Is the Bible the Oldest Religious Book?QUESTION: Is the Bible the oldest religious book in the world?ANSWER:
Of all the ancient writings, most scholars agree that the Old Testament of the Bible is the oldest of religious books. It was first written at 1000 BC through 500 BC and the words were given by God to its writers. In comparison, most others are relatively young.
- Koran or al-Qur'an (holy book of Islam) was written in 650 AD.
- Veda (sacred scriptures of Hinduism) written 500 - 1000 BC.
- Tao-te-ching (Taoism book of philosophy) was mainly written by Lao-Tse, who is believed by many to be the founder of Taoism.
- Bahagavad Gita (Indian Hindu epic poem) between 200 BC - 200 AD.
The Old Testament, of Hebrew origin, is the sacred scripture of Judaism and is the first portion of the Christian Bible. The Old Testament is made up of 39 books consisting of:
- the Law given to Moses (the Torah or Pentateuch)
- the History beginning with the creation through slavery and liberation
- the Prophets (Major and Minor)
The Old Testament also includes words of praise, poetry, and wisdom in Psalms, Proverbs, and numerous prophecies of the coming Messiah.
The second portion of the Christian Bible is the New Testament, containing 27 books. Most of it is believed to have been written approximately 70-90 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. The New Testament is:
- fulfillment of Old Testament Law through Jesus Christ
- the story of Jesus' life, work, crucifixion, and resurrection
- proclaims the way of salvation and encouragement for daily life
Its first four books are called the Gospels, which means the Good News of Jesus Christ. The New Testament contains additional prophecies of Jesus' Second Coming to Earth
. In these writings, believers are given additional teachings by His disciples and apostles. They cover how this spiritually given, Word of God applies to life and how to be assured a place in heaven.
God urges us to apply His Word (in Philippians 4:9; James 11:22-25; 2 Thessalonians 3:4) but too often we stop at attaining only an intellectual knowledge of the Bible. Actively applying its content, and seeking spiritual understanding is a vital part of a true and real relationship with
God rather just knowing about
By reading the Bible regularly and asking God for understanding, we can achieve this. Jesus opens people's minds to understand His Word. We are given an example of this in the following verses when Jesus spoke to the disciples: "'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.' Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:44-45). And 1 John 5:20 says, "We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true..."