A Brief Summary of the Bible

In this article I will provide you with a brief summary of the whole Bible. My goal would be to encourage you to read the Bible yourself. If you read this article, but never read the Bible, I will have failed.

A summary of the Bible must involve at least a summary of 2 things:

  • The Message of the Bible
  • The Story of the Bible

These things are distinct. You could summarize the message of the Bible without ever getting into the actual story (or stories). Likewise, you could summarize the story of the Bible without any reference to the message (or meaning). I am going to try to do both.

  • First, I am going to briefly summarize the Bible's Message for you in 3 simple points.
  • Second, I am then going to briefly review the Story of the Bible.

A BRIEF WORD OF INTRODUCTION:

I read the Bible. I do not consider myself an expert on the Bible. I consider the Bible to be an expert on me. It tells me everything about myself I really need to know. It often tells me more than I want to know. But most importantly, it tells me Who I need to know. That is why I read the Bible.

I have been a Christian for over 20 years. For 20 years I have been regularly reading the Bible. For the past 15 years I have been studying and teaching the Bible. Most of the books in my library are, directly or indirectly, about the Bible.

The Bible is a big book that consists of 66 separate (although unified) smaller books:

  • 39 of these books comprise what we call the Old Testament; the books written and concerning events before the birth of Christ (e.g. Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah).
  • 27 of these books comprise what we call the New Testament; the books which relate to the life of Christ and the teachings of His followers (e.g. The gospel of John, Romans, Titus).

This article is for absolute beginners. Theologians and experts can stop reading right now. This summary of the Bible is especially written for those who always wanted to read the Bible, but have been intimidated by the size or, having begun, have gotten discouraged and lost in the details. If you keep your eyes fixed on the basic message of the Bible it will help you understand what you are reading. Lay the following 3 points down next to any page in the entire Bible and you will find something on the pages of Scripture to confirm the fundamental assertions I am about to make.

A SUMMARY OF THE MESSAGE (THE CENTRAL TEACHING) OF THE BIBLE:

1. The Sinfulness of Man

The Bible teaches that men (mankind) are sinners. As such, the Bible confronts us with a world-view very different from what is taught in most schools and societies. We are led to believe from virtually every source that man is basically good, though he sometimes does bad things. The Bible's perspective is the opposite: Man is basically bad, though he sometimes does good things.

I suspect some readers would disagree with this perspective. I know. I've been there. The problem is with our definition of "sin." We tend to reserve this notion of sin for the really "bad" things like murder and rape and racism. We define sin by starting with whatever is "average" for human responses and behavior. What falls below that average we tend to call sin (or something to that effect). But the Bible defines sin differently. God begins by drawing His line at the very top - perfect and perpetual holiness. What falls below this line is sin. That's us.

Now, the Bible doesn't tell us we are sinful to make us feel bad. When your math teacher tells you your answer is wrong she isn't trying to hurt your feelings, nor is your doctor when they suggest you are unhealthy. God is interested in helping people to be honest about their condition, rather than hiding behind some fig-leaves of self-righteousness.

Examples of how the Bible expresses this basic teaching include:

Genesis 6:5 "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually"

Ecclesiastes 7:20 "For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin."

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"

1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us"


Personally I recommend the ESV translation if you are purchasing a Bible

2. The Goodness of God

The second fundamental teaching of the Bible is that God is good. Sometimes this goodness is expressed with the word "holiness." Other times the word is "righteousness." Or again we sometimes read of God's "justice." But the basic attribute of God that is being expressed in all these terms is the goodness of God.

God is good. He is good even when bad things happen to us. He is good even when we cannot understand what He is doing. He is good even though we are regularly surrounded by natural and moral evils in this life. God is good. He is good even when we don't think He is. That is what the Bible says. God is good, all the time.

There is a wonderful story in the Bible about a man named Joseph, the son of Jacob. His brothers hated him. They planned to kill him, but ended up selling him as a slave and Joseph ended up in Egypt, far from his family. While in Egypt he was then put in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Things looked bad. But eventually Joseph was delivered from prison, rose in power, and was able to save the nation of Egypt and his family from famine. When Joseph finally met with his brothers he had this evaluation of all they had done: "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." God is good. Even in the midst of our own sinful choices and their consequences.

Some verses that affirm the basic goodness of God in the Bible:

Genesis 18:25 "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

1 Chronicles 16:34 "O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever."

Psalm 145:9 "The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works"

Nahum 1:7 "The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him."

1 John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love"

3. Jesus Christ: A Good God's Provision for Sinful Man

Finally, a summary of the basic teaching of the Bible would include an emphasis on the provision God has made to redeem sinful people. God's method, simply put, was to allow His Son (Jesus Christ) to die in our place and bear the punishment for all who will believe in Him.

In many ways, the whole message of the Bible can be summarized in these words from the New Testament book of Acts: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Man is sinful, he needs to be saved. God is good, He provides a Savior. Christ is the way, and so the message of the Bible is to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Sometimes this message is called "the gospel." That simply means the "good news." We find this message scattered throughout the whole Bible, both in the Old Testament (mostly by means of promises, prophecies and types) and in the New Testament.

Some examples of this message of the Bible can be found in these verses:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"

Acts 16:30,31 " "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..."

2 Corinthians 5:21 "For He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

1 Timothy 1:15 "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief"


THE STORY OF THE BIBLE

The above 3 points summarize the message of the Bible. But the Bible is not an extended lecture. The Bible is, actually, 1 long story. The individual books fit together into this story. They were written by different human authors, but have been organized and designed by God Himself. The Bible is His Word, His Story.

The basic story of the Bible goes like this:

  • God created everything, and it was good (Genesis chapter 1-2)

  • Adam rebelled against God, ruining himself, mankind and the world (Genesis chapter 3)
  • God begins to work through a long history to bring into the world a Savior, Jesus Christ (Genesis chapter 4 all the way through the rest of the Old Testament). This history highlights our sinfulness (and thus our NEED of a Savior) as well as God's goodness and plan to save His people.
  • Jesus (God, the Son) is born, lives a perfect life (on behalf of His people - believers) and dies to bear the due punishment of our sins (the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).
  • This good news is preached and taught, churches are established for the organized gathering of God's people in worship and fellowship, and the fundamental teachings of Christianity are more fully explained (Acts through the rest of the New Testament).

That is it. That is the basic story of the Bible. Sure, I've left out a lot of details. I will leave those for you to discover on your own. I hope you will.

More by this Author


Comments 13 comments

Bev 4 years ago

Thumbs up, Jason!


skye2day profile image

skye2day 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Jason I happened to see this on the feed. I have been a Christian for 20 years Praise to God. Amen. I read your hub and want to thank you for a beautiful works for our Lord and Savior. You know I learned allot here and believe any that come will learn. The Holy Spirit moves in you brother. U keep on shining the Light. U will I know it. Phil 4:13. May the peace and joy of God multiply in you bro.

I have joined your club. Nice to meet you. It was no mistake. In Christ love ya bro.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

This summary is a nutshell.. type of write to help.. I use the word help people understand what they are in for in the Bible.. it is still the best seller of all times.. and I noticed the Bible has been shortened and animated for the younger readers and children.. but RX this should help.. thank you for the share :)


sarmack profile image

sarmack 4 years ago from Washington

Nice article that gives encouragement and provokes thought.

Jesus Christ: A Good God's Provision for Sinful Man ~ Yeshua, An Awesome God's Son who came to Show us The Way to get to Heaven.

The Bible ~ A 3-D document written through and emanating Divine Inspiration. If you don't See the 3-D, you have missed the Real Reason for the Bible.


voice of one profile image

voice of one 4 years ago from Illinois

Good Hub for beginners in the Bible. Good Job.


pharmacist profile image

pharmacist 4 years ago from Whitinsville, MA Author

@Bev - Thanks Bev!!

@Skye2day - May the Lord continue to bless your Christian walk. Love that verse. Thanks!

@Frank - Yes, hopefully it will let people know what to expect and encourage them to consider it. Thank you sir!

@sarmack - would love to hear more about what you are expressing as the "3D"

@Voice - Thank you kindly.


Hendrika profile image

Hendrika 4 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

This is a really good summary of the Bible and its truth. I am surprised at how well and in short you are able to bring over the principle of sin and redemption.


pharmacist profile image

pharmacist 4 years ago from Whitinsville, MA Author

Hendrika - thanks for reading and for the kind words! Blessings.


Jlbowden profile image

Jlbowden 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

Pharmacist:

An excellent read which I not only found useful, but awesome as well! And of course I couldn't help on clicking the thumbs up button. You really highlighted some key points of Gods book as told by the prophets. And it is truly one long, but also one great story. I am also a christian for over 20 years but have been missing many a bible study and church services as of late because of a prior eye condition. However I feel that your article has given me a refresher course on the bible, while not being able to attend very many church gatherings, or being able to pick up this book to start reading once again, the books of the bible. The book of Ezekiel is probably one of my favorites, but I also enjoy the book of Luke, written by the physician himself. It was good to read something very important to all of us to help make a difference spiritually speaking, in our daily lives and take a break from all of the medical and pharmacological training that many of us have to review because of our particular job fields. Again thanks for that daily bread and it has inspired me to pick up this wonderful book and start reading from start to finish. You have succeeded to rekindle Gods Holy word, in yet one other appreciative soul, to keep me spiritually healthy. Thanks again for sharing.

Jlbowden


pharmacist profile image

pharmacist 4 years ago from Whitinsville, MA Author

Jlbowden,

And you, my friend, have succeeded in encouraging my heart today - a day which ('just so happens') I really needed a little encouragement. May the Lord bless your pursuit of Him. If I can be of any help or service to you, please let me know. Blessings! Jason


Jlbowden profile image

Jlbowden 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

Jason:

You're quite welcome Jason! And I realize we all go through our own individual trials and tribulations, as I believe it also states somewhere in the Bible. I in turn am glad that I encouraged another fellow peer within the community here, who was in need of it. The lord does work in mysterious ways and uses each and everyone of us as a tool, so to speak ,to do his handy work. Take care my friend and will be seeing you around the community.

Jim


Ceegen profile image

Ceegen 4 years ago from Maine, USA

Voted up and useful. Very well written piece, for ANY person reading the bible, not just beginners! Some times "bible veterans" get lost in complicating things beyond the basic message of the bible, and some times they need to be reminded of this.

Oh yeah, and:

"God is interested in helping people to be honest about their condition, rather than hiding behind some fig-leaves of self-righteousness." - I laughed at that one :)

God bless you sir!


Forgotten scriptures of the holy bible 3 years ago

wow, you did an amazing job talking about this post about Forgotten sacred text of the holy bible.

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