Concise Bible History

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Jesus traveled from town to town, healing the sick and preaching about the coming kingdom of God. He taught that God's kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that is now growing among the faithful, and it will find its fulfillment in the eventual sovereign rule of God and defeat of all evil. Jesus said He will come again someday to bring God's kingdom to fulfillment. He promised a wonderful eternal life after death for those who put their trust in God and obey His commandments. Many of the Jews had expected the Messiah to be a great political and military leader who would defeat Israel's enemies, but Jesus saw His kingdom as spiritual rather than worldly.

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He taught the way to victory is not through force and violence, but through love, humility, and service to mankind. Jesus was not the type of "Messiah" the Jews had expected, and many of them rejected Jesus and His teachings. The religious establishment of Israel saw Jesus as a threat. His claims of divine authority and His refusal to follow some of their religious rules were usurping their authority over the people. This conflict ultimately led to Jesus' execution by crucifixion only three years after He had begun His ministry. Three days after His death, Jesus' body was discovered missing from the tomb, and over the next 40 days Many people saw Him alive again, and He talked with His disciples.

At the end of 40 days, He ascended to heaven, returning to God, His Father.

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Jesus' miraculous resurrection convinced many people that He truly was the Christ and their personal savior as well. Christianity was born, and Jesus' former disciples became its leaders. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, and as the means of our personal salvation from the power of sin and death.


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Jesus taught that love of God and love of other people are the two "Greatest Commandments" that should totally guide our lives. He taught obedience to God and love for all people, both Jews and Gentiles, and even for enemies! Jesus did not abolish the moral and ethical laws that had been in effect from the time of Moses. He affirmed and expanded upon those principles, but He said obedience must be from the heart attitudes and intentions rather than just technical observance of the letter of the law.

Jesus and His apostles gave us a radically new understanding of the true intent of the Old Testament Law; they brought a new era of the rule of love for all people and spiritual truth instead of rule by law. The young Christian communities suffered much persecution from the Jewish religious establishment and from the Roman Empire. Saul, a member of the Jewish religious establishment, was one of the fiercest persecutors of Christians.

One day, while on the road to Damascus, Saul saw a blinding light and Jesus spoke to him saying, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?


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Now known as Paul, he became a zealous Christian missionary and extended Christianity outside Judaism, founding many Christian communities in the Gentile world. Paul wrote many letters to the people of the churches he had founded.

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He explained his beliefs about Jesus, instructed them in proper modes of worship, and sometimes chastised them for moral lapses. He taught that the way to salvation and eternal life is through faith in Jesus Christ and high moral standards, not through obedience to the Old Testament Law. Many of Paul's letters have become part of the New Testament. Through these letters we know Paul as the most energetic and influential interpreter of Jesus' life and teachings. The Jews of that time believed that holiness could be achieved by obeying about rules derived from the Old Testament Law.

But the Gentile Christians did not share that tradition and disputes arose about whether or not it was necessary to follow those rules. Christian leaders, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, decided that the ceremonial and legal aspects of the Old Testament Law - circumcision, dietary restrictions, blood sacrifices, Sabbath observance and many other rules - are not binding on Christians Acts Despite the diversity of the Bible books and their separation in time, there are several unifying themes that run through both the Old and New Testaments:.

The Bible never tells the details of exactly how God inspired the human authors of the Bible, and this has led to much debate and differences of opinion about interpretation. Traditional Interpretation Throughout most of the Christian era, Bible reading and Bible interpretation were confined to religious professionals. Until the fifteenth century, the Bible was available only in Latin. Even when the Bible was translated into other languages, the scarcity and high cost of Bibles kept them out of the hands of ordinary people.

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During this era, the Bible was interpreted according to church beliefs and traditions. There was little or no attempt made to determine the original meanings of the Scripture. Difficult passages "were interpreted as having a figurative meaning, so that they convey, through a kind of code, deeper truths about God, the spiritual life, or the church.

Fundamentalism Scientific discoveries, beginning in the seventeenth century, seemed to contradict some parts of the Bible.

Galileo's study of the universe, Darwin's theories about evolution of species and fossil evidence of the age of the earth were particularly troubling. At the same time, the Bible was often being studied and critiqued as ordinary literature rather than as the Word of God. Some Christians felt their faith was threatened by these apparent challenges to the authority of the Bible.

In reaction, the fundamentalist movement asserted the inerrancy of Scripture: Everything in the Bible must be absolutely, literally, scientifically and historically true. Anything less would be unworthy of God. D from the University of Liverpool for his work on Assyrian generals and their relationship to the king He went with his newly married wife Jane in to northern Iraq where they worked for two months on a rescue dig by the banks of the Tigris river some 30 km north of ancient Nineveh.

Paul was later to work with the Turkish Bible Society in Istanbul checking a translation of the Old Testament into modern Turkish published , and took the opportunity to travel extensively in the country and in some of its neighbours. He has since worked as a research assistant to Professor Kenneth Kitchen at the University of Liverpool on a collection of ancient Near Eastern treaties, covenant and laws. Four times he has taught an adult education class "Archaeology and the Bible" Department of Continuing Education, University of Liverpool.

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