Why this website about the Bible and God?
© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 6 August 2020
What is the Bible?
God has made Himself known to people throughout history. Christians believe that the Bible is the accurate record of this. It’s “His story”!1
But the Bible is a big book. It’s also not a single book but a collection of 66 separate documents or “books”. These were written by many different authors during about 1500 years! It’s in two parts, the Old and New “Testaments” (from before and after the birth of Jesus Christ).
Why try to read and understand the Bible?
If the Bible really is the record of what God has done in history, isn’t that enough answer to this question? The point is that He is still making Himself known to people in history, in ways as explained in the Bible. So even now we too are part of His-story-in-the-making! This means we all need to find out how to be OK with God.
The challenge is to increase our understanding of God through the Bible, then do what it (He) says. But it’s not an easy book to “just pick up and read from cover to cover” (although many of its separate parts would be). So whatever way we follow, there are no shortcuts. Yet it’s vital to make the effort. This website aims to give an easy pathway to follow.
Who is this website intended for?
This is the question so many friends have asked me . . . The best answer I have come up with is “it’s for anyone”.
You may have never seen a Bible or read any of it. Or you could have got a Bible and are interested to find out what it’s about. Maybe you are already a committed Christian and have read some or all of the Bible. You might even have been doing this for many years, perhaps discussing it in groups with others. Maybe you have done a formal course of Bible study. So various levels of prior knowledge of the Bible have been assumed.2
How is this website written?
I have tried to write in simple, clear English. I mostly use short sentences. There are plenty of paragraphs and sub-headings to break it up. Footnotes are used to avoid too much detail.
Some words are in italics for emphasis. Occasionally there are sentences ending with an exclamation mark. This is also for emphasis. Or sometimes it’s my own emotions showing through about what I’ve just written!
What version of the Bible is used?
The Bible was originally written in three languages. The Old Testament was almost all in ancient Hebrew, with a few short sections in Chaldean. The New Testament was in the “everyday” Greek (not classical literary Greek) as spoken in the Roman empire in the century during and after Jesus Christ’s life.
The Bible has to be translated as accurately as possible into present day languages. But it has a lot of words and ways of saying things which are very different to what we easily understand. So translating it is a complicated process and differing approaches are used.
I have mainly used the “New Living Translation” (NLT). It is a contemporary English version which uses plain “explanatory” language to make the original meaning clearer.
Sometimes I also refer to the “New International Version” (NIV) where the language is less explanatory. Instead it often uses an “equivalent” English word to translate an original Hebrew or Greek word. This can be useful when looking into the meaning of those words.3
What method is used to explain the Bible?
What God made known about Himself was increased by Him with the passing of time. The range of peoples involved and geographical locations also expanded. The Bible is the history of all this, as seen from God’s point of view.
This website aims to tie all this together and make sense of the vast diversity within the whole Bible. So it is organised by using three main methods of explanation:
- It follows the Bible’s historical time sequence (except for the initial “New Testament Summary” section [NTS]).
- It is all summarised using boxes-and-arrows flow charts, with articles (“posts”) giving detailed explanations.
- It focuses on God’s purposes underlying His actions in history.
Why focus on God’s purposes?
My perspective is that God’s purposes are the unifying theme throughout the whole Bible. God’s actions are the outcomes of His intentions, to produce His results. Because God is all-knowing and all-powerful, He always achieves His purposes. He even knows the outcomes in advance and often predicts them. The Bible is a history-based record of all this.
Here are some key verses from across the whole Bible that overwhelmingly support this focus on God’s purposes:
[NOTE: You don’t have to look up these verses in your Bible – see “Bible verse references” in the HOW-To’s menu.]
Old Testament: Genesis 41:32, Job 42:2, Psalm 33:10-11, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 14:24,26-27, 46:10, 55:11
New Testament: John 12:27-28, Acts 2:23,24, Romans 8:28,29,30, Ephesians 1:9-10,11,12, 3:10-11, Philippians 2:13
Does God have a primary purpose?
If we could know God’s primary purpose, surely this would explain everything else in the Bible. I see this “Why?” emphasis as providing a central connection between all biblical themes.
In Eras 1 and 5 [see 1A3 and 5A3] I have developed from the Old Testament the first part of a definition of God’s Primary Purpose, as follows:
God’s Primary Purpose in all of His creation:
To express His own glorious nature forever, beginning especially on Earth by making Himself known to people worldwide, and through them as they respond to Him.
I emphasise that this definition is based only on my research for Eras 1 to 5 (Genesis to Ruth, Job and Psalm 90).
Further extensions of this definition based on the New Testament, which I have not yet fully researched, could be as follows:
God accomplished His Primary Purpose on Earth by sending His Son Jesus Christ there as a man. God fully expressed His own glorious nature through Him, especially by His death and resurrection.
God will ultimately accomplish His Primary Purpose eternally in Heaven, where His own glorious nature is totally expressed and His chosen people will fully know Him, love Him and be like Him.
Some key verses are listed below that emphasise the purposeful expressing of God’s own glorious nature. He was making Himself known worldwide TO and THROUGH people, and fully THROUGH His Son Jesus Christ.4
Exodus 9:14,15-16, 33:13,19, Deuteronomy 7:9, Joshua 4:24, Psalm 145:10-12, Isaiah 43:10,11-12,13, Jeremiah 23:20, 31:34, Ezekiel 28:22, 38:23, Daniel 4:17
John 16:13,14, 1Corinthians 2:7,10-11,12
What is the overall “big picture” of the Bible?
I have identified nine historical Eras in the biblical record [see OV5 – listed under OV in the Index]. The “boundaries” between these Eras were whenever God changed the ways people were to know and respond to Him. This was mostly when God introduced further “Covenants”.
I have then used boxes-and-arrows flow charts to show the “big picture” for each historical Era.
In doing the “big picture” in this way I have had a strong sense of discovery, that “it works”! My hope and prayer are that it will “work” for you too…
To get started, read the HOW-To’s instructions.
Then go to the INDEX list and:
Start with the New Testament, because it is now the most relevant. CLICK on: NTS, then NTQ and NT1-4.
Start on Chart 1A. CLICK on: Era 1 – from CREATION to the FALL, and work down through the items there.
To get a general introduction, CLICK on: OV – Overview: The big picture.
To get into some of the basic issues involved, CLICK on: CA – Confronting assumptions.
Do it however you want to . . .
You can also ask questions, make comments and give feedback. Just CLICK on “Your Comments” and write what you are thinking. And get replies.
This website is offering you all of this – and it’s all FREE.
1. Using a capital letter “H” for personal pronouns referring to God (“He”, “His”, “Him”, Himself”) is traditional, to convey due reverence. I have retained this usage because it is also helpful in distinguishing these pronouns from those that refer to other male persons (Return to reading)
2. Some places in the website refer to the writings of Bible interpretation experts. These may be too complicated to understand at first. But my hope is that you will get an appetite for digging deeper into the huge resources available for Bible study. (Return to reading).
3. You can get a free download of the whole Bible at www.biblegateway.com, either onto your computer or as an app on your device. This has many English translation versions, also translations in several other languages. There is a look-up tool to find verses quickly, as well as devotional readings, study tools and other aids. (Return to reading).
4. I have listed many more key verses below (but I wouldn’t expect you to read them all!). They are just to show that this is a central, recurring theme throughout the whole Bible. These verses are mostly selected based on the occurrences in the Bible of the words “know”, “known”, “knowledge”, etc that refer to God. Significantly, these verses show that God could make Himself known TO people either positively or negatively, depending on how they were responding to Him.
Genesis 41:38-39, Exodus 6:7, 7:5, 8:10, 10:2, 16:11-12, 18:9,10-11, Numbers 16:28, 24:16, Joshua 23:14, 1Samuel 17:46,47, 2Samuel 5:12, 1Kings 18:36,37, 2Kings 5:15, 19:19, Job 19:25, 37:6-7, Psalm 100:1-3, Proverbs 2:5-6, Ecclesiastes 2:26a, Isaiah 11:9, 45:5,6, Jeremiah 11:18, 22:16, 24:7, Ezekiel 34:27, 37:14,27-28, 38:16, 39:28,29, Joel 3:16,17, Zechariah 6:15
Matthew 11:27, John 8:19, 10:14-15, 14:9, 15:15, 16:13,14-15, 17:24,25,26, 1Corinthians 2:9,10, 13:12, Ephesians 3:2-3,4-5, 1Peter 1:20, 1John 3:2, 4:6,7, Revelation 1:1-2 (Return to reading).