Bible Basics

One day my son’s high school classmate challenged him with these questions: “Isn’t the Bible just like the Koran of Islam and the books that the Buddhists follow? They’re all old books that teach old religions, aren’t they?” My son’s friend is not alone in his view of the Bible. The books he mentioned were all written long before we were born. They’re all believed to be the authoritative word of God. And they all talk about God and people. But that is pretty much the extent of their similarities.

There are important differences between the Bible and other holy books. First of all, the Bible is a much older book than either the Koran or the teachings of Buddha. Consider this: The entire Bible was finished in A . D . 95. That’s about five hundred years before the Koran was written. The teachings of Buddha were not actually written down until ar ound 100 B . C . More than two-thirds of the Bible was completed by that time, and the very first books of the Bible were written 1,300 years before any Buddhist scriptures even existed. So, the Bible has been around much longer than either the Koran or the writings of Buddha.

Another difference is the amazing continuity in the Bible. It was written by more than 50 people whose lives spanned more than 1,500 years. Most of its authors never met one another and yet their writings have a consistent message that develops slowly and carefully throughout their collective work. In other words, the Bible is a collection of writings from God, sent through more than 50 different men, that tells a single story that unfolds over a 1,500–year period. No other collection of books in this world has such diverse origins and yet such continuity and singular purpose! Compare that to the Koran and the teachings of Buddha. One man wrote the Koran over a very short period of time. The teachings of Buddha are largely the work of one man as well and were committed to memory by monks for three hundred years before they ever started writing them down.

However, the greatest difference between the Bible and other religious holy books is not who wrote them or how long it took. The greatest difference is their message. The Bible tells how God reached down to save all people for eternal life. No other book teaches that! The Koran, the teachings of Buddha, and all other religious holy books tell how people must save themselves by working their way up to God. The only holy book that tells us about a God who came down to us and saved us is the Bible. That’s a huge difference!

Posted with permission of Northwestern Publishing House.