The Bible is a collection of ancient scriptures that are grouped in two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament includes the Pentateuch, the books of history, the books of poetry, and the books of prophecy, including the minor prophets (the Book of the Twelve) and major prophets. In the book of Genesis, which begins the Old Testament, God creates the heavens and the earth over the course of seven days, culminating in the creation of humankind on the sixth day, and on the seventh day, God rests and revels in his creation. The humans live with God in a garden paradise, Eden, and they serve him by naming the animals and managing them. But there is a serpent in the garden as well who coerces the humans to betray their loyalty to God by eating a forbidden fruit which grants them the knowledge of good and evil.
Upon discovering the betrayal, God curses the snake, the woman and the man and removes Adam and Eve from paradise, sending them eastward into Mesopotamia. Then there is the age of the fallen ones, the Nephilim. In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, this story is elaborated in full, but basically there are giants in Mesopotamia who are the cross-breeds of humans and the fallen gods.
The conflict between the forces of evil, these fallen ones, sets the framework for the basic premise of the Old Testament. In Genesis 11, in the story of the Tower of Babel, God distributes each people group into a culture with their own language and spreads them out throughout the land. In the next chapter, Genesis 12, God selects Abraham to be the father of his people, the chosen ones, the Jews.
Then Abraham gives birth to Isaac who gives birth Jacob whose name is changed to Israel. Israel has 12 sons, the tribes of Israel, and the youngest of them, Israel's favorite son, Joseph, is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Joseph rises in power in Egypt, and when a terrible famine occurs in the land, the Israelite family is forced to go to Egypt to ask for food for their tribe, and it's Joseph who gives it to them and invites them to live with him in Egypt. After generations and generations of being in Egypt, the Hebrew people are forced into a terrible slavery. For population control, the Egyptians slaughter all the newborn Hebrew boys, but one boy survives, an infant named Moses who like his ancestor Joseph, rises in power in Egypt. Then one day, Moses loses his temper and murders an Egyptian slave-driver. Moses escapes into the wilderness before setting down in a tribe near Midian and marrying.
While out in the country, Moses sees a bush which, although the bush is on fire, is not being consumed by the flames. He stands perplexed by the vision, and suddenly, hears the very voice of God. God has come to Moses to establish him as the savior of the chosen people, the Israelites. Moses is scared to go, so God sends Aaron along with him. Together, they prophesy against the Pharaoh of Egypt, and they summon the Ten Plagues, which are bizarre, supernatural attacks against Egypt, many involving strange swarms of animals. In the final plague, the Hebrew God takes vengeance against the nation of Egypt by sending a spirit of death to kill all the firstborn children in Egypt. Then, in a long chain of strange miracles, the Israelites finally obtain their freedom, escaping into the desert wilderness. At Mount Sinai, God gives the people a new set of laws to govern them. The first ten were the Ten Commandments. The commandments also include very specific instructions on new religious practices including animal sacrifice to appease their God.
After that generation dies in the wilderness for their stubbornness, their sons and daughters take possession of the land of Israel by killing the giants who dwelled there and by conquering cities in strange, miraculous victories, like the battle of Jericho when the walls of the city spontaneously collapse, allowing the Israelites to raid them, or like the battle of Gibeon, when God supernaturally aids the Israelites by suspending the sun, essentially stopping time. These stories comprise the central scriptures of the Hebrew faith, the first five books, the Pentateuch, and in Joshua, the Israelites campaign in the promised land.
Then, they begin the kingdom of Israel with its capitol in Jerusalem. As far as government goes, God has been ruling over the people through "judges" with supernatural powers. But the people grow tired of that, and they beg God for a king. Before long, the true king of Israel finds his way to the throne—David, the man after God's own heart.
But the kingdom doesn't last long, and eventually, the Israelites are punished by God for their disobedience, and the kingdom is destroyed. The Hebrew people are exiled to Babylon, a sort of second slavery, so to speak. But the prophets of Israel begin to talk of a future messiah, a descendent of David (and therefore the royal heir to the kingdom of the Promised Land).
The books of the Bible that tell the history of Israel end with Ezra and Nehemiah. Esther is the story of a beautiful princess who saves the Israelite people from genocide. The book of Job is believed by historians to be the oldest writing in the scriptures and tells the story of a rich, holy man whom Satan wishes to torture, and God permits it, basically as a game to see if Job's faithfulness to God will stand the test of unwarranted suffering.
Psalms is a collection of poems which includes beautiful, inspirational poetry alongside violent songs of the battlefield, calling for the death of the enemy women and children. Many of the Psalms are traditionally believed to have been written by David himself. Proverbs is a book of wise sayings and aphorisms. Ecclesiastes is an long essay about the meaninglessness of life and the vanity of experience. Song of Solomon is the tantric love song of David's son, Solomon and his young wife. Then come the major prophets after the books of poetry, just before the minor prophets which end the Old Testament. Each prophet writes with his own barrage of occult, nightmarish images and visions, each with his own beautiful passages telling the hope of a better tomorrow, and some of them with what is referred to as apocalyptic poetry.
The major features of Hebrew apocalyptic literature are the violent, unimaginable wrath of God, the undeniable victory of the Hebrew God, Yahweh, and what is referred to as messianic prophecy which tells of a future king who will overthrow the government and reinstitute the kingdom of Israel. This messiah would free Israelites from the captivity of the oppressive governments of the earth, usher in an age of peace and flourishing, and heal the guilt of the people so they could be in good standing with God once again (because the temple had been destroyed where they were commanded to perform their animal sacrifices).
For practicers of Judaism, the prophets are the final scriptures. Christians are those who believe in the New Testament. The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ, a man who identifies himself as the Messiah who was foretold of in the prophets. For reference, it has been four hundred years since the last prophet recorded his prophecy against Israel.
Jesus Christ has been regarded by almost every group of people on the earth to be an outstanding moral teacher, the most notable feature of which was abundant grace and love for others. He taught about money, marriage, destiny, freedom, morality, and most importantly, he taught that the kingdom was coming back—but not a political kingdom, but rather, the body of all those who love the Lord God and serve Him by giving their lives to make a difference, to help those who need help, and to show extravagant love to all the people of the earth.
The story of Jesus is told from four different points of view by four seperate authors who each wrote their account on a different occasion. The first three are synoptic, meaning they share a dominant point of view, but the last one, the Gospel according to John, is different than the other three in many ways and conveys a more mystic, philosophical account for the importance of Jesus Christ.
The central climax of the entire Bible occurs when Jesus is wrongfully put to death by the religious elite of his day. The hope of nations had failed to overthrow the Roman government. But then, three days after his brutal execution, Jesus appears to his followers, physically alive, risen from the dead. Paul argues in the first letter to the Corinthians that as many as five hundred of Jesus's loyal followers bore firsthand witness to his resurrection from the dead. Then, in the book of Acts, the church is born to serve as the extension of Jesus Christ's will on the earth.
After the gospels, there are letters that constitute most of the New Testament, including the most important theological dissertation in the Christian Bible, the letter to the Romans, among many others. These letters have been at the center of Christian philosophy and theology ever since their canonization, but without dispute, the most strange and exotic book in the entire corpus is the book of Revelation.
In the book of the Revelation, an angelic servant of God appears to the apostle John in a vision during John's exile on the isle of Patmos. He shares his feedback with the churches of Asia minor, modern day Turkey, and then John is taken on an out of body experience into the highest heavens for one final piece of apocalyptic literature where God shows his wrathful, violent side in one last prophecy vision. For those who fall on the wrong side of God on the Judgment Day, there is unspeakable torture and punishment. For those whom God deems worthy, because of their relationship with God through Jesus Christ, there is a final resurrection when all the chosen ones are raised like Jesus from the dead to live forever in paradise and to rule in the Kingdom of Heaven as immortal, divine royalty, the adopted sons and daughters of the King of the Gods, the God Yahweh.