Help #1: The Bible

The Christian Bible is composed of several books, letters and other writings, which were written over a number of years. The books are divided into two sections – the Old Testament, which relates to the successive revelations received by the ancestors of the Hebrew (Jewish) nation, the Law received by Moses, and the history of Israel. And the New Testament, which begins with the birth of Jesus Christ and recounts his life, death, and resurrection, before several books and letters relating to the establishment of the Christian Church.

For many centuries manuscripts of the Bible were copied by hand, and so books were relatively rare. With the advent of the printing press it was possible for many people to own copies of the Bible and some way was needed to help people find key passages. From about this point onwards it was common practice to divide the books up into chapters and verses.

On freelance theology references to quotes from the Bible or events mentioned in it are always given with the full chapter and verse. So for example, “For God so loved the world…” [John chapter 3, verse 16], means you will find that quote in the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of John. If you don’t have a Bible to hand, then freelance theology recommends an online version such as Bible Gateway.

There are many different versions of the Bible and freelance theology does not endorse any single one. Sometimes reference is made to the original Hebrew or Greek text, but usually quotations come from modern translations that are easier to understand. For a full understanding of the text, freelance theology recommends reading a number of different versions.