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81- What is the Bible?
Muslims are inclined to regard the Qur'an and the Bible as essentially similar books. The Muslim takes the Qur'an to be a book written directly by God, of which the original text exists eternally in heaven, and each word was transmitted by the angel to Muhammad. So he is led to expect that the Bible should be more or less the same thing to the Christians--a heavenly book similarly written by God and brought down to a prophet. Then he is surprised to learn that the Bible was written by so many different people over so long a period of time.
In fact, the Bible is a "library" made up of 66 different books, which have been gathered together over the centuries and only gradually came to form the one volume which we call the "Bible". These various writings are "inspired by God", not in the sense that an angel brought them down from heaven, not in the sense that the writers were necessarily speaking in a trance--but they are inspired in the sense that God directed the whole thought and experience of the writers, so that they might give a true revelation. And through all these writings there is one consistent theme--the revelation of how God cares for mankind.
Immediately after the creation God calls to Adam, "Where are you?", and from then on God continues to call us. The Bible tells how God reveals to us equally HIS LAW (through the Ten Commandments, and other more temporary commands), HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (in allowing His own people, the Children of Israel, to be beaten by their enemies and exiled, so that they might be led to repent of their sins), and HIS MERCY (in bringing them back from exile and forgiving their sins)…..and above all the Bible tells how God gave to His people their last and greatest chance, in confronting them with His Love in Jesus Christ.
In the thought of the Bible, the supreme WORD OF GOD is Jesus Christ; but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit every page of the Bible can "speak" to us, and become a "Word" which God addresses personally to us.