“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth – all you see, all you don’t see.” (Genesis 1:1, MSG)

Long before the stars were hung in the inky velvet of our night sky, God was there. Long before the planets of our universe were assembled in their places, and the earth and sky and sun of our very own planet appeared, God was there. Before there was anything, God was there.

God has always been there.

God is The Subject Of Life. The Centre Of Everything. The Story of the Bible starts with Him and ends with Him

The Bible speaks in majestic, sweeping tones, declaring Him to be Sovereign over all; King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Without beginning and without end, He is eternal, clothed in light, glorious as the sun.

He has stretched out the heavens like a tent, sprinkled the stars in their places,  and established the earth in its course. He is the God of promise, at whose Word the universe came into being. He is faithful, true, and just, and His loving devotion endures forever.

All of creation bows in obeisance to His majesty, for all things owe their existence to Him. All the earth is His and everything that is therein. His Sovereignty is over and above all other kingdoms and His rule is absolute.

The Bible calls this glorious and absolute rule and reign the ‘kingdom of God’ and God’s purpose is to fill the earth with this glory.

This is the God introduced to us in the first pages of Genesis, the One who created both the visible and the invisible, who walks on the waves of the sea, who gives life to all things, and whom all the host of heaven worships.

Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you. For the life of every living thing is in His hand, and the breath of every human being.” | Job 12:7-10, NLT

This is what the Bible says about God. But can the Bible be trusted?

The Bible

“Every part of scripture is God-breathed and useful, one way or another – showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.” (2 Timothy 3:16, MSG)

What we know as the Bible today is a collection of ancient texts, considered to be sacred scripture by both Judaism and Christianity. The Hebrew Bible or Old Testament is comprised of the Torah (the five books of the law), the Prophets, and the Wisdom Writings, while the Christian Bible includes both the Old Testament Hebrew books as well as the New Testament Christian gospels, letters, and other writings. 

The Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible is primarily a literature of faith; recounting the story human history and the human condition, and humanity’s relationship to the God who created us. More specifically, it’s concerned with God and His people – the nation of Israel, to whom He makes covenant promises and to whom, ultimately, a saviour is promised.

The first manuscripts which contained portions of the Hebrew scriptures were discovered in caves at Qumran, to the west of the Dead Sea in 1946/7. Dating from the 3rd century BCE through to the 1st century CE, they are considered to be of great historical, religious, and linguist significance, as they include some of the oldest surviving manuscripts of entire books later included in the biblical canons. They are known as the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’.

Ten more caves were discovered over the next decade that contained tens of thousands of fragments belonging to over 900 scrolls.

Parts of the Hebrew Bible were written in the 10th century BCE, with the entire Hebrew Bible completed by around 100CE. The canon (or ‘agreed collection’) of the complete Hebrew scriptures is thought to have been settled by the second century CE. It contained the 24 books we are familiar with today; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (The Five Books of Moses), Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekial, The Twelve (minor prophets) (The Eight Books of the Prophets), Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles (The Eleven Books of the Writings).

From sometime around the 3rd century through the 1st century BCE a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, known as the Septuagint, was undertaken, making the Hebrew scriptures accessible to the Greek-speaking world. 

The Greek scriptures were in wide use during the Second Temple period (516 BCE – 70 CE), and the text of the Greek Old Testament is quoted more often in the Greek New Testament than the original Hebrew Bible text. 

The Christian New Testament

The Christian New Testament includes the four gospel accounts, the Acts of the Apostles, several pastoral letters to the early church, and the apocalyptic book of Revelation, Jesus’ message to the early churches in the area of Asia Minor.

It continues the themes found in the Hebrew Bible, and, indeed, teaches that these themes have found their fulfillment, resolution, and conclusion in the life and person of Jesus Christ, the saviour promised in the Hebrew scriptures. 

The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work of literature, with over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts catalogued, 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages, such as Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian.

The dates of these manuscripts range from c. 125 (‘Papyrus52’; the oldest copy of the gospel of John fragments) right through to the introduction of printing in Germany in the 15th century. This earliest, widely accepted New Testament fragment from the gospel of John dates to within fifty years from the original writing, an astonishing degree of preservation from ancient times.

Translating The Bible

The original biblical manuscripts were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. 

During the 3rd to 2nd centuries, translators compiled a Koine Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, which was completed by about 132 BC. This became known as the Septuagint and later became the accepted text of the Old Testament in the Christian church and the basis of its canon.

From the 6th century through to the 10th century AD, Jewish scholars worked to create a standard, unified Hebrew Bible, by comparing all the known biblical manuscripts. What emerged was a series of highly similar texts, any of which are known today as Masoretic Texts (MT), and which differed somewhat from the Septuagaint.

Greek remained the language of the early Christian community, but with the spread of the Christian faith throughout the Roman Empire, a Latin version of the Hebrew Bible was needed in the western regions, where Greek was not the commonly spoken language. By the second century, a Latin version of the Hebrew Bible was being used in North Africa and another in Italy.

The New Testament texts, written in Koine Greek, developed over time, keeping pace with the growth of the early church. It wasn’t until around 380-400AD that a Latin translation was made by St Jerome, which later became known as ‘the Vulgate’. Jerome’s translation became the standard Latin version of the Bible for the Western Latin-speaking Church for many centuries.

While there was a degree of debate in the early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the 3rd century.

The canonical Christian Bible (containing both Old and New Testaments) was formally established by Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem in 350AD (although it had been generally accepted by the church previously), confirmed by the Council of Laodicea in 363AD, (although both lacked the Book of Revelation), and later established by Athanasius of Alexandria in 367AD (with Revelation added).

Today (2023), the Bible has been translated into over 733 languages, with 7.2 billion people having some scripture available in their language. (https://cne.news/article/2873-record-number-of-bibles-translated-in-new-language)

You can learn more about the history of Bible translations here: The God Who Speaks.

Is The Bible Authentic?

As a literary document, the Bible is considered to be incredibly authentic, that is, it is a textually reliable document. Copies of manuscripts (and there are many; thousands more than, for example, the works of Pliny, Plato, or Herodotus) demonstrate that the Bible has been transmitted accurately throughout history.

Many of the New Testament copies were made as early as 30-150 years from the events which they describe, a vastly different time span than, for example, Homer’s Iliad, which describes the history of the Trojan War, of which we have 900 manuscripts dating to 950 years after the event.

Is The Bible Accurate?

As a historical document, the Bible has been shown to be incredibly accurate. No archaeological discovery has ever contradicted the Bible, and, in fact, many archeological discoveries have corroborated biblical records, including the discovery of ancient cities and towns, and the existence of historical characters named in the Bible.

Is The Bible Authoritative?

The Bible claims to be the divinely inspired word of God, whereby He has revealed Himself to His creation and through which we are able to understand His intentions. It claims to offer life-giving wisdom, to lead humanity to salvation, and provide meaning and purpose for our human existence (Matthew 10:20, Acts 1:16, 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Peter 1:20-21)

The Bible can be said to be unfailingly reliable and authoritative because its writings are from God himself, supernaturally working through human authors by prompting, guiding, and illuminating them as they wrote. You can read more about this here: https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-global-study-bible/the-reliability-and-authority-of-the-bible/


“So God created humanity in His own image, in the image of God He created humanity; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, ESV)

Full of promise and destined for glory, humanity was formed from the dust of earth.

Like a potter shaping and molding clay beneath his fingers, God fashioned a human being from the light, sifting particles blowing across the surface of the earth. He breathed into the human the breath of life and, in a single, magical moment, this inanimate object became a living, breathing soul. Like everything he sees around him, this God-breathed life is what will sustain the human.

But the human is alone, without a friend and companion suited for him. Nothing in God’s creation is his equal; corresponding to him in all his attributes and capabilities. So God creates a woman, a worthy and appropriate counterpart to the man, ‘fashioned from a part of the man’s side’. She is the final masterstroke of creation, the finishing touch of the Creator’s hand. 

Humanity’s purpose is to rule the earth on God’s behalf, to have authority over it and its inhabitants, and to steward it wisely and well. Our identity will be shaped by a close and intimate relationship with our Creator. We are to be His image bearers, filling the earth with His glory.  

With this purpose in mind, God intentionally creates the man and woman with unique characteristics and differences, embedding these deep within our DNA. We are the same, and yet not the same, equal and complementary, like two halves of a whole. Together we become one, displaying the perfect character and nature of our Creator.

The divine ideal of marriage is seen in this unity; the commitment of a man and a woman to one another, a relationship that will become preeminent to all other familial relationships.

God sets humanity in a garden The blueprint for human flourishing is expressed; access to all of God’s goodness but also necessary acknowledgment of His sovereignty. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die”.

On one hand, God’s abundant life. On the other, certain death. The power to choose lies within them.

The Fall

“The serpent told the woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5, MSG)

The lie of the ages sprang from Eden’s fertile soil.

“God is not Sovereign.”

“He’s no more powerful than you or I. He’s not a truth-teller, nor a promise-keeper.”

If you eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, you won’t die. You’ll be powerful, as powerful as God Himself, knowing everything that He knows, both good and evil.”

There is nothing so dangerous in all the world than a half-truth. Eve saw that the tree’s fruit did look delicious, that it was a truly beautiful tree, and she realised just how much she wanted the wisdom that she would get from eating it’s fruit. 

She was faced with the three primary temptations that all humans have faced ever since, referenced in the New Testament (1 John 2:16) as the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Although these specific terms are not mentioned in Genesis, the underlying themes of desire, disobedience, and pride are evident in the story of Adam and Eve, and their subsequent fall and exile from the Garden.

The Lust Of The Eyes

The “lust of the eyes” refers to the desire for things that are visually appealing or desirable. While not necessarily evil in itself, a desire for those things that we find appealing can lead to the appropriation of things that are forbidden or unlawful, as in Eve’s case.

She was tempted by the fruit of the tree because it was pleasing to her eyes. She was enticed by the idea that by eating it, she and Adam could gain knowledge and become like God. This desire for knowledge and power, driven by what she saw, led to their disobedience.

The Lust Of The Flesh

The “lust of the flesh” refers to the cravings and desires of the physical body. Again, these are not evil in and of themselves. But God had provided everything in the garden needed to satisfy their physical cravings and needs. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not only unnecessary, it was also forbidden.

By giving in to their physical desires and appetites, they violated God’s command and brought sin into the world. This aspect of human nature is reflected in their decision to prioritise their immediate physical desires over their obedience to God.

The Pride Of Life

The “pride of life” represents the arrogance and self-centeredness that can lead humans to rebel against God. The serpent deceived Eve by suggesting that if she ate the forbidden fruit, she would become like God, knowing good and evil.

This appeal to pride and the desire for personal greatness led to humanity’s downfall. By desiring to elevate themselves and be equal to God, they displayed an arrogant attitude and a rejection of God’s ultimate sovereignty, which resulted in their exile from the Garden of Eden, and the sentence of mortality and death being passed upon them.


The catastrophic outcome of what transpired in the garden was that Sin entered the world, and with it, death, spreading from Adam and Eve to all those who would come after them. Humanity was now bound by mortality; dying became hard-coded in our DNA, passed on through each generation.

Sin is a powerful and destructive force that humans find impossible to resist. Since the garden, humanity has been sold under sin, constantly battling against the pull of our own self-will, which is invariably in opposition to God. Despite having the desire to do good, more often than not, we lack the fortitude and courage to do what is right, so powerful is Sin’s influence.

The introduction and continued presence of Sin in the world is what gives death its power over humanity. We die because we’re mortal and death now reigns supreme and we remain dead because of the power that Sin gives death.

Sin is like a sly and sneaky animal, crouching at doorways and hiding around corners. He is a misshapen, twisted, hyena-like caricature of the true king, ruling over his dominion of darkness with a fist of iron, and offering only death as wages for a life of servitude. Humanity called him into existence, humanity brought him into this good world that God had created, and ever since humanity has suffered under his control.

The Promise

“I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, NLT)

Despite the presence of sin and death in the world, Genesis promises that the curse of Eden, and the seeming hopelessness of exile and separation would one day be overcome.

Genesis 3:15 is a foundational verse in the Christian narrative of salvation history, pointing to the hope of redemption through a promised saviour and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

The “you” refers to the serpent, who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the “woman” refers to Eve, or more symbolically, to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The verse speaks of a conflict between the seed of the serpent, representing evil and sin, and the seed of the woman, representing righteousness and salvation.

The phrase “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” is understood as a prophecy of the saviour’s victory over Satan, who would temporarily wound him but ultimately be defeated. This victory is seen as the fulfillment of God’s promise of a savior who would restore humanity’s relationship with God and overcome the consequences of sin.

Hope is coming, and he has a name…

The Covenant

“And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you will be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3, LSB) 

Time passes. Death – separation from the abundant Life of God – has become part of the landscape of human existence, an unhappy and unwelcome stain in the life of every person.

The promise of Eden spoke of a saviour who would one day come to overthrow the curse, defeat death, absorb the penalty of sin, and reconcile humanity back to God. From that day, humanity had eagerly looked for the promised redeemer. But God had other plans to take care of first. Preparations for the coming saviour needed to be made.

God chooses one man, Abraham, from whom would come His chosen covenant people, Israel. He calls Abraham out from his birthplace and home, a place steeped in idolatry and polytheism, and brings him to the land known as Canaan. He makes promises to Abraham, an everlasting covenant between Himself and Abraham’s descendants.

Abraham is told that he would be the father of a great nation, that God would bless him and his descendants, that God would give him the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, that kings would be among his descendants, and, most significantly, that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed.

Paul the Apostle refers to this promise many years later in Galatians 3:16. He explains that the promises made to Abraham were ultimately fulfilled in one person – Jesus Christ – and it is through faith in Him that people from all backgrounds will receive the blessings and salvation promised by God. He shows that the ‘blessings of Abraham’ extend beyond the Jewish/Israelite people and are accessible to all who believe in Christ.

Presenting Jesus as the focal point of God’s redemptive plan and the means by which the promises made to Abraham find their ultimate fulfillment, he says that “this is when the gospel was first preached to Abraham” (Galatians 3:8).

(You can find the promises in Genesis chapters 12:2-3, 13:2, and 14-17).

The People Of God

“Truly I live, and all the earth will be filled with my glory.” (Numbers 14:21, NHEB)

Purposeless and void, God took the chaos and darkness that existed in the beginning and shaped it into light and life. He created humanity, to be his people, his family; to share in that goodness, and to image His glory. He desires to not just be our creator, but our Father and Friend, each of us participants in a close and intimate relationship of knowing and being known.

Through Abraham, the man the Bible calls the ‘friend of God’, would come a group of people whom God intends to be his witnesses. They would be the nation of Israel, chosen by God to show the nations around them how to live God’s way, how to flourish under His good and wise rule, and how to walk in close relationship with Him.

The nation of Israel would struggle with their unique and privileged identity. They worshipped and served God for a season and then, when things were going well, they became complacent and selfish, turning aside to worship gods made of wood and stone, like the nations around them. They abandoned their covenant with their king, over and over again.

Yet, as Paul commented in Galatians, the scope of God’s promises was never intended to be limited to the nation of Israel only. The ‘people of God’ were to be drawn from every nation, and every tongue, a great multitude that no one would be able to number, ‘as numerous as the stars in the heavens or the sand on the sea shore (Revelation 7:9, Genesis 26:4).

The people of God would be all those who, like Abraham, embraced what God is doing for them and who believe and trust in that work. They choose to live God’s way, they submit to His good and just sovereignty in their life, and they walk joyfully in step with Him all their days.

Paul, in his letter to the Roman church in the New Testament, alludes to this identification of God’s people when he comments: ‘If you confess your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). His particular context in this chapter is the faithlessness of the nation of Israel and, by contrast, the reality that all those who ‘call on the name of God’, whether Jew or Gentile, are accepted by God as His children (Romans 4:18).