series 'How to Read the Bible'

Explore more

The 12 disciples of Jesus

Who were his closest friends?

Friends

Who were the closest friends of Jesus he shared the most of his time with? Here a short explanation about their names and their lives.

Are the gospels reliable?

A summary of the existing opinions.

There simply isn’t any hard evidence

There will be no end to the debate on whether or not the gospels in the Bible are reliable. These books were penned centuries ago and there simply isn’t any hard evidence for historians to use. Here a summary of the existing opinions.