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Short description

A compact companion to the Bible in plain English: Biblio-file sets the Bible story from the past to the future into context for today's Christian. It summarises each Bible book, outlines major Christian teachings and opens up the Bible's plan for the future. The much revised Second Edition retains the original's loose-leaf standard 6-ring binding.

Long description

It is not enough just to stay in the shallow waters of favourite texts and shortened versions of the Gospel story, valuable though such may be. All Christians will benefit greatly from a whole-Bible study.

The canvas before us is immense. The story starts before the beginning, because when there was no time, God was there; and it goes on beyond the end. In all this huge story, where do we stand? Are we in the middle, at the end or what? And if the story is not yet finished, what are we meant to be doing? What's our part in all this?

Read through the various sections of Biblio-file, keeping your Bible by you, and you will gain a sense of perspective.

This was Gordon Spratt's project. The bulk of the work on prophecy and the "dispensational" view of scripture was his; and the Doctrine Section developed from an earlier work. As Bos Menzies worked with him on the rest of the book, their concern was that Christians should be helped to understand the message of Scripture. Then they could be excited by it, and challenged. And all this without becoming so fascinated by past events, and so enthralled by future wonders that you fail to see what your own focus should be. The prime focus we need is upon what God is saying to us, now. The second is: Am I responding to Him as He wants me to?

In all writing about the last times, there is inevitably a call for judgement and the expression of opinion. The Lord Himself told His disciples that precise knowledge of God's timing in such matters was under God's own authority and not for us to know. But we do know of God's intention that the whole universe will be filled with praise and delight in Him. His Son will be honoured - acknowledged as the Messiah, the anointed One, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

This second, considerably revised, edition of Biblio-file is dedicated to the Lord in the hope that it will encourage God's people - everywhere. The Lord will bless those who study His word.

Publisher's comments

Other Books by Gordon Spratt are available from STP.

Additional information is available at the Biblio-file's own web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition

Reading and Understanding the Bible
A Book by Book Outline of the Old Testament
A Book by Book Outline of the New Testament
The Inspiration and Preservation of the Bible

An Introduction to Christian Doctrine: Foundation Stones

An Understanding of Biblical Prophecy


Author biography

Gordon Spratt (d.1993) was for many years engaged in Bible teaching throughout Britain, increasingly so following his retirement from a responsible role within Unilever. He had a particular interest in encouraging the young. This was reflected in the straightforward style of his speaking and writing.

Bos Menzies has been Senior Teacher (Curriculum) in a large comprehensive school, Head of School of Communications in a tertiary college, Managing Director of a Christian Charity involved in supporting adults with learning disability - and all that time he has been a passionate Bible teacher. Now he does this full-time!

An Extract from the First Chapter of the Bible Section...

Reading and Understanding the Bible

At first glance, the Bible seems a daunting book to read and to understand. Even a modern translation has whole sets of names of people and places which are not exactly familiar. On the other hand there are places and people who are very familiar because over the centuries their stories and their relationship with God have been told and retold.

The Bible contains stories, poetry and proverbs. In abundance there are: family trees; letters of instruction; records of warfare and disaster, famine and plenty. We can read tales of hair-raising exploits, which bring their characters fame or dishonour and provide either good examples to follow, or bad examples to shun. There are accounts of travels and settlements, along with instructions for healthy living and honest dealing. Through it all, the book is dominated by God's loving faithfulness to individuals, to families, to a nation and ultimately to all nations. And, crucially, there are details of God's awesome majesty and His commandments and requirements.

The Bible tells that God created a perfect world. But mankind's waywardness and self-centredness has polluted the world, alienated us from God and wreaked havoc within personal and national life. Through it all, God's character doesn't change; He remains holy, pure and just. God's holiness means that impure humans cannot live in a peaceful relationship with Him. This frustrates the human race because we were created to be dependent upon God. We need Him just as thirsty desert travellers need water.

Some readers regard the Bible as an account of human endeavours to discover God. This is not what the Bible claims for itself. Rather it is the revelation of God's merciful and gracious actions to bring us back to Himself. All the way through, the message is clear: if we discover or create gods for ourselves we will worship created things rather than the Creator Himself. In essence our attempts to find our way back to God are doomed, but God's amazing grace has led Him to invite us right into His family circle. He has reconciled us to Himself. Through Christ, He has made peace.

Understanding the Bible

So how do we make sense of this complex book? The Christian cannot grow and develop without constant feeding upon the Bible. Probably we all need some help in understanding the Bible, and there is plenty of help available. But this book is much more than an academic quarry for painstaking stone-breakers. Anyone who approaches it with a prayerful attitude will hear God speak to their heart. The question then is: how will they respond? Mark Twain is reputed to have said: "I'm not troubled by the parts of the Bible I don't understand; I'm troubled by the parts I do understand."

Even in the Bible itself, we find people making heavy weather of God's Word; things become clearer when someone explains. When exiles returned to rebuild Jerusalem, Ezra and some Levites read and explained the Book of the Law of God (Nehemiah 8:8). In a synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah the prophet, heralding that God's anointed one would bring Good News to the poor. "Today," He said, "this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21).

After the crucifixion and resurrection, as the two depressed disciples made their way to Emmaus, the village some short distance from Jerusalem, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. On the way He asked about their sadness. After they told Him of the crucifixion of the one they had thought was surely the Christ, the Messiah, Luke 24:27 tells us that "beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself". The Ethiopian Official returning from Jerusalem was struggling to understand Isaiah 53. Again Luke tells us how help was on hand to understand the Scriptures. Philip, the evangelist, joined the Official and explained the passage relating it to the Christ - Jesus (Acts 8:30-35).

In both of his letters (1 Peter 1:10-12 and 2 Peter 1:19-21), Peter impressed upon his readers the fact that the prophets in past generations were speaking a message they hardly understood. It was powerful and full of promise. It was a message of rescue from despair - a message of salvation. The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets, says Peter, and they strained every sinew to try to understand when the Christ would come, but they realised that what they had seen would come to fruition in a later age. Peter showed his readers that Jesus, the Christ, is the focus of the Old Testament, as we call the scriptures Peter read. This, of course, completely matches the teaching of Jesus en route to Emmaus and Philip on the road to Ethiopia. So, if you want to understand the Bible, you must recognise that the key is Christ Himself.

Similarly, God, the Holy Spirit will guide the prayerful Bible student. Discovering the heart of Scripture entails seeking the heart of God. This is no mere academic exercise. It's not just an interesting hobby to pursue on quiet evenings. Reading Scripture should be a matter of asking God to speak with us. We must listen, and we must respond. However, as Paul was keen to pray with the Spirit and with the understanding, it seems appropriate for us to read with the guidance of the Spirit and to make use of our capacity to understand.