What is the Bible?

The Bible is the most printed book in the world with over five billion copies made. Whatever our own beliefs, it has had a profound impact on the way we think and talk about our world. The language and imagery of the Bible has been drawn on in many books, plays, and films; many politicians, sportspeople, and scientists have quoted it; it’s inspired musicians from Bach to the Beatles.
The Bible is a collection of 66 books. Some are poetry, some are history; there are biographies of key people in the story of faith as well as philosophical reflection on God and humanity. There are ethical instructions and practical wisdom, and even some flashes of comedy!
But for Christians it is also the story of God’s love for us and of his plan for the world – it tells us about how God made us, watches over us even when we get things wrong, and offers us the hope of a better future through the life, death, and rising again of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament or Hebrew Bible are also the scriptures of the Jewish faith, telling the story of God’s work through the history of Israel. Christians see the Old Testament as telling us how God made plans for the coming of his Son into the world to help his people. The New Testament begins with the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) which tell us about who Jesus is and what he did. It continues with Acts, which is about the spread of the Christian faith in the earliest days after Jesus died, and then letters written by various early Christian leaders to help new Christians and new churches as they asked questions and tried to follow Christ.