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Quick Intro to the Bible

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Brief Overview of

The Pentateuch

 

The First Five Books

(Sometimes known as the Law or the Torah)

 

 

1.  GENESIS

Genesis means ‘Beginnings’.  Very appropriate!  And this is where you will find lots of the controversial bits:  The Creation of the World, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, The Great Flood, The Tower of Babel etc. 

 

These stories all occur right at the very beginning of this first book, and if you have ever wondered how it’s possible for some people to believe in creation rather than evolution, come back later and click the link on the left. 

 

However . . . let’s not get bogged down before we begin, because from here on, most of what is referred to can be historically substantiated by archaeology as well as ancient writings from other cultures.

 

The Book of Genesis is mostly concerned with the account of how the Jewish nation came into being, with the story of their three famous patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  This lovely narrative explains why the Jewish people were called Israelites; how they came to live in the land of Israel and the reason they became known as ‘God’s Chosen People’.

 

However, before God’s people settled in the land of Israel they all moved to Egypt to avoid a famine.

 

Hence . . . by the end of the Book of Genesis we have the beginnings of a nation, but they’re in the wrong country, added to which, the people later all become slaves!  They need rescuing.  And that’s where the next book comes in . . .

 

 

 

 

Old Testament Links:

 

*  Bible Intro

 

*  Pentateuch

 

*  The History

 

*  Poetry & Wisdom

 

*  The Prophets

 

The

Creation-Evolution

Debate

Click on the globe

 

Area of

The Garden of Eden

Click on map to enlarge

 

Genesis Family Tree

Click chart for PDF enlargement

 

2.  EXODUS

Exodus means ‘Exit’ and this is the story of how the Israelites were brought out of Egypt and taken back to Israel.  In this book we find the famous story of Moses miraculously parting the Red Sea, leading his people on their amazing escape from Egyptian slavery, then through the desert to Mount Sinai.  (This, too, is a great story and over the years it has become the subject of many movies.) 

 

It was at Mount Sinai that God gave his people (through Moses) the Ten Commandments as well as instructions for making a mobile tent-like temple (The Tabernacle) which would become the centre of the Israelites’ devotion to God.

 

God also gave Moses a series of rules and regulations (later known as The Law) that would galvanise this bunch of raggle-taggle slaves into an organised, cohesive nation of people.

 

The details of all these laws were written down.  And that’s where the next book fits in . . .

 

 

 

Israelites’ journey to

Mount Sinai

Click on map to enlarge

 

The

Ten Commandments

What are they?

Click on the stone tablets

 

3.  LEVITICUS

This book contains The Law (all the rules and regulations).  It’s called ‘Leviticus’ because it was the Levites (the priests from the tribe of Levi) who were responsible for ensuring The Law was upheld.

 

The Law was basically designed to keep the people focussed on God, to keep them healthy, to keep them moral and to secure each person’s civil rights.

 

The people were also given an extremely interesting system of sacrifice, which became an integral part of their life.

 

 

 

Sacrifice

Why would God want his

people to kill animals for him?

Click on the stone altar

 

4.  NUMBERS

How’s this for an uninspiring book title?  But don’t worry.  This book used to be called ‘Bemidbar’, a Hebrew word meaning ‘Away in the Desert’, which is a far better description of what most of the book is actually about. 

 

Having been at Mount Sinai for a whole year (while they were becoming re-acquainted with God and getting organised after 400 years of slavery in Egypt) the people were now ready to move on and continue their journey back to Israel (then called Canaan, or The Promised Land).

 

The book gained the unfortunate title of ‘Numbers’ because the first part of it records the very first census taken, plus the duties and job description of various people and clans.  But after that the book takes over where the story of Exodus left off.

 

So (at Chapter 10, verse 11) the Book of Numbers goes on to tell the story of how a journey, that should have taken them no more than eleven months, became an epic that took them forty years!

 

 

 

 

Israelites’ 40-year journey to

Canaan

Click on map to enlarge

5.  DEUTERONOMY

Forty ‘desert wilderness’ years later, the Israelites were almost back to Canaan, and Moses, their leader, knew he would not be able to complete the journey with them. 

 

But before he left them, he gave the people a series of three talks, basically reminding them of two things:

 

1)  The amazing journey they had just made through the desert.  A journey that had gone so badly wrong whenever they disobeyed God; but how God had miraculously and abundantly provided for them in the desert when they turned back to him and obeyed him.

 

2)  Their Law.  Moses cautioned them that, when they were to get into Canaan, and life would become easier and prosperous as they settled, they must not neglect to keep the Law.

 

So, in this book we find a sort of potted version of their history and their Law as Moses recounts the events.  (Hence the name Deuteronomy which means ‘Second Telling’).

 

 

Mount Nebo

Where Moses died

 

Congratulations!

You have just completed the first section of the bible – The five books of the Pentateuch.

 

The Bible actually becomes more fascinating as we move on, but before we continue, now is probably a good time to quickly review just the Old Testament part of the Contents Page (below) to see how far we have come, and where we go next.

 

 

 

As mentioned before, almost every Bible is laid out the same way.  If you happen to have a Bible somewhere, dust it off the shelf, and compare your own Contents Page to the list provided.  It will help you later to find your way round your own Bible.

 

If you do not own a Bible and are thinking of purchasing one, there are lots to choose from, and many are not expensive.  Some translations are very easy to read and understand, and some use a more academic language, but the story is always essentially the same.  Any Christian bookshop will be able to help you, or if you need a free Bible, email us on:  camelride7@yahoo.com

 

For a quick run through the next section, just click the button below.

 

PS:  Another reminder . . . don’t forget to book-mark this website into your favourites, so that you can come back easily at any time.

 

How the Bible

came to us

in its present form

Click on the scroll

 

Simplified Chart

Bible translation:

Hebrew & Greek

into English

 

Click chart for PDF enlargement

 

 

 

Brief overview of the

History

Click Here