A book placed on the altar in church ?
A book of dangerous religious bigotry ?
A book that tells us what to do ?
A book that tells us what not to do ?
A book dictated by God to holy men ? (never to holy women, perish the thought..)
A book that is so last year, read only by your grandparents and boring ministers ?
For starters, the Bible is not one book, but a collection of many books, some of which are themselves compilations.
Most of the authors are unknown, and some parts have been mis-attributed to people named or described in the text. There have been (and still are) arguments about what should be included in the Bible. And there are some surprising inclusions.
The Old Testament
Books written before the birth of Jesus.
You can find
history books, and where the facts run out, historical speculation
poetry - including a complete book of erotic poetry
books calling for social, religious and political reform
More books written before the birth of Jesus.
They are similar to the old testament, but for various reasons were not considered to have the same standing as the Old Testament by the compilers of the Bible.
The Apocryphal books are normally found in the Bibles of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches but not in those of the Protestant churches
The New Testament
Written soon after the life of Jesus
The New Testament includes
books about the life of Jesus, written largely from eyewitness accounts
a brief history of some the earliest Christian churches
collected letters written to churches and individuals
and a book about and for the churches undergoing state persecution, written in very obscure language to escape the eye of the authorities
new page 28 August 2010