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Opening THE Book 2 with Rev John

JOHN KINCHIN-SMITH26th November 2018
as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine


Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church

Last week, we thought about how the Bible answers the most important questions that we can ask about life, the universe and everything. Well, if you’re willing to give it a go, where do you start? The first thing is to get hold of a version of the Bible in modern English. Most bookshops sell Bibles. You can borrow one from the Library. You can probably borrow one from your nearest church. I suggest the Good News Bible (Today’s English Version), The New International Version, or the New Revised Standard Version. But why are there so many Bibles? Isn’t there only one Bible?
OPEN BIBLEThe first thing we discover about the Bible is that it is not one book but 66 books written by many different people over many hundreds of years. The Bible is split into two halves: the Old Testament which has 39 books and the New Testament which has 27 books. The Old Testament was mostly written in the Hebrew language, the New Testament was written in the Greek language. So a Bible translated into English changes over time as our language changes. When the Bible was first translated into English 400 years ago, people spoke in a very different way – a bit like in Shakespeare’s plays. (The first English Bible is known as The King James Version or The Authorised Version. It is quite hard to understand today)

The Old Testament tells the story of the world from its creation up to about 200 years before the birth of Jesus. It has lots of great stories, some quite gory and there’s quite a lot of murder and sex! It tells the story of how the world got into such a mess and God’s plan to put things right through a nation, Israel, whom he called into a special relationship. The New Testament tells the story of Jesus and what happened afterwards. It’s probably better to begin reading the Bible here, and I suggest with the books written by Mark or Luke. Next week, we’ll think about what the Bible says about creation and the universe and why we can trust what it says

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