The very first time the word Christian is found in the Bible is in the book of Acts where it says that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). King Agrippa said that Paul almost persuaded him to become a Christian (Acts 26:28). Peter said that if anyone suffered as a Christian, he should not be ashamed but should glorify God (1 Peter 4:16). That’s it. Those three references are the only times in the Bible the word Christian is mentioned.
What does the word Christian mean? It means “belonging to Christ” or “connected to Christ.” Some of the most exciting glimpses into God’s invisible domain are the ones that teach us exactly how we are connected to Him.
True Christians know quite well that we are connected to Christ by faith and faith alone (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 4:4–5). Some still erroneously believe that to be saved, human works must be added to faith. This is not the case. We receive God’s gift of forever life by placing our faith alone in the person of Christ alone.
First and most importantly, Christians are Bible people. For most readers, this would appear glaringly obvious. “Well, of course,” you might respond. “What else would we be?”
Then again, you may not understand exactly what I mean by Bible people. Christians believe the Bible to be God’s inerrant, infallible Word. Christians are to be faithful to study the Bible, seeking to find the correct interpretation so we can do what it says and teach it accurately. There is much more to the Bible than most people understand.
There are books considered by many to be holy books, including the Hindu Veda, the teachings of Buddha, the Muslim Koran, the Book of Mormon, and the Bible. People become Hindus because they are taught out of the Veda. Buddhists study and attempt to follow the teachings of Mahatma Buddha. Muslims believe and follow the teachings of the Koran. Mormons form their beliefs from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
However, there is no book equal to the Bible. There is only one God, and He has spoken to us only through the Bible. The apostle Peter said, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21).
The teaching contained in the Bible is not a record of man’s thoughts about God. It is, in fact, God’s Word about Himself. The Bible says that all Scripture is inspired of God. The word inspired means “God breathed.” Every word recorded in the Bible is the very breath of God revealed in written form (2 Timothy 3:16). Since this is true, the Word of God is living and powerful. The words are spiritually alive, and when wielded by the Holy Spirit, they make a spiritual impact upon readers (Hebrews 12:1–2).
The Holy Spirit moved special men to write down God’s Word as He dictated it to them. The writers’ human minds were active, but the Holy Spirit was in complete control of everything they thought, spoke, and wrote. They used their own words, but their words were guided through the directing hand of God.
God used forty different writers to pen His Word over a period of some 1,600 years, yet it tells one story from beginning to end. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, with a short portion in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. The Bible has been translated from its original languages into many languages, allowing God to speak to many nations and peoples around the world. From Genesis through Revelation, God’s Word, the Bible, is complete and completely truthful. God preserved and protected His Word and brought it safely down to us today.
The result is that the Bible that we hold in our hands includes all the words with all their proper meanings that God intends for us to have. Every word matters. The Bible in its original language is inerrant and infallible. Every noun, verb, adjective, adverb, participle, inﬁnitive, conjunction, and prepositional phrase is in the Bible by God’s design. The Bible contains 1,189 chapters; 41,173 verses in the Old Testament; 33,214 verses in the New Testament; 593,393 words in the Old Testament; 181,253 words in the New Testament; and 774,646 total words.[i] The longest chapter is Psalm 119, and the shortest is Psalm 117. The longest book in the Old Testament is Psalms, and the longest in the New Testament is Luke.
Let’s ask a most searching question. Why did God choose to make His Word known to us? It is because no other book on earth can do what this book has the power to do. Stay tuned!
[i]Roy B. Zuck. The Speaker’s Quote Book.Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997, 33.