Before I begin, I will tell you in advance that this is dedicated to my faith in Christianity and in God. I understand there are many who don't share my beliefs, and that's fine. I will not force anyone to convert to my religion. It's only real faith if one chooses to believe of their own accord. There are two reasons I'm writing this. First, I wish to honor God, and second, I want to clear up some misunderstandings circulating around Christianity. Most of what I say here is from what I've learned in Church, I am not a pastor or have any authoritative position in my church. I also believe that the Bible really has only One author, God. Where he reveals His Word through the pens, minds, and hearts, of the people who wrote the books of the Bible.
Now for the message. Many see the Bible as a fable or some fictional nonsense, but that is because most people don't really grasp or understand the Bible and how it works. Take the Old Testament for example. From Genenis to around Esther, the Old Testament primarily records the history of Israel, beginning with Creation. By my faith, this is taken literally, even the 6 day Creation period, and the global flood of Noah's time. Even the account of Moses freeing God's people in Exodus is taken literally in my faith. I read these books like History, and it records the history of Israel up to almost the time of Jesus, and finishes after the exil of the Jewish people.
It tells of God's people trying to establish the nation of Israel. There's the Creation of Course, then the introduction of Sin into our lives (The Fall of Man), the origin of language as we know it (as well as the establishment of other nations), the geographical renewal of the Earth from the Flood. Then it goes on with the promise of a nation to Abraham and his descendants, The establishment of the Promise Land, Joseph and Jacob's family given a home in Egypt, a Pharoh who feared the growth of God's people and enslaved them, The Exodus to free God's people, and the establishment of Laws for God's People. Yet, even that was not the end, for the Kingdom of Israel was divided into two Kingdoms and the people conquered in turn by Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. Chronicles are good books of summary if you indeed wish to know more. They were written to the exiled Jewish people to remember their homes and their history.
Next are the books of praise and poems sung by figures like David from earlier in the Old Testament. Many helpful one-verse phrases of wisdom are found here. I tend to read them like poems, and I enjoy the praise of God. Psalms and Proverbs are good examples of these books. However it doesn't make them any less important than the other books of the Old Testament. Most of the rest of the Old Testament books are the accounts of prophets and influential figures of Israel's history. They are really scattered accounts from the history described in the earlier parts of the old testament. It's also very important to note, that most of the Old Testament foreshadows the coming of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. There are even moments in the Creation account where God refers to Himself as "I," "We," and "Us," which references the Holy Trinity aspect of God.
One of the most important things you need to know about the New Testament, is that it is first True, not helpful. And I don't mean the Gospel isn't helpful, I mean that we must first recognize the truth and reliability of the New Testament before we can have the full benefits of God's Word. Believe it or not, there is a ton of evidence supporting the existence of Christ, His death and persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire, and his physical and bodily resurrection 3 days after his death.
Now this is vital. The earliest known record for the Gospel was written a few decades after the event's of Jesus' death. Anyone who read this had ample opportunity to disprove Christianity on the spot, and kill it forever. All anyone had to do was show the dead corpse of Jesus. That's it. It would have disproved all that Jesus stood for, and in turn, all that Christianity stood for. If I said that someone who died ten years ago rose up and was alive again, someone could point me to the tomb and said, "Here's the body, you're wrong." So why didn't anyone do this to Jesus' followers? The earliest known records were written while most of the eyewitnesses of Jesus' death (and burial) were still alive. They could have said, "Oh, here's the body of Jesus. You're wrong, he didn't rise from the dead." Everyone knew where the tomb was, it was guarded by Roman Soldiers whose very lives depended on keeping Jesus' body out the hands of those who would steal it. There was even a giant boulder that was rolled downhill to block the entrance.
One of the biggest reasons Christianity still lasts today is because no one has ever produced the body of Christ, and I believe no one ever will. There were also over 500 witnesses who saw Christ after he returned from the dead, and according to Acts 26 even the King Agrippa knew of these things, even though he didn't believe in Christianity. It says in verse 26 (of chapter 26 for those it may confuse), that these things weren't done in a corner, they weren't hidden in any way, shape, or form. King Agrippa could have asked any of those 500 eye witnesses to testify what they saw, and the result, wouldn't have hurt Christianity.
Most of what you see here in Acts and the rest of the Gospel are Apologetics, meaning they were the Defenses for the Christian Faith by Jesus' apostles. You will find them defending their faith against all manners of people throughout the New Testament. Many of those in the Jewish faith at that time discarded the fact that Jesus was ever the prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament, but it wasn't just Jews who denied these beliefs. Many of those around the Mediterranean still held their beliefs of the Greco-Roman gods. Even just the idea of Monotheism was heresy to people of that time period.
You will see that most of the New Testament were accounts of the Apostles' journey. They attempted to spread their faith to regions as far as India, although the Apostles never forced anyone to convert to their beliefs. For the most part they were thrown out of cities, stoned, imprisoned, and persecuted in all manner of ways before dying off one by one. They didn't fail however. They established the first churches of the Christian Faith, and helped spring new hopes in those who chose to listen. It was over time that Christianity became divided into many faiths, with Catholicism taking the forefront for a long time. There was even a Roman Emperor who was converted into Christianity.
The rest, one could say, is history. But I don't believe that's true. Christianity didn't have a smooth, and flawless growth. Many who misunderstood, or misinterpreted the Word of God persecuted Christians, or took the banner of Christianity, and buried it's reputation with blood. It has come to a point where many non-Christians hate the religion with an unsatisfiable passion. Even going so far as to hate us like white racist hates blacks. The best way to deal with this is to pray, and help those people understand that Christianity is not as bad as they believe it is. Whether they choose to believe in Christianity is up to them, but it isn't too much to ask for respect for our faith.
Before I addressed the message of the Bible, I had to verify the truths behind the Bible. Christianity is not a belief system built on fairy tales and falsehoods. And recognizing the truth of the Bible is not what saves you from your Sin. Salvation is knocking on the door, but it's your decision to believe in it or not. No one can make that decision for you. If there is anything I ask of you, it is this; don't dismiss the Bible without looking into it and understanding it. If you want to make your own interpretation of it, don't simply rely on the interpretations of others, but look into the scriptures yourself. You may be surprised by what you find. Unfortunately I see too many people who hate the Bible and Christians, but have never picked up the Bible itself to make those judgments themselves. I wrote this mostly to Glorify the God I love, but I also wrote this so that people analyze Christianity, The Bible, and the idea of Faith in a more logical, rational way, and not just as a religion to hate irrationally.