This week I begin to respond to some of the many questions that readers have asked. I will be addressing some of the topics as we go along.
The question that needs to be addressed early is of a reader who wanted to know how to read the Bible.
To this reader the Bible is so complex and just cannot grasp what the whole story is about.
There is however, no formula on which books to read first, so I will give you a very brief summary of the whole Bible so that you know where it is coming from and going to.
The Bible is so user friendly.
A certain man told me that he had read the whole Bible and did not need to be taught anything new by anyone especially by the new breed of preachers who he says seem to be getting more information which was not there during his time.
Whatever his time is, what I know is that God reveals secrets to those He chooses and those that are of a contrite heart.
Do not be convinced that you have read and finished the Bible and that you understand everything, and that you have a reserved seat in heaven. To some the Bible is a novel or a mere history book.
The same thing that can bring prosperity to some can bring judgment to others.
The Bible is alive, Hebrews 4:12 (Amplified Bible), “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power (making it active, operative, energising, and effective); it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and (the immortal) spirit, and of joints and marrow (of the deepest parts of our nature), exposing and sifting and analysing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.”
The Bible is life, through it you can get a house, car, marriage, healing etc. It is God’s Word and you can not separate God from His Word.
Whatever God will do, it will be from the Bible. The Bible is God’s manual to us.
The reason why some sects and false religions do not want the Bible to be read is because they fear that the truth will be known by their followers because God speaks through His written Word.
The reason why people flock to false prophets is because of lack of scriptures in their spiritual growth.
The Bible itself teaches us to read it daily in Joshua 1:8, (King James Version), “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Make an effort to read the Bible everyday and practice what it says. Do not just decorate your office with it.
You can read through it in a year or six months. I know ministers of the Word who read the whole Bible four or more times a year but who are still searching the scriptures.
It is wise never to say you know the whole Bible and never deny that certain issues are not in the Bible unless you are very certain.
Let me give you a basic overview of the Bible.
The Bible is made up of two testaments, Old and New with a total of sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament.
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and some parts of Daniel were written in Aramaic.
The New Testament was written in Greek. For communication purposes, the Bible has now been translated to other languages.
The translation bodies have given rise to various versions such as King James Version, New International Version, Good News, Amplified, Revised Standard Version, etc.
Translation has its own short comings which is why preachers often resort to the original languages to get the original meaning.
Although many preachers prefer King James Version because of its good translation, I advise you to get a version that you can read and understand whether it is English, Shona, Ndebele or any language.
Do not just use it for decoration, let it impact you inside.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is pointing to our Saviour Jesus Christ. From the first five books of the Bible called Pentateuch we read in Genesis the story of creation and the fall of mankind when sin entered the human race.
God begins to do a reconstruction by destroying the whole world by a flood of water. Noah and his family of eight survive in the ark that he built which everyone else refused to be part of. They thought no flood was coming.
People are rejecting the Gospel of Christ even now. Repent dear reader, Jesus is coming. If we fast forward we see God making a covenant with Abraham through his son, Isaac, through whom
He would populate the whole earth.
Later Isaac would give birth to Jacob who would in turn give birth to Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt.
A drought would come upon the land and Jacob’s family would join Joseph in Egypt were he was prime minister and where there was plenty food.
The Israelites were living pretty well until a new king ruled and the Israelites were subjected to harsh conditions in slavery.
They cried unto God and God heard them and Moses was born to be their saviour from Egypt to the Promised Land (Canaan).
Through powerful miracles, God delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage through the Red Sea, the wilderness and Jordan River.
By this time Moses had died and Joshua had succeeded him.
In the Promised Land the Israelites turned away from God and began to worship idols. God sent prophets such as Isaiah to warn the people but they refused to repent.
As a result the Northern kingdom (Israel) was captured by Assyria and later on the Southern kingdom (Judah) was taken to Babylon.
Seventy years of captivity passed by and the Israelites were brought back to the destroyed land and began to rebuild Jerusalem.
God was doing all this in order to reconcile mankind to Him but there was no lasting solution until He had to come down in person and this He did in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ and we begin the story of the New Testament which we will summarise next week.
Pastor Erasmus Makarimayi is presiding pastor at New Gate Chapel. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org