The Bible is unique. It is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. One who reads the Bible should therefore seek the guidance of God in understanding what is written in the Bible. Bible means – a collection of scriptures written by various Prophets who were led by the Holy Spirit. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is a divinely inspired book. Recognition should be given to the human elements utilized by the Holy Spirit in giving us God’s Word. God has revealed Himself and His plan of Salvation to the believers of God. It would be necessary to secure the revelation in a fixed, written, and authentic form so that the truth would not be lost in the transmission.
The idea of the Bible was not a late after thought in the history of salvation but was in the process of being formed almost from the beginning. We must seek to apply the teaching of the Bible to our present situation. For God’s Word is for yesterday today and forever. If Bible is a living revelation of God to us, as we say it is, then we must apply the principles discerned in that ancient history to our life situation today. It is true that only for the simple believer, a hidden or deeper meaning embedded in the words of scripture is revealed. This hidden meaning was the pure Word of God to the mature Christian and much to be preferred over the simple, literal meaning. Faith, moral, conduct and ultimate goal of the Christian in his pilgrimage are the four different levels of meaning we find in the Bible.
Sixty six books (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament) were collected and brought together to print the Bible. The first 5 books are written by Moses and preserved among Samaritans. The Bible is not a book which teaches about religion but it teaches the Truth, the Truth of God. A distinct difference separates the Old Testament and the New Testament, but a fundamental unity joins the two Testaments. The Old Testament is the preparation for the New Testament. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old. For instance the practice of Sacrifice which began as early as Genesis 4:4 and became an officially commanded practice of the Old Testament under the law given through Moses was carried through to the climax once-for-all by the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. The central theme of the Bible is “God’s work to bring redemption to humans”. God is the central character. Bible is focused on redemption and its implications for our lives.
The Bible begins with the creation of the universe and humans. The first man and woman sinned in deliberate rebellion against God breaking their fellowship with God. Their sin is carried from them to all of their descendants. So we are all accountable to God for this sin.
The Bible then proceeds to develop the themes of –
1) God’s Redemptive Grace
2) Teaching the people the proper way to approach God for forgiveness
3) The life, death and resurrection of Jesus as the provision of forgiveness and rebirth for those dead in sin.
4) The Church (to be lifted up souls) as the New Covenant Community, the Redeemed people of God on mission for Him in the world.
5) The life to come, in heaven for the redeemed and in hell for who are not born again.
The theme of the two Testaments (Covenants) is important to the unity of the Bible. God’s plan of redemption, bringing people into a right relationship to Himself, begins with the call of Abraham and establishment of a Covenant with him. This Covenant was reaffirmed with his son Isaac, with Isaac’s son Jacob, whose name was changed to
The major portion of the Old Testament is the story of repeated failure to live up to the Covenant responsibilities. The Prophet Jeremiah looked forward to a new day. When God would write His Covenant on the hearts of the people but not on the stone tablets or on paper, so that it could not be broken.
Further Jesus had to come to this world to shed His blood as a Sacrifice to sins of men who did not obey the commandments of the Covenant of God. Jesus’ death on cross satisfied the requirements that all Covenants be established by blood just as was the first Covenant. Christ’s blood established an everlasting Covenant. The resurrection (the act of persons being brought from death into unending life) and atonement (Removing barrier that sin creates or Reconciliation between God and humanity to restore fellowship with God) and pouring out His Spirit into this world was important because God has chosen Jesus to write the principles of new Covenant on the heart of one who believes in Jesus’ coming into this world, for redemption (Paying price for delivering from sin). God has given authority to Jesus to write His commands on such person’s heart with His Holy Spirit.
This shows remarkable unity of the Old and New Testaments as anticipation and fulfillment. God is one and only one God exists and rules this world. The Holiness of God teaches the completely otherness of God. It is very, very important for humans to learn that God is Holy and must be treated with reverence. Since God is sovereign He must be obeyed at all costs. All persons must give account to Him. God is faith full. God is not fickle minded and changeable, He is faithful and unchanging. God is our Father and He loves us. A person is a creature of God. But He is made in the image of God. God put His Spirit in Human being so that he can have fellowship with God and have the responsibility in maintaining God’s creation. When Adam and Eve sinned, the Spirit given to them is taken back, thus lost the fellowship with God. Except Jesus, everyone in this world sinned against God.
Need for redemption has five aspects:
1) Guilt must be forgiven and removed
2) People must learn responsible obedience
3) They must learn reverence and respect for God
4) They must learn to live by faith
5) They must learn to live for God’s purposes, not for selfish purposes.
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who took human life, living as one person who was both God and human in a single human life on this earth. His coming was prophesied in the Old Testament as the coming of a Messiah, a suffering servant of God who would redeem His people. Only body was given to Jesus but the Spirit was God’s. God Himself lived in Jesus and bore all sufferings and carried the sins of His people and redeemed them from sin. God spoke through Jesus. The ultimate message from God is clearer, more forceful way than God had ever spoken by Prophets. Everyone saw God’s forgiving love on cross.
The Holy Spirit of Jesus is the agent of rebirth and supplies both nurture and guidance to the Christians, equipping each believer for an effective life of service to God in the Church and in the world.
Salvation comes to the individual person upon a response of faith and in receiving the free gift, the Holy Spirit of God. Salvation includes both forgiveness of sin and rebirth of the sinful human nature. Salvation gives a new style of living under the leadership of God, but not under the leadership of any elected person for the purposes of God in this world. Salvation should include spiritual growth, ever moving towards the goal of Christ like living.
The God’s church is the souls of lifted up people. It is seen as the New Covenant Community. It is the out growth of the people of God in the Old Testament era. The Church is the Body of Christ. His commandments and principles are written on the heart of this Body.
The Bible points to a time of ultimate fulfillment when God shall complete what He has been doing in this world from the beginning of creation. Jesus will be consummated (fulfill the agreement with God), the dead will be resurrected, and all the persons will have continued existence. With the not born again spending eternity in hell and believers in Christ spending Eternity with God in heaven.
God created Adam and Eve and imposed a law before them to not to eat the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. When they disobeyed the Word, curse came upon them and on earth. When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal his days will be a 120 years”. The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain and Lord said, “I will wipe mankind whom I have created from the face of the earth, men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and the birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them”. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was righteous and blameless among the people of his time and walked with God. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence, so God said to Noah “I am going to put an end to all people, I am surely going to destroy both them and earth. Make yourself an ark and go into it with your whole family and seven of every kind of animal with their mates”. Noah did everything what God commanded him. Thus Noah and his whole family with all animals were saved by God. The ark is thus symbolized as the ship of Salvation. God made Covenants with His people so that they can follow Him and be blessed by Him. The meaning of Covenant is an agreement between both God and His people.
COVENANTS OF GOD:
1) The Covenant between Noah and God – Noah was a righteous man. God made a divine oath or promise with Noah not to repeat the flood. The RAINBOW stands externally as a sign of God’s promise. It protected remnant life of both human and animal on earth.
2) The Covenant between Abraham and God – Abraham was a man of faith. A descendant of Noah’s son, Shem. Terah was his father. Through Abraham God had revealed His plan for Human salvation. God called Abraham to migrate to
Whoever obeyed the Covenants were blessed and disobedient were cursed. Curse followed the punishment. This was the agreement of this Covenant. God’s eternal devotion to His covenant does not nullify the effect of the curses. They are real and enforced, for “the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God”. God works for His Covenant people. He protected them in wilderness, gave them land, and gave the power to get wealth. The blessings of Covenants are more than a part of a ceremony. They became reality in the life of His people so that God can establish His Covenant and thus to accomplish His purposes for His creation. He wanted His people to realize that not their power and the strength of their hands produced the wealth but God is the one who provides everything to His people. This did not mean that all God’s people would be rich or that only the rich could enter the Covenant. Whoever enters into this Covenant would be made empty first and then God starts giving them without the strength or works of their hands thus making them to realize the power of God so that they would not say “ My power , my strength is the source of this production and wealth”. For His people God has provided Manna from heaven, nobody worked during that period. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell during those forty years of exile (Deut Ch 8).
Sadly, God’s people did not mirror Him in faithfulness to Covenant. King Solomon broke the Covenant by worshipping other Gods. God had to punish. Even in punishment, He remained faithful, preserving two tribes for the family of David and protecting the people from enemies. They have gone to even the extreme step to kill the Prophets to whom God’s Word came and wanted to tell them their ignorance to the Covenant would lead them to punishment. For some, Covenant keeping led to mercy and truth.
A strong Word of ‘JUDGEMENT’ rebuked those who entered God’s Covenant with false intentions and results.
3) The Covenant between God and David: God’s Covenant has a future. It was not limited to a brief period of human history. God’s Covenant with Israel was a Covenant pointed to all the earth, even to the Gentiles (Isaiah 55:1-5). If
“I will put My Spirit in you and in your children and in children of your children and write My Commands on your hearts, I will be your God and you will be my people”- Jeremiah’s strongest contribution to Covenant belief was his portrait of God’s promise of a New Covenant, a Covenant whose stipulations would not stand on tablets of stone as did the Old one but whose obligations would be deeply nested in the hearts of the people, so they would have WILL and POWER to obey. Love and Forgiveness would characterize God’s relationship to the New Covenant people. This New Covenant is the extension to the Covenant with David. The New Covenant would bring a new David and a new era of peace not only with human enemies but with the beasts of the natural world.
According to Zechariah, the Old Covenant agreement could be brought to an end because the principles of that Covenant were not met by the people.
In Malachi the old Covenant language ends with God’s announcement that the “Messenger of the Covenant” will come representing God, proving the Covenant relationship is not a thing of the past. He will show how God continues to punish those who ignore or reject His Covenant.
The sign of the New Covenant is ‘LORD’S SUPPER’. Jesus used the Last Supper as opportunity to interpret His ministry, and particularly His death, as fulfillment of Jeremiah’s New Covenant's prophecy. His death represented the shedding of the blood of the New Covenant. People who repeated the rites of the Last Supper drank the blood of New Covenant, remembering His death as the sacrifice for sins.
The birth of John the Baptist is the evidence of God’s Holy Covenant. He was the messenger of the New Covenant. Christ had to come to this world to fulfill God’s New Covenant but before Christ, John the Baptist had to preach the message of repentance and announce the coming of Messiah. New Covenant is the continuation of the Old Covenant but not to nullify it. But some of the principles have been made easy so that everyone can follow them.
The curse brought upon the people by not meeting the principles of Old Covenant was borne by Christ and with the blood of Christ everyone had a chance to redeem Himself from the curse. Now they have a
The promised gift of God, the Holy Spirit would be given to everyone and these mortal bodies would be taken away by the immortal bodies if everyone would be transformed like Christ. Jesus was the perfect Covenant Mediator, providing an eternal inheritance in a way the Old Covenant could not. Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied the requirement that all Covenants be established by blood, just as was the first Covenant (Exo 24:8). Christ’s blood established an everlasting Covenant .This Covenant Community is called “Church of Christ” or “The Bride of Christ” or “ The Holy Spirit of Christ” thus making Trinity complete, God-Jesus-Holy Spirit. The Church – Whoever gets victory over devil will be the part of this true church, which is going to be lifted up when Christ comes with power. This church is Holy. No unholy thing can be united with the church.
The Old Covenant (Testament) and the New Covenant (Testament) are the two parts of the Bible; rest on God’s gracious action in redeeming His people and making a covenant with them. Old Testament gives us the account of generation of Adam and New Testament gives us the account of generation of Jesus. A generation also represents those who can gather or worship, so that the gathered worship community forms a generation. God’s Salvation is available through the generations that are forever (Isa 51:8).